EDUCATION ALTERNATIVES

Government guidance states that:

Where full-time education would not be in the best interests of a particular child because of reasons relating to their physical or mental health, Local Authorities should provide part-time education on a basis they consider to be in the child’s best interests.


Contact your Local Authority and make enquiries, (schools should refer a child after 15 days of medically related absence but often they do not do so, especially if the absence is related to mental health needs).


Explore the options in your local area for alternative schools and learning environments. You may be able to change schools if you can find one that is more suitable or willing to support your child and work with their anxiety. 


SENDIASS may be able to help you identify a local setting or help you to access it through an EHCP. 


Some people manage to arrange funding for EOTAS (Education Other Than At School) which includes hospital school, online schooling or home tuition.


Your Local Authority will have a policy and details of local provision, you can find out more through this link:

Local Authority provision

Home Education

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Some parents decide to remove their children from school to home educate. This is a big decision and should be your choice - You should not be under pressure from school or LA to deregister. However, many families have found home educating helped them and they often say they wish they had done it sooner. 


Some children return to school when/if they feel ready, while others thrive within a home educating environment and may go on to college or university later on.


Home education can involve the use of a variety of learning styles, approaches and tools – you can try out different things and see which works best for your child. The important thing to realise is that you do NOT have to replicate school at home – you can follow your child’s interests and incorporate day-to-day life in their learning. You can use workbooks, projects, online resources, visit museums and other venues that often offer learning activities. 


It can be helpful to join local home education groups and find out about local schemes for home educated children or children with SEN if that is appropriate.


Home Education UK


EO – Education Otherwise


Ed Yourself


Educational Freedom


Scotland – Schoolhouse


N Ireland - HEDNI


Ross Mountney


Home Education & SEN


Home Education Resource list by Freddies Mummy UK


GOV.UK Guidance for Home Education


HE Exams WIKI

Answers to initial questions

EOTAS

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.Schools often refuse to provide work for a child to do at home, saying it will 'condone their absence' and 'make it easier for them to remain at home'. This shows a lack of understanding and empathy for mental health difficulties. Parity of esteem should mean that mental illness is supported in the same ways as physical illness.


A school's duty to educate a child does not stop when they are unwell and unable to attend. They still receive finding for that child and can use it to offer provision that fits their needs.


If a child is provided with work at home and is kept in touch with peers it will make a return easier and quicker because they will not be far behind in work and will not be as isolated. While your child is off, the school could help them keep in touch with classmates, for example by writing, through photos or class newsletters, over skype, and so on 


The local authority must provide alternative education for children aged five to 16 who are at home sick for more than 15 school days. This should be either full time or as much as the child can manage. 

It can be provided in a number of different ways, including: a home tutor, online learning, or a small unit for children with medical needs.

Before arranging alternative education, the local authority may need a referral from your child's school or a letter from a consultant stating that your child is not well enough to attend school.

 

The teams coordinating alternative education have different names in different areas. Common names are 'home and hospital tuition' or 'EOTAS' (education otherwise than at school).


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Alternative Provision Guidance

Online School

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Although online schools vary, they have several factors in common. There is usually a timetable of lessons and children often use headsets and microphones plugged into their computers to hear and speak to the teacher.

They can also have on-screen text boxes to send messages to staff or fellow pupils. Class sizes are usually smaller than in mainstream schools.


Because teachers can immediately log off any children who are misbehaving, it is also claimed there are fewer distractions. This means pupils get more work done, making for a shorter school day, sometimes of no more than three or four hours.


Current Providers include:


INTERHIGH


NISAI


APRICOT LEARNING ONLINE


RED BALLOON LEARNER CENTRE


MY ONLINE SCHOOLING


ED LOUNGE


BRITESCHOOL


NET SCHOOL


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Some Local Authorities or schools will fund this provision as EOTAS. Sometimes it can be named as the most suitable setting in an EHCP. Some parents have to fund it themselves if they are able to.

RED BALLOON - PARENT PERSPECTIVE

Home educating