From Action for Home Education's recent Press Release:
"Former home educator, Karen Best, who was a lone parent reliant entirely on income support until her daughter reached school leaving age, has also spoken out against the government's proposals which she believes will remove an essential lifeline from desperate parents. Describing her own circumstances, she said: "I removed my daughter, who has profound learning difficulties and special needs, from school when she was 10 years old after a prolonged period of bullying which had resulted in her self-harming and threatening suicide. I was a single parent on Income Support and struggling to cope financially as well as with an extremely unhappy child.
Since the school and local authority failed to deal with the problems, home education became the only option for us and we never looked back, although I lost entitlement to free school meals and clothing vouchers as soon as I removed my daughter from school and got no support or resources from the local authority. Now it seems, the Government wants to completely pull the financial rug out from under the most vulnerable parents and children. How on earth can they justify impoverishing children and penalising single parents in this way?""
Yep, if the government in effect forces lone home educating parents to send their children back to school, it is likely to find that this will cost them a lot more than keeping such a family on income support, since many HE children are withdrawn from school precisely because of unmet special needs. These needs will have to be met when the child returns to school with proper, much more widespread statementing and support. However, statementing and learning support are VERY expensive and LAs are usually reluctant to undertake this process.
If the SENs of these children are not met, the government can expect HEors to organise a campaign to demonstrate that it is nigh impossible for such parents to meet their legal obligation to educate their children according to their age, ability and aptitude.