Education options

​Parents have a duty to make sure that their children receive education during the compulsory school age years.  If your child is of compulsory school age and is unable to receive education at school, the local authority has a duty to provide suitable education in some other way, for example, home tuition.

If you are a parent and you fail to carry out your duties in relation to your child's education, there are a number of measures that can be taken to ensure that you carry them out.

Group of child with adult in centre leading group

Alternative provisions

Children and young people educated in alternative provision (AP) are among the most vulnerable. They include pupils who have been excluded or who cannot attend mainstream school for other reasons: for example, children with behaviour issues, those who have short- or long-term illness, school phobics, teenage mothers, pregnant teenagers, or pupils without a school place.

Local authorities are responsible for arranging suitable education for permanently excluded pupils, and for other pupils who – because of illness or other reasons – would not receive suitable education without such arrangements being made.

Home education

Elective or Home Education is the term used to describe parents’ decisions to provide education for their children at home instead of sending them to school. Education is compulsory, school is not.

As a parent, you must make sure your child receives a full-time education from the age of 5 but you don’t have to follow the national curriculum. You can teach your child at home, full or part-time (‘home schooling’) - but tell the school and your local council if you’re taking them out of school.


You must tell the council if you’re taking your child out of a special school.              

The council can make an ‘informal enquiry’ if you’re educating your child at home, to make sure they’re getting a suitable education. If the council thinks your child isn’t receiving a suitable education, they might serve a school attendance order.

Useful links

Pupil Referral Units

PRUs are one type of Alternative Provision. They are establishments which provide alternative education for young people who are permanently excluded from school, dual registered and for school age mothers.

Post 16 options for students with SEND

From September 2014 some young people will be able to receive support through an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan until they are 25 if they stay in education.

The support that young people with special educational needs or disabilities receive from age 16 will encourage young people to make decisions, and develop skills and qualifications that will enable them to achieve their aspirations and move into adulthood with confidence. Young people who have an EHC plan will be supported to move out of their plan and access the adult services they need.

When a young person leaves school at 16 to 19 years old, they are likely to have some or all of the following options available to them, depending on their ability, independence and support needs:

  • Full-time education at college
  • Training or apprenticeships - either work-based or foundation learning
  • Employment - open, supported or voluntary
  • Social Care options - community based day activities - this could include day centres, part-time college, social firms, community leisure or sport/fitness activities and supported living/specialist residential care for those who are eligible for services.