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Home Education Guidance

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8. Children with additional support needs

8.1 The right to home educate

A parent's right to educate a child at home applies equally where that child has additional support needs. The fact that a child has additional support needs should not, in itself, be a reason to refuse consent to withdraw a child from school. Additional considerations do, however, apply. It is reasonable for an education authority to ask parents to indicate how they propose to cater for their child's additional support needs at home.

When considering a request for consent, or considering whether the education is suitable, taking account the age, ability and aptitude of the child, the authority may need to consider the environment in which a child with additional support needs is to be educated and its appropriateness for the individual child. With the agreement of the parents, an educational psychologist might be involved in assessing the proposed provision for a child with additional support needs.

Local authorities have no statutory obligation to provide financial or other support for the education of children with additional support needs whose parents elect to home educate.

8.2 The law and children with additional support needs

The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 came into force in November 2005. It replaced the system of assessment and recording of children and young people with 'special educational needs' with a new framework for additional support needs. This term applies to any child or young person who, for whatever reason, requires additional support, to benefit from education. Education authorities are required to identify, meet and keep under review the additional support needs of all pupils for whose education they are responsible. Appropriate agencies such as NHS Boards and social work services also have duties placed on them to help education authorities when asked to do so.

While education authorities are not responsible for the education of children or young people who are home educated, parents of home educated children have the right to ask their local authority to find out whether or not their child has additional support needs, and to assess what level of support they might need. A young person also has similar rights. The local authority can choose to agree with the request, and provide the necessary support, but it is under no legal duty to do so.