10-point Version of the DfE’s Back-to-School Guidance for SEND learners

With the news that everyone will be returning to school/college" from March 8th, the Department for Education has once again issued separate operational guidance for schools and for specialist settings: Additional operational guidance for special schools, special post-16 institutions and alternative provision. Below is a bit of a breakdown of some of the important points that you should be aware of. 1. Attendance The attendance section in the specialist and alternative settings guidance emphasises that from March 8th, attendance is mandatory for all, unless they receive a positive test result or have to self-isolate. It is vital for pupils and students to attend school or college to minimise, as far as possible, the longer-term impact of the pandemic on their education, wellbeing and wider development. The usual rules on school attendance apply to all pupils including:- parents’ duty to secure their child’s regular attendance at school (where the child is a registered pupil at school, and they are of compulsory school age)-...
Read More
Plans to support vulnerable children set out as schools close amid third coronavirus lockdown

Plans to support vulnerable children set out as schools close amid third coronavirus lockdown

It was announced last night that all primary and secondary schools and colleges would close for at least six weeks until February half-term to all pupils except the children of frontline workers and vulnerable children. Early years settings, including nurseries and childminders, special schools and alternative education providers will remain open to all pupils, Johnson said. The Department for Education has confirmed it will go ahead with previously announced plans to increase the number of free laptops and 4G routers made available to disadvantaged children. It said it aimed to provide one million devices by the end of the current academic year having handed out 560,000 as of December.The government-funded National Tutoring Programme, aimed at helping the most disadvantaged children impacted by the pandemic catch-up with peers, has said it will continue to provide tutoring remotely – it delivered support to 62,000 pupils last term.Meanwhile, the government has admitted that GCSE, AS and A level exams are “unlikely” to go ahead...
Read More

A joint ministerial letter to children and young people with SEND regarding the full return to educational settings in September 2020

Children & Families Minister Vicky Ford and Care Minister Helen Whately have written an open letter to children and young people with SEND, their parents, families and others who support them. The letter explains the actions that need to be taken to ensure, where possible, all pupils return to their educational settings from September, and responds to some of the concerns and questions that have been raised. Department for Education and Department of Health & Social Care Joint Ministerial LetterDownload Key messages include: The importance for those with special educational needs and disabilities to return to educational settings safely in September so that they can receive face-to-face education and supportReassures that the risk of contracting the virus in educational settings is low and outlines protective measures in place to reduce the risk even further, including the NHS Test and Trace systemMinisters expect a small number of absences from children and young people who remain under the specialist care of a health professional however, the...
Read More

Extra Mental Health Support for Pupils and Teachers

The Department for Education and Department of Health and Social Care have announced online resources and charity grants. These are to help schools and colleges respond to the impact of coronavirus on mental health and wellbeing. For the full press release, click here. There will be a variety of videos, webinars and teaching materials produced in partnership with charities. These shoul help children and young people discuss their anxieties and other emotions around the pandemic. Grants worth more than £750,00 for the Diana Award, the Anti-Bullying Alliance and the Anne Frank Trust have been announced. There is also a £95,000 pilot project in partnership with the Education Support Partnership to focus on teachers' and leaders' mental health and wellbeing. This will encourage more resiliency of school staff. Furthermore, mental health and wellbeing will become a compulsory part of pupils' education in primary and secondary education through the Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) curriculum from September. ...
Read More

Department for Education: Supporting Children and Young People with SEND

The Department for Education have released their guidance to schools and colleges on supporting children and young people with SEND during the reopening of education settings. The key elements of the guidance is around updating risk assessments and how the phased return to education settings will be managed. Particular care will be needed in planning for and supporting children and young people with EHC plans to return to their schools and colleges. In the spirit of coproduction, educational settings should contact parents and involve them in decisions about their child who has an EHC plan.Similarly, they should contact and involve young people over 16 who have EHC plans.Schools and colleges will need to ensure that they have the staffing needed to support children and young people at safe ratios.Local authorities will also need to reinstate safe home to school transport arrangements. Differentiated Return to School “We recognise that some children and young people with EHC plans will need careful preparation for their return, for...
Read More

Details on phased wider opening of schools, colleges and nurseries

The Department for Education has released their statements on how schools, colleges and nurseries can begin to prepare to open to more young people from 1st June. You can read the full press release here. All of this depends on the infection rate staying low, and will be monitored daily by the government. The age groups expected to attend school are: NurseryReceptionYear 1Year 6 The Government is also asking schools, colleges and sixth-form to offer some face to face support to year 10 and year 12 students in preparation of their exams next academic year. There is guidance to the education sector that is available for you to read. Some of the changes include: Reducing the size of classes and keeping children in small groups without mixing with othersStaggered break and lunchtimes, as well as drop offs and pick upsIncreasing the frequency of cleaning, reducing the use of shared items and utilising outdoor space It’s key for parents and carers to understand that there will be no...
Read More