home educating families and the local authority special needs department

Around a thousand children with a statement of SEN are home educated [LINK]. Parents variously described their dealings with the council special needs department as annoying, lonely, stressful, very good, or appalling, depending on where they lived and on the personalities involved.

“They don’t have a clue. It appears they put you in a deal with later box never to be dealt with. Then forgotten.”


Do you feel that your local authority has a good system for dealing with home educators where children have a statement/EHCP”

“Yes” “6.1 %”
“No” “39.5 %”
“Don’t know” “54.4 %”


Which best describes your experience as a home educator with the council SEN department”

“It’s fine” “12.7 %”
“The people are nice but the forms they have to use aren’t home-ed friendly at all” “1.4 %”
“I find it stressful” “19.7 %”
“No experience yet” “47.9 %”
“Other” “19.7 %”

Parents say:

“You have to toe the line more with the LA’s ridiculous and sometimes unlawful requests for fear of jeopardising future support through the EHCP.”

“Annoying. Given we received nothing I felt cheated that we had to therefore report what we were doing to an Inspector. I know technically that isn’t a legal requirement but it kind of is if you don’t want to jeopardise having a statement/EHCP.”

“We are fairly certain our last statement review was called in order to monitor us after we turned down a visit from our LA.”

“I felt very lonely & all alone. He was my complete responsibility. We didn’t exist & as long as we were out of system they were happy. Felt like we were a liability.”

“It seems we don’t exist anymore. We had one letter asking if we wished to retain the statement (we replied that we did want to keep it as we expect him to want to go to college later on)”

“The people are nice but don’t seem to understand the system themselves”

“I feel very nervous to contact them as I feel they may judge my home ed provision ahead of looking to help me. The EHE contact in our borough is lovely but has already said I’ve shot myself in the foot taking daughter out of school as I will get nothing.”

“My son’s statement has not been reviewed for a few years. It was only brought to my attention when I applied to home educate that this needed to be rectified. The only contact made between children and professionals is when something goes wrong”

“I’m lucky. Our LA is a bit rubbish and so completely overwhelmed by the EHCP transfers so never really got round to investigating what we were doing or why. I agreed to a commissioned inspector at 3 months in so I think they felt they were covered. Inspector knew nothing about SEN and I feel we were signed off more through bafflement and bluff than anything else”

“Stressful because with any forms I’m on my own i.e the EHCP-I haven’t a clue what to expect so will have to do research before the meeting”

“In my opinion if all SEN children were home schooled our LA would throw a party and celebrate. They did not seem to care. The more home schooled children the more money they save.”

“Our Elective HOME Education Liaise Officer is very pleasant. I can not see her being difficult for those who have SEN/EHCP”

“They are appalling”

“Statement has not been reviewed in the three years we have been home educating

“We have had to do their job. I told them what to type and they typed it then and there.”

“Why is ‘very good’ not an option here? They have been very helpful.


“We were ignored completely other than an annual knock on the door to see we were offering learning”

“I’d rather they stayed away and left me to it to be honest!”

“Making an effort to build positive relationships really does help”


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