Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Estyn - Education other than at school. June 2016

Summary of Estyn EOTAS Report - Arthur Tanner. 

Link to full Report HERE

Estyn is the Education Inspection Body for Wales. 

Main findings

1. Overall, EOTAS provision does not give pupils the same access to their education entitlements as their peers. A minority of pupils have to wait for more than 15 days to access provision, receive a restricted curriculum, or follow courses that are not challenging
2. Pupils receiving EOTAS do not usually have access to a broad and balanced curriculum that enables them to gain qualifications that meet their needs and potential. Only a very few pupils are taught by subject specialists. A lack of resources and facilities for subjects such as science limits the curriculum for too many of these pupils.
This shortfall means that pupils miss out on important aspects
of education, which can impact on their future chances of employment and training.

3. Pupils receiving EOTAS do not always receive the full-time education (usually 25  hours a week) to which they are entitled. Most pupils for whom local authorities provide home tuition are educated for a maximum of 10 hours a week. They then follow a restricted curriculum because there is not enough time to teach
all the subjects of the National Curriculum. Many of these pupils have had extended periods of school-based intervention and support through a Pastoral Support Programme (PSP) to help them manage their behaviour.

4. Pupils who have previously been attending Welsh-medium schools have extremely limited opportunities to continue their learning in Welsh when they start EOTAS.
When providers recruit staff to work with these pupils, they do not always recruit qualified teachers.

5. Pupils with additional learning needs do not often receive the  specialist support they need, even when this is set out in a statement of special educational needs. They do not consistently
receive the specialist multi-agency support they need.

6. Nearly all pupils who receive EOTAS in Years 10 and 11 remain in EOTAS for the rest of their school career. They rarely re-integrate into school.

7. For many pupils, EOTAS provides them with a second chance to succeed. Many pupils’ attendance improves and they are more
motivated to learn because they have interesting learning experiences.

8. Many pupils who receive EOTAS study  vocational  courses. These experiences often motivate pupils to do well. They learn the skills
needed to access further training or work. They gain qualifications
that are relevant to the area of work they wish to pursue.

9. Many pupils develop good relationships with staff. They appreciate
Staff understanding the difficulties they experience. Over time, th
ese relationships help to support pupils to improve their behaviour.

Education other than at school
10. Very few pupils continue to be friends with pupils from their mainstream schools. They develop new friends in EOTAS,
but these pupils often do not live nearby and it is difficult to meet up with them outside of school time.

11. Nearly all local authorities experience difficulties ensuring that
pupils receiving EOTAS access the expertise of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). Staff do not get the specialist advice and guidance they need to support pupils’ needs.

12. Overall, local authorities’ referral processes for learners to gain access to EOTAS are unclear and not well understood. In most local authorities, these processes do not make sure that assessment and other information is transferred promptly from school to the EOTAS provider.

13. Across Wales, there is a lack of understanding about the registration requirements for pupils receiving EOTAS.
A very few headteachers, who have dual registered pupils receiving EOTAS in Year 11, remove them from the register of the school in January. This means that the attainment of these pupils, which is often not in line with their peers, does not count in the school’s performance data. Their local authorities endorse this practice.

14. Most local authorities do not monitor or oversee EOTAS or alternative provision robustly enough. In most cases, they know how many pupils are receiving the EOTAS they provide or commission from independent providers. Very few know how
many other pupils are also accessing full-time offsite alternative provision, often in the same providers, but directly commissioned by schools.

15. Most local authorities collect data on the qualifications gained by pupils receiving EOTAS. Only a minority of local authorities monitor and evaluate the progress of pupils receiving EOTAS. Overall, local authorities do not track the ongoing progress of pupils well enough
to ensure that all pupils meet their potential. They monitor
attendance and behaviour, but they do not all keep records of pupils’ learning needs or their progress against learning targets.
In a few cases, procedures to track pupils’ daily punctuality and attendance and to ensure pupils’ safety are not followed.

16. Very few teachers of EOTAS, especially those employed by independent providers, have access to training and support that would keep them up-to-date with the latest practice and curriculum requirements. They do not usually know where to go to get the best advice or to see good practice
Local authorities do not encourage their specialist teachers and educational psychologists to share their expertise with independent providers of EOTAS
17. Welsh Government regulations require independent providers of full
-time provision for five pupils or more, and one pupil with statements of special educational needs, to be registered as independent schools. A minority of local authorities commission
full-time EOTAS for large groups of pupils from providers that are not registered as independent schools.  The majority of local authorities visited maintain unregistered PRUs. They operate tuition centres and other non-registered centres to provide education for up to 25 hours a week. Education other than at school

18. Elected members are unaware of all the aspects of EOTAS for which they are responsible
They are unsure about how well pupils receiving EOTAS progress
Or how much the local authority spends on EOTAS.
They do not know if the pupils who received EOTAS go on to further education, employment or training. This means they cannot judge whether the EOTAS they provide is effective or gives value for money.

Home Education Acronyms and  Glossary.

EOTAS - LA funded home programmes are commonly referred to as EOTAS (Education other than at school) in official documentation. The Local authority is responsible for the Education be provided. Monitoring of the LA funded provision is right and proper to ensure taxpayers money is spent correctly. Welsh Government guidance here. 

EHE - Self-funded programmes are called EHE (elective home education). No monitoring. Parents who are funding their child's education themselves already know how well their children are progressing. The parents assume full legal and fiscal responsibility for the education a child receives. Many parents who feel their children have been failed by the system, resent attempts to monitor them by that same system. Elective Home Education Government guidance here. 

It is incredibly important for ALL parents of children to be aware of the very clear difference in status both in terms of funding expectations and their own duties under the law. For a link to all the relevant references that may impact upon children with Additional Learning needs who educated otherwise than at school please refer to our earlier blog post here & save it to your favourites! 

Monday, 27 June 2016

KS2+ - FREE Structured core curriculum workbooks etc.

Back in the autumn we came up with a simple, mostly free core curriculum for folks new to Home Education in KS3. Now we've had a look around the web and tried to come up with a similar "starter pack" for new Home Educators of children aged 7+. Where possible we've given an indicative age range but please remember this really is a rough guide only - our children are so individual!

This selection is only designed to give you a flavour for what's out there - and there really is so much to choose from. Hopefully if we achieve one thing it's in helping you see that Home Education does not have to cost a fortune as nowadays there are so very many free resources.

In our Face Book group we take a closer look at more specialised learning resources for children with special needs. It's a great place to find out what works and what doesn't from other parents. We also include discounts for home educators when available on some specialist learning software packages etc. Do join us! 

Many thanks to Lynne Wilkinson for helping us compile such a useful selection of FREE resources! 


publisher is scholastic unless otherwise stated.

English writing and reading first steps.
Grades K-2 US
Years 1-3 UK
Ages 5-8yrs.
Grade 3 US
Year 4 UK
Ages 8-9yrs
Non-fiction English reading comprehension.
Ages 7-9yrs.

Teaching with Aesops fables - particularly nice for upper primary aged HFA kids.'s%20Fables.pdf
Scholastic reading comprehension Grade 5 US
Year 6 UK
Ages 10-11yrs

English reading and writing worksheets.
Grades 3-6 US
Years 4-7 UK
Ages 8-12yrs.
English - Story starters, visualising endings and reading comprehension. 

Teaching two poems worksheet.

Scholastic book of poems on nature.
English - reading comprehension and analysis!
Very good resource! published by Keansburg. 
Book review reports, reading comprehension templates, critical analysis templates.


Maths Scholastic book - word problems.
Grades 4-6 US
Years 5-7 UK
Ages 9-12yrs


The Human Body

General Science

Practical Science 5-8 year olds


Language Learning & the Rio Olympics

We also put together a nice selection of FREE Topic based learning resources; ideal for projects in this earlier blog post last Autumn.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Assistive Technology - Typing Training Resources.

HE SEN Typing Training Resources

Here’s a list of resources that may help your child learn to type. Do remember to send in the relevant documents and  evidence to the exam board if you want this to be an option for your child in public examinations.

Free Resources

BBC  Bite Size  Dance mat – free resource.


Multi-sensory approach. This costs $14.95 Handwriting without tears.

For the ipad

Quick guide to Windows Keyboard short cuts. free pdf.

We've also recently managed to get a special Home Ed discount on this product Touch-Type Read and Spell from At £23.50 per annum instead of £100 per student it's a pretty good deal. Details on how to subscribe are in our facebook group for our members.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Autism & being educated outside school in Wales.

There is a whole grey area that grows in population size year on year of children/young people who need to be educated outside the state system.

Who are these children and young people? 

Below is a really rough attempt to categorise the groups our ASC children fall into. It's a 
rough indicator only as regards how ASC and home education has become a growing phenomenon in recent years. 

1. LA funded home education programmes. These are most often ABA & II programmes, 8 Welsh LAs fund pupils who attend online schools. 
2. Children who have sensory issues that mean they just can't tolerate a school environment. These children most often seem to wind up being electively home educated by their parents and thrive being educated in an environment that can be tailored to meet their sensory needs. 
3. Aspies who just cannot cope in mainstream schools but are too "academic" for specialist provision. This is a suprisingly large group & again they tend to really thrive thru elective home education. 
4. Those children who have hit crisis point. Sadly within this group we have mostly teens (but some are much younger) who have become too traumatised by the school system to attend. Secondary mental health issues are a huge factor here and range from anxiety, suicidal thoughts, pstd etc. These families are often almost broken by unhelpful professionals and recovery from trauma is the priority before education in the sense most folk understand it can even begin to commence. These families have been let down by the system and we consider them to be "forced" home educators. 
5. Elective Home Educators - some parents choose right at the start to educate their children at home. All counties of Wales have a mainstream local HE group that oraganises social events, learning activities etc for their members. The issue is that often our kids don't fit within these NT alternative spaces either. 

This diagram demonstrates how many parents of neurodiverse children need to address their child's learning needs. Typically mainstream schools focus on the tip of this pyramid.

There is urgent work to be done in getting LAs to understand the fluidity of placement provision as ASC kids change and grow. There needs to be much more official acceptance that not all children are suited to a particular placement for the entirety of their education. Some children find that after a few years of elective home ed they are able to return to the school/college environment but their parents find the barriers to doing so are enormous.

Primary Goals right now. 

1. Remove barriers to learning at ALL stages.
2. Improve access to support services within the public and third sector for our children & young people. 
3. Peer support for families whose children are educated outside the school system.
4. Help our children and young people learn how to self-advocate
5. Transition to adult life - obtaining qualifications, work experience and placements, negotiating the oft confusing world of adult support services, PIP etc. 
6. Legal stuff. There is no legal aid office in Wales for education issues. We really need lots of help in this area. 

We really need the help of ASC adults across a whole range of issues to help us help our children & young people get to a point where they can fulfil their true potential and lead happy, independent productive adult lives within their communities. Noone is better placed to advise & mentor both parents and young people with ASC.

Home Education Acronyms.  

EOTAS - LA funded home programmes are commonly referred to as EOTAS (Education other than at school) in official documentation.
EHE - Self-funded programmes are called
(elective home education).
ASC - Autistic Spectrum Conditions. We use this as an umbrella term covering a whole range of neurodiverse conditions in addition to/co-morbid with Autism. Examples might include social communication disorder, dyspraxia, adhd, sensory processing issues.

Join us

If you are a parent of a child with an ASC condition then we cordially invite you to join us on facebook here

If your organisation is interested in co-production with ourselves or our Young people then drop us a line to this address -