Search for information, advice and guidance

Find local activities and organisations in our directory.

SEND education options and admissions

Educated otherwise than at school (EOTAS)

EOTAS stands for Education Otherwise Than At School. It is a form of education funded by the local authority for those children or young people for whom school or college is not appropriate. It is likely that an EHC Plan is in place, but this is not a certainty.

Under section 61 of the Children and Families Act 2014, local authorities have the power to consent to:

  • the education of a child or young person with SEN other than at a school or college (typically at home)
  • and where the child’s parents or the young person have been consulted and has gathered evidence to demonstrate that it would be inappropriate for the provision to be made in a school or post-16 institution or at such a place.

Whether a school is appropriate for a child or young person will depend on the individual circumstances and the facts.

These might include, but are not limited to:

  • a child or young person's background and medical history (including mental ill health)
  • the child or young person Special Educational Needs (SEN)
  • the child or young person’s reaction to education provisions, at school or elsewhere (see TM v London Borough of Hounslow [2009] EWCA Civ 859)
  • through formal consultation to educational settings.

EOTAS is usually explored as a temporary measure until the identification of an appropriate educational setting for the child or young person. But an EOTAS package can last as long as needed and deemed to be appropriate and in line with other statutory obligations.

EOTAS Providers

EOTAS can include a wide range of learning opportunities and may involve any number of providers.

Schools or colleges will need to go through the Council's quality checks before they can be a possible placement for a child or young person. This takes a minimum of 15 days.

Checks include:

  • safeguarding requirements
  • registration
  • up to date policies and Insurance
  • safe staff recruitment
  • health and safety
  • learning programmes meet the child or young person’s outcomes

Where agreed, the local authority can:

  • fund EOTAS by payments to providers
  • or parents/carers can request a Personal Budget to fund some or all of the package through Direct Payments
Search our directory for EOTAS options

You can filter your search by:

  • Post 16 Education
  • Private tuition
  • Support services for SEND pupils
  • Exclusion and school refusal support


EOTAS is different to ‘EHE’ or Elective Home Education. With EHE, the family has full responsibility for the delivery of the child or young person’s education.

Case Law

Recent National SEND Tribunal case law has clarified the high threshold in law which must be met for EOTAS to be determined as necessary and laid out the circumstances in which it might.

NN V Cheshire East Council (SEN): [2021] UKUT 220 (AAC)

The ruling

In the above ruling, Judge Rowley confirmed that for a child to be no longer enrolled at a school and to have their education delivered entirely via an ‘EOTAS’ package, the Local Authority (or exceptionally SEND Tribunal) would need to be satisfied that it would be inappropriate to deliver any already identified provision in Section F of the EHC Plan need in any school.

Applying the legislation

In applying the legislation, the Council must consider the provision set out in Section F of an EHC Plan and if it would be “inappropriate” for any of the special educational provision to be provided within a school or educational setting, or if some of the provision could indeed be provided in school, while other provision would be more bespoke.

For example, it may be that a child’s anxiety prevents them from going to school to attend more structured and academic lessons. Some of this provision may need to be delivered in a more bespoke manner as ‘alternative provision’, but the child might still able to go to school to access a number of specific interventions individually and in groups, and as laid out in Section F of the EHC Plan.

In these situations, the Tribunal case law guides us that these arrangements should be made while the child remains on the roll of a school.