A Parents Guide to Special Educational Needs and Home Education

A Parents Guide to Special Educational Needs and Home Education

Home education provides a flexible and tailored educational experience for children, making it a viable option for those with Special Educational Needs (SEN). This guide aims to navigate parents through the process of home educating their SEN child, covering essential aspects like funding, Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans, and the support available from local authorities.

Why Choose Home Education for Your SEN Child?

Parents might opt for home education due to various reasons such as dissatisfaction with the local school system, the unique needs of their child that require a more personalised approach, or previous experiences of bullying. Home education allows for a bespoke educational journey that caters to the individual learning pace and interests of an SEN child.

Key Considerations for Home Educating an SEN Child

Understanding Your Child’s Needs

It’s crucial to have a clear understanding of your child’s specific needs. This might involve consultations with educational psychologists, SEN specialists, or your local authority’s SEN department to ensure you can provide an adequate and suitable educational environment at home.

Developing an Education Plan

Create an educational plan that reflects your child’s needs, strengths, and interests. This plan should include goals, resources, and strategies tailored to support your child’s learning and development.

The Role of EHC Plans in Home Education

EHC plans play a vital role in supporting SEN children. They outline the specific educational, health, and social needs of the child and recommend necessary support. While home educating, parents can still request an EHC assessment from their local authority. If an EHC plan is in place, it should be reviewed annually to ensure it continues to meet the child’s needs, even if the education is provided at home.

Funding and Financial Support

Table: Overview of Financial Support for Home Educating SEN Children

Type of Support Description Eligibility
SEN Funding Direct support for SEN provisions. Children with assessed SEN needs.
EHC Plan Funding Funds allocated based on the EHC plan’s recommendations. Children with an EHC plan.
Local Authority Discretionary Support Support that varies by local authority, potentially including resources and access to educational consultants. Dependent on local authority policies.

Note: Parents should contact their local authority for detailed information on available funding and support.

Engaging with Your Local Authority

It’s advisable to maintain a positive relationship with your local authority. They can offer guidance, resources, and sometimes financial support for your child’s education. Regular communication ensures that you’re aware of any changes in legislation or available services that could benefit your child.

Practical Tips for Home Educating an SEN Child

Understanding Your Child’s Needs

Begin by comprehensively assessing your child’s specific learning needs, strengths, and areas requiring support. Consultation with SEN specialists, educational psychologists, and reviews of existing Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans, if any, can provide valuable insights.

Tailoring the Learning Space

Create a conducive learning environment within your home that accommodates your child’s sensory preferences and learning styles. This may involve organising a quiet, distraction-free area or incorporating sensory aids for children with sensory processing issues.

Establishing a Structured Routine

Children with SEN often thrive in structured environments. Establish a consistent daily routine that includes designated times for learning, play, and rest. However, remain flexible to accommodate your child’s fluctuating needs and energy levels.

Utilising Multisensory Learning Techniques

Incorporate a variety of multisensory learning activities that engage more than one sense at a time. This approach can be particularly effective for SEN children, as it allows them to process information in multiple ways.

Incorporating Interests and Strengths into Learning

Build your educational activities around your child’s interests and strengths. This personalised approach can boost engagement, motivation, and the effectiveness of learning.

Leveraging Technology and Online Resources

Explore educational software, apps, and online resources designed for SEN children. Many of these tools offer interactive and customisable learning experiences that can be tailored to your child’s specific needs.

Fostering Social Skills and Peer Interaction

Consider opportunities for your child to interact and socialise with peers, such as online classes, local home education groups, or organised social activities. Social development is an essential aspect of your child’s education.

Seeking Support and Collaboration

Connect with other home-educating families, particularly those with SEN experience. Sharing resources, experiences, and advice can provide valuable support. Additionally, maintain communication with your local authority and SEN services for guidance and potential support.

Emphasising Life Skills and Independence

Incorporate practical life skills education into your curriculum, focusing on skills that promote independence and daily functioning. This can include anything from self-care to managing money, depending on your child’s age and abilities.

Reviewing and Adapting the Educational Approach

Regularly review your educational approach and materials to ensure they continue to meet your child’s evolving needs. Be prepared to adapt your strategies in response to your child’s progress and feedback.


Home education offers a viable path for children with Special Educational Needs, providing a tailored educational experience that can meet their unique requirements. By understanding the available support, developing a solid education plan, and engaging with local authorities, parents can effectively navigate the challenges of home educating an SEN child. Remember, every child’s learning journey is unique, and home education allows for the flexibility to adapt and grow alongside your child’s evolving needs.


Why might parents consider home education for a child with SEN?

Parents often opt for home education to cater to their child’s unique needs through a more personalised learning approach, especially if they’ve had unsatisfactory experiences with the conventional school system or their child has faced bullying.

How crucial is it to understand an SEN child’s needs before beginning home education?

It’s vital to have a thorough understanding of an SEN child’s specific needs to ensure the home education environment is adequately tailored. This might involve consulting with SEN specialists or educational psychologists to develop an effective education plan.

What role do EHC plans play in home educating an SEN child?

EHC plans are crucial as they detail the child’s educational, health, and social needs along with the required support. Parents home educating their SEN child can request an EHC assessment and should ensure the plan is reviewed annually.

How can parents navigate funding and financial support for home educating an SEN child?

Parents should explore various funding options such as SEN Funding, EHC Plan Funding, and Local Authority Discretionary Support. Contacting the local authority is essential for detailed information on the support available.

What practical tips can help parents effectively home educate their SEN child?

Creating a conducive learning environment, establishing a structured routine, utilising multisensory learning techniques, and incorporating the child’s interests into learning are some practical tips. Additionally, leveraging technology, fostering social skills, and regularly reviewing the educational approach are crucial.