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EOTAS provision in an EHCP

Lack of school attendance is a growing problem and one that has increased exponentially since lockdown. But for many children, it’s not a case of “won’t go” but “can’t go”. Since the pandemic, we’re seeing increasing numbers of children who are unable to cope with attending school, as well as an increase in children for whom no suitable school can be found, or no placement is available. The law says every child has a right to a full-time education but many of these children are not accessing any education at all.

Local authorities must make arrangements to support children who are not in school because of ill health. There is Department for Education guidance called “Arranging education for children who cannot attend school because of health needs” about this, which was updated in December 2023. It relates to duties under:

  • Section 19 of the Education Act 1996
  • Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006
  • Equality Act 2010
  • Section 100 of the Children and Families Act 2014

What is EOTAS?

Education Otherwise Than At School, or EOTAS, is a package of education that only comes with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and is funded by the local authority (LA). It is NOT the same as Elective Home Education (EHE). EHE is a personal choice and a local authority can decide it is satisfied that a parent can provide a suitable education themselves, at their own cost. EOTAS remains the duty of the LA to provide.

Parents who have children unable to access a school placement are not usually “choosing” to home educate. Whether there is no suitable provision or the child is too unwell to attend, it is still the local authority’s duty to ensure a suitable education is provided.

Apply for a statutory EHC Needs Assessment

We would always advise families whose child doesn’t already have an Education, Health and care Plan, to seek a statutory assessment of their child’s needs without delay. Do not accept any LA’s proposal that you should provide home education yourself unless you actively want to and have the capacity to do this.

Section 61 of the Children and Families Act 2014 (CFA) makes legal provision for the education of children and young people, for whom education in a school (or further education placement) would be inappropriate. This is known as Education Otherwise Than At School–EOTAS. 

How do we get EOTAS?

Under a EOTAS arrangement, the pupil is not on the roll of formal educational setting, but is educated at home, or sometimes has a range of provision that can provide for their needs.

This is NOT the same as home education. During a statutory assessment, or at an annual review of an EHCP if the child already has a plan, you should make it clear that you want an EOTAS package. This means the LA will still have a duty to provide an education.  

What is the law on EOTAS?

Section 61 of the Children and Families Act 2014  says;

61 Special educational provision otherwise than in schools, post-16 institutions etc

  1. A local authority in England may arrange for any special educational provision that it has decided is necessary for a child or young person for whom it is responsible to be made otherwise than in a school or post-16 institution or a place at which relevant early years education is provided.
  2. An authority may do so only if satisfied that it would be inappropriate for the provision to be made in a school or post-16 institution or at such a place.
  3. Before doing so, the authority must consult the child’s parent or the young person.

There is case law from 2021 (NN v Cheshire East Council (SEN) [2021] UKUT 220 (AAC) that offers helpful guidance as to exactly how the law should be applied. You need to be able to provide evidence that it would be inappropriate for any of the provision in section F of an EHC Plan to be delivered in a school. This might include for example, your child’s medical condition, specific needs, what a school can or cannot provide, how much this might cost, or anything else that may be relevant.

You will need to provide evidence such as medical letters, school reports, meeting notes, reports from an education psychologist, therapy reports and so on. Explain why this supports your contention that attendance at a school would not be appropriate. EOTAS will only be agreed if attending a school is “inappropriate”.

Section I of the EHCP, which would normally state the placement, must be left blank. Specific details of the EOTAS package should be contained in Section F

Can a school can be named in Section I if my child has EOTAS?

If some education could be delivered in a formal educational setting, this setting can be named in Section I, with provision outside the school setting specified within Section F.

A child’s home cannot be named as an educational setting.

How is it funded?

The LA remains responsible for funding a package of EOTAS. You may be able to secure a personal budget as part of the child’s EHCP to fund aspects of the provision. Section J of the plan will detail the SEND needs and outcomes that any budget and its direct payments will meet.

You can read our information here about Personal Budgets

How we can help

Our solicitors are experienced in securing EOTAS packages and can come up with innovative ways that the right provision can be arranged, based on our extensive knowledge.

We would be happy to talk through your options in a free initial consultation and can help you through the process from start to a successful outcome for your child and you. Get in touch using the buttons below.

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