It has been reported that the number of parents who home-educate their children has grown by 57% across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The report focuses on the case of Lorna Lynch who is one of a growing number of parents who are home-educating a child with special needs. In this instance, she has been home-schooling her 11-year-old daughter, Emily, for the past year who was diagnosed with both autism and ADHD and is also on medication to manage her anxiety.
Home-schooling was a decision Lorna made with some reluctance after her daughter struggled to understand her lessons and other children’s behaviour. She found school both confusing and overwhelming and would take her frustration out on her classmates.
Lorna Lynch shares:
“I couldn't cope with her going to school and then coming back with her so stressed out, so angry at me. The meltdowns were horrendous."
Lorna also believes that while, in hindsight, she has made the correct decision, if more support would have been available it would have been a step that did not need to be taken.
In conjunction with this case, it is stated that there has been a rise in the number of children with recognised needs and are without a school place. More specifically, almost 1,000 children with the highest level of special needs are on the waiting list.
According to Adam Boddison, the chief executive of the special needs charity Nasen, schools are finding it hard to remain inclusive because of performance measures and pressure on their budgets. He said:
"If word gets round that a school is meeting needs, it becomes a magnet. The school is overwhelmed, they can't meet the needs. All schools are judged on the same criteria. So some are very inclusive, others are not."
"Now too many families don't think they have another option, and have to resort to home education, and that can't be right."
The government has since pledged that it will be creating more places at special schools by spending £222m over four years on reforms for special educational needs and disability support which is partly in response to the 64% increase in home education in England over the last five years.
Deborah Robinson, Education Solicitor at Cartwright King, summarises by saying:
“A decision to home-school a child, particularly one who has special educational needs, can be quite stressful for parents who understandably just want what is best for their child. While home-schooling works really well for some families, for others it is a situation of last resort and can also be an interim measure while alternative arrangements are made. Combined with the added burden of, for example, having to appeal against the refusal of an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP), parents can find themselves not knowing where to turn.
"At Cartwright King, we can take some of the weight from your shoulders. By instructing us to appeal against decisions by the Local Authority relating to your child’s education, you will have time to focus on your child’s current learning needs while we assist with the process of securing future provision.”
If your child requires special educational needs and you are seeking additional support from the Local Authority, contact our Education Law department on either 0808 168 5550 or email@example.com.