The Basics about Home Schooling Children with Special Needs
Children who have a statement of special educational needs can still receive a home education, but the process of starting home educating may differ slightly. The Statement, once a child is withdrawn from school, is unenforceable unless the Statement itself reads that the Local Education Authority (LEA) will provide education at home. After a child with special educational needs has been withdrawn or deregistered from his or her school, there is no longer a responsibility for the LEA to arrange the education described in the Statement, and nor do parents.
The Basics about Deregistering a Child from a Special School
A child who is registered to receive an education at a special school who has his or her education organised by the LEA (usually this does not include children attending private special schools) require the permission of the LEA to withdraw a child from the school’s register.
The LEA cannot normally refuse permission to home educate, as parents have the right to chose to home educate under the Education Act’s ‘Education Otherwise’ provision, but the problem is that parents commit an offence if their child’s name is on a school, or pupil referral unit, register, and absence has not been sought. Thus parents need to write a letter to the LEA and child’s school to ask for the child’s withdrawal from the register. Home education support groups such as Education Otherwise and HE Special – a specialised group for children with special educational needs who are home educated – can help parents to write this letter and provide local support.
Other Information about Home Schooling a Child with Special Needs
As is the case with all home education, parents home schooling a child do not have to follow the National Curriculum, or be a qualified teacher, or follow a set timetable, or study certain subjects, or study during certain hours. The same conditions of the Education Act apply to parents of children with special educational needs: the parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable: to his or her age, ability, and aptitude and to any special educational needs he or she may have.
Information about Help from the LEA
Parents who choose to home educate will not usually receive help from the LEA, either in terms of finance or tutoring or resource provision.
Information about Socialisation and a Child with Special Needs
A major concern for all home schooling parents tends to be the issue of fulfilling a child’s social capacity, and enhancing his or her social skills. Families who home educate usually have to actively create social events for their children at the start of home schooling, such as by joining a home education support group or special needs support group or signing up for extra-curricular activities. For children with some special educational needs, such as Asperger Syndrome, home schooling parents believe that elements of the social aspect of the school environment may worsen a child’s difficulties, and thus home schooling with particularised, gradual social skill development can help.