SEND Children in Home Education – The Elephant in The Room

Much has been in the news and discussions on TV and Radio, as well as within government, about the swelling numbers of home educated children and whether more legislation is needed to keep track of their education. Seemly officials are scratching their heads about why more parents are making this choice. References to SEND children being excluded from schools and being forced into Home Ed but seemly no one, other than parents themselves, is flagging up the fact that SEND children are being signed off as sick due to school anxiety or forced out of school as a result of deteriorating mental health or because their SEND is either not recognised or met and they are failing to thrive.

In many cases Local authorities are then refusing to accept that these children now have no option but to ‘electively’ home educate and will refuse to recommend it as the needed provision effectively absolving themselves of any financial responsibility for these children. I feel, cynically perhaps, that this must be a big help to them in the current funding crisis. This is not even including the children who’s needs have not been recognised and parents have been fighting for so long to get them diagnosed or supported that they may also be forced into HE.

For my part every time I get a letter regarding my son’s ‘elective home education’ or it is brought up by professionals it makes my blood boil and I know many other parents feel the same. Let’s make no bones about it many of us (and I hear new stories every day) were forced into it even if in some cases professionals insist school is best for our child, we still had no choice as our children were failed for so long they are not able to go to school without self harming or anxiety or depression or suicide attempts or any combination of these. In many cases our children simply gave up on life and shut down completely losing all trust in the world around that failed them, as parents that leaves us feeling failures too, but in truth we have been let down and pushed out by the system with no regard for our children’s futures or their or our mental health.

To give you some idea of what I am talking about I will give you a quick run down of how we came to home ed. I have written about it in more detail in some of my other blogs if you would like to read more, such as;

Breaking up with school – The Darkest Days

The failures were;

  • Refusal to test for dyslexia until 7 despite me flagging it up at 4 by which time he was 4 years behind and his self esteem had suffered.

  • Refusal to accept the possibility of autism despite family history of it and signs such as lining up cars since nursery.

  • Once diagnosed with dyslexia at 7 the school deemed it unnecessary to implement the full recommendations on the report.

  • The 5 years wait for diagnoses after I had my son referred through the GP at 5 and he school not being onboard with this process and blocking it at every turn.

  • Refusal for TA support despite my sons self injurious behaviour to avoid school even though he was saying he wanted to attend but needed support. He eventually got his TA 3 years and three schools later and still could not cope.

  • The school refusing to apply for an EHCP despite my son not coping in mainstream with a full time TA.

  • When my sons violent school refusals became too much for me after 5 years of managing it and flagging it up I was threatened with prison and foster care despite my son now having an autism diagnoses.

  • I was forced to agree to an interventions service that i knew was unsuitable for my son due to said threats which irrevocably damaged my sons relationship with education and left him in a catatonic state and unable to leave his room.

  • I applied for an EHCP myself but it was turned down and took a further 8 months to be agreed and issued after appeal but which time I had had to take my son off role to avoid prosecution.

So you can see how for us it really wasn’t a choice nor was it for the hundreds of other parents I have come into contact with through online groups and my blogging activities. I would like to evidence this with some figures or reports on the subject but as far as i am aware there are none, only those excluded from school are recorded.

On my sons EHCP it states specialist provision, something he is a. Unable to attend and b.would not offer him a n education appropriate for his high IQ and massive potential. By home educating him I am saving the LA in access of £30000 yet I am not entitled to a few pounds a week for extra activities to compliment and improve his education.

Meanwhile government wants to monitor home educated families and test children, can you imagine how my son would react to these people coming into his house to test him after all that had happened?

No, families like mine do not need testing, we have already proved we will put out child’s need first by dropping all other commitments to teach our children. What we need is for people to be aware of these issues, for officials to listen to us, for funding in education to be increased, for education to become truly flexible and inclusive so that the choice for children like mine is not taken away.

17 thoughts on “SEND Children in Home Education – The Elephant in The Room

  1. I totally agree with everything you say. It is very similar to our story and thousands of others up and down the country. I have a slightly different take though. For us, home education has been a total life changer. Although I felt at the time there was no other option but to home educate I am now hugely grateful that we found it. Over the last 3 + years I have done a massive amount of research into how children/people are evolved to learn, how they naturally learn and this is the model we follow. Both my kids (youngest no diagnosed SEN and never been to school) are both happy and thriving. They are learning at their own pace and according to their own interests in the methods that work for them. This is not remotely comparable to schooled learning and progress, and this is where my additional concerns about monitoring and testing HE kids lies. Home ed allows us total flexibility over education that is way beyond formal schooling. Personally I feel now that HE is hugely superior for all children. I do not believe for a single second that either of my sons will be impacted negatively for not following a school path of education, in fact I believe quite the reverse.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely agree with you about HE being great however my son wanted to attend school and the choice of doing that was taken way from him by repeated failures not to mention the damage that caused him along the way. I do love to see my son thriving and have the flexibility home ed brings now though.


  2. Here here! Sounds very much like us; just appealing EHCP. Son is almost 14 and failed by his senior school ++ and his primary for ignoring me; but happy to take extra money from the catholic parents willing to give their money to the school, or should I say ‘club/cult’?


    1. Good luck with your appeal the ,majority do win then and think they just turn them down in the hope you will go away and forget about it rather than appeal.


  3. I agree with you totally although my story is a little different. We took our children out of school because my 12 yr old son tried to commit suicide due to bullying. I went to see the headteachers had many meetings, to which the school decided that there was no bullying going on. We agreed to give them another chance after meetings with the school governors and involving everyone in the local education authority, my son went back to which it was explained to both the school and the governors that the son didnt want the issue brought up but was willing to have help by seeing the schools earth worker where he could discuss his worries. They had to be reminded of this two weeks later as no appointment was made a few teachers made some snide remarks which I believe were unacceptable by saying is that Gavin or a ghost we see there. Then in September my youngest daughter started school there these bullies moved on to her and threatened to rape her in front of her brother gaudin him into fighting them. I contacted the school and actually I lost it at the headmistress when she told me that it had been sorted that the boys had been told not to use an unkind word. These lads were 13/14 yrs old. I really lost it and the police were called as I wanted my children to come home as I felt they were in danger as the people who was suppose to protect them in school was failing doing so.
    I have 10 children and only 6 have completed secondary school. My 3 are really happy and full of confident now, I’m so glad I took them out especially when you read how many do succeed in committing suicide due to bullying


    1. Wow, how awful for you all, your poor son. I a, so glad they are thriving now but what horrendous failures by the school to protect your children.


  4. Yep, I now home ed my littley (ASD and possible undiagnosed dysgraphia). He had an EHCP from the start and hours with a one to one LSA. But because of the whole school attitude towards children with autism and other invisible disabilities the school environment was absolutely toxic. We started off with a psycho Senco who was forced out after one to many parent complaints. We had teachers nearing retirement who really just didn’t give a fig about the needs of any of the children. A head teacher who learned it was easier to just hide from any and all parents. Little hitler dinner staff who had absolutely no understanding. A nasty TA who did more harm than good. Towards the end my poor little man coudn’t sit still because of all the anxiety tics he had developed. That is when I decided enough was enough. I hate what they do to our precious children. And I too get a bit cross when they talk about “elective” home ed. We have not choice.


    1. I hear so many similar stories. School was such a traumatic experience for my son, I hope yours has recovered from his experiences now. Thanks for reading and commenting.


  5. It is inconceivable to me that the local authorities would even pay lip service to the idea of further monitoring home educated SEN children because the specialist SEN school provision is woefully inadequate anyway. Children often have to endure very long journeys to school which can often exacerbate their anxiety. Those parents who have made the brave decision and huge commitment to home educate should be admired and supported. They get zero financial support for doing it and just want to see their children thrive. Local authorities really ought to get their own affairs in order before they start giving these parents a hard time. If further monitoring was for the greater good and ultimately in the best interests of the children, then why don’t they offer these parents some financial assistance in return? They can’t have it both ways!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Here here Kelly. I could not agree more.


      1. I have been through a similar situation to yours with my son. Due to lack of support since age 4 and lack of acknowledgement my son now has ptsd and can’t attend any provision as a result of being forced into school for a long time against my better judgement. He has pda. We have been through hell and back with the authorities and my son is now petrified of them. Social services have hounded us since the school refusal and I had to get a number of independent professionals involved to de-escalate the ridiculous situation. He needs specialist provision but can’t attend, he has an La home tutor but won’t engage in education. The only person who has had success in educating my son is me, but due to ss involvement I have felt this was never an option. As a result so much time wasted, he is nearly 9. There is now talk of a 52 week placement which I believe would destroy him.


      2. This sounds awful.Does your son have a diagnoses of PDA? My recommendation would be to get as many pieces of paper as possible to prove your sons dx and needs and professionals to back off so you can home educate him yourself. If you can afford on get a solicitor because social services and education are two separate things and the sw should not be interfering with education. Do not sign any consent forms for anything you are not happy with no matter how much pressure they give you, I have heard some horror stories, also try to stay calm and go with your gut . So much love to you and your family. Stand your ground, you will get through this. One more thing remember mental health is more important than education right now, don’t be scared into sending him somewhere not right for him, he can always continue his education when he is older. X


  6. I’ve heard similar from so many families. It’s shocking how many children are disregarded in this way, and families left to struggle on. Even though you are of course doing a great job, it’s not fair to say it was a choice when it clearly wasn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. Even though we are happy in home ed now my son and others like him should have the same opportunities and choice as other children. It’s the reason I still write about the problems SEND families face in the school system and will continue to do so until it changes for the better.


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