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Special Educational Needs

Department for Education written question – answered on 29th March 2018.

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Photo of Lord McColl of Dulwich Lord McColl of Dulwich Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that some schools are encouraging families to home school children with complex difficulties, possibly with an eye to those schools' performance statistics; and what plans they have to ensure that such children benefit from the support of the proposed mental health support teams.

Photo of Lord Agnew of Oulton Lord Agnew of Oulton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The department shares concerns that some children are potentially being educated at home as a result of pressure by schools. However, it is not in a position to confirm how far these concerns are justified by actual cases.

A pupil’s name can only lawfully be deleted from the admission register on the grounds prescribed in Regulation 8 of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 as amended. Schools should not seek to persuade parents to educate their children at home as a way of excluding the pupil or because the pupil has a poor attendance record. It is unlawful to permanently exclude a pupil from a school other than for disciplinary reasons. Schools may not exclude pupils because of their academic attainment or ability, or because they cannot meet their needs. Sending a pupil home without recording it as an exclusion is also not permitted.

Parents have a duty to ensure their child of compulsory school age receives a suitable full-time education but this does not have to be at a school. On receipt of written notification from a parent to home educate their child, the school must inform the pupil’s local authority that the pupil’s name is to be deleted from the admission register.

We will test how the new mental health support teams proposed in the green paper ‘Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision’ can provide support to all children in an area, including those not at school.

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