10 things parents need to know about EOTAS

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10 things parents need to know about EOTAS

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10 things parents need to know about EOTAS

10 things parents need to know about EOTAS

Due to the shortage of special school places, many parents today are asking the Local Authority to fund Education Otherwise than at School (known as EOTAS) packages.

Some parents think that if they do not like the School their child is attending, or if the parents do not agree with the School suggested by the Local Authority, they can ask for an EOTAS package to be provided. However, this is not the case.

When requesting an EOTAS package, you are confirming that your child cannot have their needs met in any School within approximately an hour’s travel from your home – whether this is a mainstream school or a special school.

Should you successfully request an EOTAS package, the provision should only be detailed in Section F of your child’s EHC plan, and Section I should remain blank if your child is receiving an EOTAS package.

How does a parent apply for an EOTAS package for their child?

  1. Your child must have an Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP). If your child does not have an EHCP, you will need to submit a request for an EHC needs assessment before EOTAS may be considered.
  2. If you have a draft EHCP, you may request an EOTAS package. If you already have an EHCP in place, you may submit a request for EOTAS at the Annual Review. If you do not have an Annual Review taking place for some time, you may submit a request for a reassessment of your child’s needs for an EHCP. These options provide the only formal routes to request an EOTAS package from the Local Authority for your child.

What is the difference between EOTAS and elective home education?

  1. An EOTAS package may be full-time at home, or it can include your child attending an external education setting.
  2. An EOTAS package will be entirely funded by the Local Authority.

What does a parent need to be aware of when applying for EOTAS?

  1. You will need to be an unofficial accountant. When requesting an EOTAS package from the Local Authority, you will need to provide a fully costed package of the provisions you are seeking for your child.
  2. To aid you in costing your EOTAS package, you should create a full timetable of what you plan for your child. For example, when requesting Maths and English tutoring, you will need to specify the tutoring. How many hours of tutoring are you requesting each day? Which subjects are you seeking for your child to be tutored in? What provision is necessary for your child? How should this provision be implemented?
  3. Be sensible when creating your child’s proposed timetable. The tutoring subject should be matched to your child appropriately. You will need to provide reasons as to why your child is seeking to learn subjects other than Maths and English. You should also research what other educational opportunities are in your area. For example, if you live in Devon, Dorset or Cornwall, Surf Schools may be available to children who are out of education; however, you may not find these Schools in Birmingham.
  4. Most importantly, you will likely require an Educational Psychologist Report, which confirms that your child cannot be educated in any School setting. Without expert evidence, the Local Authority may not accept that your child needs an EOTAS package.

The Local Authority

  1. The Local Authority have no obligation to arrange an EOTAS package for a child. However, the Local Authority does have a duty to provide your child with a suitable education. Therefore, if the Local Authority cannot name any suitable School in Section I of the EHC plan, it will need to provide an EOTAS package to your child. However, if the Local Authority chooses to name a School in your child’s EHCP – even if the parents do not agree that this School can meet their child’s needs – the Local Authority will refuse to provide an EOTAS package.
  2. If the Local Authority agrees to provide an EOTAS package, it can be a temporary arrangement. The Local Authority will review your child’s EOTAS package yearly during the Annual Review process. If the Local Authority finds a suitable School for your child, they could issue an amended EHCP naming a School and, consequently, remove EOTAS from the EHC plan.

A Summary of Pitfalls:

  • You must have evidence from an expert. If you do not have expert evidence, your EOTAS request is unlikely to succeed.
  • If your request for EOTAS is successful, you will need to negotiate the EOTAS package with the Local Authority.
  • When you negotiate for tutoring, do not forget to think about what equipment your child may also need to support their EOTAS package at home.

For further information or assistance, contact us at info@watkinssolicitors.co.uk or telephone 0117 9390350 and ask for Beverley, Emma or Celine

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