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Can a child with an EHCP be home schooled?

Many parents of children with SEN consider home education for their child. But can a child with an EHCP be home schooled, how does this work, and how can it be funded?

What is an EHCP?

An Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP) is a document which describes a child or young person’s special educational needs, the support they need, and the outcomes they would like to achieve.

Local authorities (LAs) are required to provide the support outlined in an EHCP. This may include extra support in school, therapeutic or other care outside of school, or funding to move schools or provide your child’s education at home yourself.

To request an EHCP, you will first need an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment. If your child is in school, the SENCO is typically the first point of contact for requesting this. However, if your child is being home educated or you are not happy with the way your school is handling your request, you can request an EHC needs assessment yourself by contacting the SEND department of your local authority.

Following the EHC needs assessment, the LA must decide whether or not to issue an EHCP within 16 weeks. If you would like to appeal the LA’s decision, you can do so at a SEND tribunal.

Can I home school my child with an EHCP?

In England and Wales, parents have the right to home school their child, whether or not they have an EHCP. If your child is currently at a mainstream school, you only need to write to the headteacher explaining that you are withdrawing your child from school in order to educate them at home. The school will then inform the local authority.

If your child is attending a special school, the process is the same – contact the headteacher, who will inform the local authority. However, in this instance, the local authority will have to consent for you to home educate your child – but the LA legally cannot refuse unless they have concerns about your child’s safety and wellbeing (for example, if they think there’s a risk of abuse or neglect).

If your child has an existing EHCP, you should also write to the LA asking it to edit Section I of the EHCP to record that they are being educated at home.

How to apply for EHCP funding

The EHCP that your child receives will describe the support that the LA is required to provide for them. Usually, if your child is remaining in school, the LA will fund this provision themselves directly. However, you can also request a ‘personal budget’. This is an amount of money which a parent or young person can use to fund their own provision. According to the government’s SEN Code of Practice, personal budgets can be paid in four ways:

  • Direct payments – where individuals receive the cash to contract, purchase and manage services themselves
  • An arrangement – whereby the local authority, school or college holds the funds and commissions the support specified in the plan (these are sometimes called notional budgets)
  • Third party arrangements – where funds (direct payments) are paid to and managed by an individual or organisation on behalf of the child’s parent or the young person
  • A combination of the above

If you are getting an EHCP for the first time, you will need to request a personal budget from the LA after your EHC needs assessment has been completed but before your EHCP is prepared. You can also request a personal budget during the statutory review or your existing EHCP.

The exact mechanism for requesting a personal budget, eligibility criteria and decision making process vary from one LA to another. However, LAs are required to publish this information on their Local Offer website.

Can EHCP funds be used for home schooling?

Yes. As long as home education is named as a type of educational provision on your child’s EHCP, you can use your personal budget to fund home schooling – for instance, to pay for home schooling tutors. You can read more about the costs of a home schooling programme here.

Remember that personal budgets can only be used to pay for the provision outlined in your EHCP, and this will be monitored by local authorities. You can’t use them for funding a school, college or university place.

Please note that if you are home educating your child, the local authority is not legally required to secure any provision for you. If you would like expert guidance on how to arrange a home schooling programme, you can speak to one of our home schooling managers. We can arrange tuition from experienced tutors, manage your child’s timetable, and handle exam registration.

How to find a private tutor for EHCP students?

If you would like to search for home school tutors yourself, you may find our guide on what to look for in a private tutor useful.

However, especially when it comes to home education, we recommend working with an agency who has extensive experience of providing home school programmes. Home schooling is fundamentally different from after-school tuition.

For one thing, the tutor is not supplementary to the child’s schoolteachers but is responsible for teaching them the entire curriculum – for more inexperienced tutors, this may be a step beyond what they are qualified to do. At SLT, we only work with highly qualified, thoroughly vetted tutors who are experienced in delivering full-time home schooling. Many are qualified teachers. All are hand-picked and known personally to us.

Furthermore, there are many other complexities to consider – potentially finding multiple tutors across different subjects, managing your child’s timetable so that it works for them, and arranging exam registration for GCSEs and A Levels. A good agency will offer you a dedicated home schooling manager to handle all this on your behalf, ensuring your child’s home education runs seamlessly.

Creating a transformative home school programme

In our experience, parents rarely take the decision to home school their child lightly. In many cases, it can be because there is an acute SEN or mental or emotional problem which means the child cannot flourish in a school environment.

At SLT, wellbeing is central or our approach to home schooling. Our home schooling is delivered one-to-one by highly qualified, caring tutors. Outside of the school setting, our home school students invariably thrive as their confidence and love for learning return.

All of our home school programmes are personalised to your child and your family’s specific needs, ensuring we provide highly effective and nurturing educational experiences. These can transform a child’s feelings towards learning and life; as well as improving their academic results.

If you would like to learn more about the life-changing impact a home schooling programme can have on your child’s wellbeing and education, you can read our home schooling case studies or speak to one of our expert team.

EHCP resources

If your child is in school, the SENCO is typically the first point of contact regarding their EHCP. However, if your child is being home educated or you would like to handle the EHCP process yourself, you will need to contact the SEND department of your LA.

You will also need to contact your local authority to request a personal budget and to learn more about EHCP funding in your area.

Please see further information on EHCPs for a selection of London local authorities below:

How can SLT help?

We have delivered many successful home schooling programmes using EHCP funding. If you would like to discuss your situation in more detail, our expert team would be delighted to hear from you. You can contact us here.

Frequently asked questions

  • Can a child with an EHCP be homeschooled?

    Yes. In England and Wales, parents have the right to educate their children at home whether or not they have an EHCP.

  • Can I get an EHCP without school?

    Usually, schools help families request an EHCP for their children. However, you can request an EHCP yourself without a school’s help. The first step is to ask your local authority for an EHC needs assessment. Following this, the LA must decide whether or not to issue an EHCP within 16 weeks.

  • Can I homeschool my SEN child?

    Absolutely. In England and Wales, parents can choose to educate their child at home. For some children with SEN, the school setting can be overwhelming or too rigid for their needs. A personalised programme of home schooling tailored to your child’s needs and learning style can often be transformative.

  • Can you homeschool an autistic child?

    Yes. Some children with autism benefit from being taken out of the school environment and receiving a personalised programme of home schooling, designed with their specific needs in mind.

  • Does an EHCP come with funding?

    Your child’s EHCP will outline the support that your local authority is required to provide for them. Often the LA will fund this provision themselves directly, for instance in your child’s school. However, you can also request a ‘personal budget’ from your local authority. This is an amount of money which a parent or young person can use to fund their own provision to meet the requirements laid out in the EHCP.