College Scheme for Home-Educated Students Edit
Some colleges will accept part-time home-educated students aged 14-16. This is a special scheme only for home-educated students in England, and it is different from the national scheme for 14-16 year-old school pupils to attend some college classes. Home-educated students can still apply to join the national 14-16 programme at participating colleges, but this page focuses on the special scheme which applies to home-educated students only.
A college can admit home educated students to any course as "infill" students , ie filling empty places, and it's funded directly by the Education Funding Agency as if they were aged 16-19. The family does not need to pay for this - funding is given directly to the college by the Education Funding Agency and the college doesn't need to claim from the Local Authority. In the past, there was some discretionary funding available from LAs for this, but few actually used it.
It's entirely up to the college whether to admit HE under-16s ; they do not have to accept you. Although you have a right to a school place, you do not have a right to attend college under this scheme.
Students can do courses at Level 1 (eg Btec Level 1, GCSE grade D-G), Level 2 (GCSE grade A*-C), or Level 3 (A-levels, BTec Diplomas).
Most colleges don't know about this special scheme and will assume you're asking about the national 14-16 scheme, which is much more difficult for colleges to comply with than the HE scheme. It's important to read up on it first and you may well need to educate the college about the scheme.
The national scheme for 14-16 year-olds is a big undertaking for colleges as they become effectively schools for that age group, and there are lots of additional responsibilities for them, eg they have to take overall responsibility for the student's education, provide a dedicated area for 14-16 year-olds, and more. However, with home-ed students, the parent still has overall responsibility for the student's education and these requirements don't apply. The government has confirmed that any FE college can admit home-ed students for part-time courses, without needing any special permission or to fulfil any extra requirements. It's entirely between the college and the student's family. Colleges do not need to be participating in the national 14-16 scheme in order to take on home-ed students.
References for all this are at the bottom of this page, with direct links to the relevant government guidance.
More details on EdYourself 14-16 College places
Which colleges are participating? Edit
There are many home-ed students nationwide who are attending part-time 16+ college courses at under 16 years old, fully funded. There is no national list of colleges which accept home-educated students in this way, but you can find a partial list on http://edyourself.org/articles/14-16collegeFAQ.php
National 14-16 scheme Edit
Home-educated students can also apply to colleges which admit school pupils aged 14-16. This programme is less flexible than the home-ed scheme, in that you will normally be expected to attend full-time and to behave in many ways like a school pupil. However, if you would prefer a part-time programme then you can always ask; if they have unfilled places, they may consider it.
University Technical Colleges Edit
"University technical colleges (UTCs) are government-funded schools that offer 14–18 year olds a great deal more than traditional schools. They teach students technical and scientific subjects in a whole new way and are educating the inventors, engineers, scientists and technicians of tomorrow"
These are technically schools. The attraction for home educators is that they have an intake at age 14 and offer a more specialised education than regular schools. You may not have heard of them because they were only established recently, but they are opening up in many areas. See the University Technical Colleges site for an up-to-date list.
2016-17 Funding Guidelines for 16-19 Education:
45. The EFA may fund provision for students of compulsory school age within the post 16 funding methodology as set out in the following paragraphs.
47. Institutions (including colleges eligible to claim funding for other 14 to 16 year olds in the above paragraph) may record elective home educated students for post-16 funding and these students will be counted for lagged funding purposes.from the 2016-2017 funding guidelines for 16-19 education (pdf), from Advice and Funding Regulations for Post-16 Provision.
See also Funding Guidance for Local Authorities on Home Educated Children p7, where it says:
Attendance at FE Colleges
7. With effect from September 2013 FE and sixth form colleges can admit pupils aged 14 or 15 and receive funding for them direct from the Education Funding Agency. This includes not only specific provision for groups of pupils but also individual admissions of pupils who would otherwise be home educated, and who may well be educated with young people aged 16-18. We would therefore not expect local authorities to be paying fees to the colleges for these pupils.and also:
Annex C: Electively home educated 14- to 15-year-olds
1. Colleges sometimes admit children aged 14 or 15 who are being electively home educated, to take courses on an infill basis by arrangement with the local authority or with the parents. Where these courses are at level 3, they are funded by entering the student on the ILR and the student then counts for lagged funding in just the same way as if they were 16- to 18-yearolds.
2. Prior to September 2013, students on courses below level 3 were funded either directly by the local authority, or sometimes by the parents, paying a fee to the college. These arrangements changed with effect from September 2013. Colleges now enter these students on the ILR and they count towards the college’s student numbers for lagged funding in the following year. Local authorities and parents should no longer be expected to pay fees for this provision.
3. Colleges make such local arrangements as they deem appropriate. There is no national prescribed model for provision to these students and they do not form a part of the arrangements for the full-time enrolment of 14 -16 year-olds in further education and sixth-form colleges. Further information is provided on the elective home education section on GOV.UK.From Full-time enrolment of 14- to 16-year-olds in further education and sixth-form colleges in 2016 to 2017 academic year , where it mentions home-ed as NOT being part of the national scheme, and includes Annex C which specifies the funding arrangement for part-time home-educated students.
From the section on Statutory obligations, additional requirements and advice, it says:
Existing arrangements for admitting 14- to 16-year-olds by arrangement with schools, local authorities or parents will continue and are not affected by this guidance. The funding arrangements for electively home educated children are summarised at Annex C to this document.
NB Home Education is the UK term for what is referred to in the USA as homeschooling or home schooling. The term "home education" is preferred in the UK as it is considered to encompass all approaches to education, not only a school model.