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Child Benefit and home education

If your child is still compulsory school age (pre end of what would be year 11) there is no need to inform the Child Benefit office that you are Home Educating as all children under 16 are entitled to it (income dependent).

Child Benefit will contact you before the end of what would be their year 11 (16 years of age.) If you have not heard from them by the end of the June, we suggest you contact them. There are specific forms to use, so please read on.

There has been an update to the eligibility criteria, this now includes being able to claim if you start Home Educating post 16 and your child has special needs. Please read on.

Claiming Child Benefit post 16

Our advice is to make sure you get the appropriate forms, our experience is that not all staff know about them.

A few families have been turned down because of either not having the correct form, or by not explaining the education adequately.  They do not need to know the ins and outs of Home Education, but they enough to satisfy their criteria.

Form CH(A)297B accompanied by CH FTE notes are issued before the end of year 11 usually. These forms are issued to establish whether the Young Person (YP) will continue in education. You only need return the form if the YP is continuing in further education (including Home Education).

In the case of a YP who is Home Educated, this should be reported on the CH(A)297B and will prompt the issue of form CHFTE4. The CHFTE4 will request the required information relating to the child’s course of education to determine entitlement to Child Benefit. Be aware staff may not know the CHFTE4 exists you may need to request it.

The requirements for entitlement to Child Benefit are specified in Regulation 3 of the Child Benefit (General) Regulations 2006:

2) The condition is that the person—

(a) is undertaking a course of full-time education, which is not advanced education and which is not provided by virtue of his employment or any office held by him.

To ensure that the condition is satisfied, decision makers need to establish the following:

It is a course of education – Does the course have a curriculum? The course should be made up of scholastic instruction; but legislation does not prescribe that the course must lead to a qualification. Students should be able to demonstrate progress through a curriculum that is set, however it is accepted that in some cases there may not be a set curriculum.

The course is ‘non-advanced’ – if the course is not ‘advanced’, by definition it must be ‘non-advanced’ (ie ALevel or below)

The education is ‘full time’ – The young person will spend more than an average of 12 hours a week during normal term time receiving tuition or instruction, undertaking supervised study, examination or practical work etc.

In addition to this, Regulation 3 also specifies that where a child is educated at a place other than a school or college, there is no entitlement to Child Benefit if the education did not start before the end of year 11. (PLEASE NOTE THIS HAS NOW CHANGED FOR SEN/ASN/ALN). In other words to be entitled to Child Benefit from the September after turning 16 you must have started Home Educating before June.

Post 16 with SEN/ALN/ASN

There has been an update to the eligibility criteria, this now includes being able to claim if you start home educating post 16 and your child has special needs. Your post 16 child can be deregistered/withdrawn from school and you will now be entitled to tax credits and child benefit if they have a statement of their needs and they are known to the EHE team. Please read the FOI for further information.

The change means that, where a young person with a disability starts home education after the age of 16 and that young person meets certain conditions, the parents or guardians of that young person can continue to receive Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit.
The legislation requires that a statement of special educational needs is to be provided and a local authority has assessed a programme of home education as suitable for that person’s
special needs, in order to satisfy this condition.

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Info regarding proposed new EHE (England) guidance

There is a government consultation about proposed new EHE (England) guidance. We will be producing a guide ASAP to help you respond, so no need to rush in.