Education Otherwise Than at School (EOTAS)

What is EOTAS?

EOTAS stands for Education Otherwise Than at School. It is educational provision that meets the needs of children and young people who, for whatever reason, are unable to attend a mainstream or special school. 

Why might EOTAS be necessary?

For some children or young people, school or college settings may not be suitable; they may have been excluded, they may have mental health problems or medical reasons that affect their ability to attend a school or college setting or the school(s) they have attended may not have been able to meet their needs. 

What might EOTAS look like? 

Some examples of EOTAS provision could be:

  • online schooling
  • tuition at home
  • tuition or training at a specialist centre
  • hospital schooling 
  • therapeutic interventions 
  • life skills training 

How is EOTAS different to Home Education?  

Parents can choose to educate their children from home, this means that they make their own arrangements for their child’s education. If a child has an Education Health and Care plan (EHCP) and you choose to electively home educate, the local authority no longer has a legal duty to secure any special educational provision set out in the EHC plan, because you are deemed to be making your own suitable alternative arrangements.
If, however, the local authority (LA) deems school or college to be inappropriate for your child or young person, the LA can arrange for your child’s special educational provision to be delivered somewhere other than in a school, college or early years setting. This is often known as ‘education otherwise than at school’ (EOTAS). The LA would then be responsible for continuing to secure and fund that provision.

What makes an education setting ‘inappropriate’?

EOTAS is only possible where the local authority is satisfied that it would be ‘inappropriate for the [special educational] provision to be made in a school’. 
To meet this test, you need to demonstrate that education in a school would be inappropriate. Case law states that all the circumstances must be looked at including the child’s background and medical history; the particular educational needs of the child; the facilities that can be provided by a school; the facilities that could be provided other than in a school; the comparative cost of the possible alternatives to the child’s educational provisions; the child’s reaction to education provisions, either at a school or elsewhere; the parents’ wishes; and any other circumstances.

EOTAS and EHCPs

Section F of a child or young person’s EHCP must specify the provision which will be delivered. Parent carers or young people will need to ensure that reference to EOTAS is specified in this section. This is because there remains a lack of clarity over what is to be specified in section I (the setting) of the EHCP where a child or young person is receiving EOTAS. The Children and Families Act 2014 states that the LA must specify the name or type of school or institute that the child or young person will attend. 

EOTAS and SEND support 

If your child or young person has SEND but does not have an EHCP and you feel that their current educational placement is not working out for them or is in danger of breaking down, it might be worth speaking to the school or setting about reviewing their SEND support. For more information see our factsheet ‘SEN Support in schools’.

If things do not improve you could ask the local authority for an EHC needs assessment. This is a chance to identify all your child or young person’s needs and the support that they may need to learn. It might be, that with the right support, your child or young person could continue their education within their current setting. Alternatively, they may require special educational provision which could be provided other than at school (EOTAS). To find out more see our factsheet ‘Education Health and Care needs assessment for children in early years settings or at school’.

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