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)-...
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COVID Winter Plan – Impact on Education

COVID Winter Plan – Impact on Education

As you will be aware, the Prime Minister introduced their COVID winter plan yesterday (you can read more on the Gov website here). This plan is fairly extensive, with more aspects (such as the three-tiers) still to be decided. The relevant aspects that you may need to be aware of: The COVID-19 Winter Plan ensures the current national restrictions can be lifted on 2nd December, so across all of England, regardless of tier: The stay at home requirement will end, with domestic and international travel being permitted again subject to guidance in each tier.Shops,personal care,gyms and the wider leisure sector will reopen.Collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports can resume, subject to social distancing.People will no longer be limited to seeing only one other person in outdoor public spaces -the rule of 6 will now apply as it did in the previous set of tiers. Information about Protecting the Vulnerable Under recent national measures, the clinically extremely vulnerable have been advised to take...
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Home education rise leaving children’s services ‘stretched’

Home education rise leaving children’s services ‘stretched’

The number of children being electively home educated has jumped by more than a third compared with last year due to health fears sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic, new figures from the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) shows. Some 75,668 children were being taught at home on 1 October, 38% more than on the same date last year. Of these, 25% had been registered since 1 September. The most common reason cited by parents is the fear and uncertainty around Covid-19. Gail Tolley, chair of the ADCS educational achievement policy committee, warned that local authorities were struggling to deal with the jump in the number of children being home educated. For more, you can read the full article on Children & Young People Now. ...
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Covid-19: £76m National Tutoring Programme launches

Covid-19: £76m National Tutoring Programme launches

Children & Young People Now have announced an “intensive tutoring programme to help disadvantaged children whose learning has been most affected by the coronavirus pandemic has launched today (2 November)” The National Tutoring Programme (NTP) will allow schools to access subsidised tutoring, mainly for their pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. The NTP is being designed to provide additional support to students that have been hardest hit by school closures during the Covid-19 pandemic.  School leaders and teachers will be able to choose which tuition providers best suit their needs, from a list of approved NTP Partner organisations.  For the full article, click here. ...
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Transport to school and other places of education: autumn term 2020

In preparation of schools fully reopening in the Autumn, the government has issued guidance on transport to and from school. You can read the full guidance here. Part A provides guidance for Local Authorities on managing the capacity and demand for public transport.Part B provides guidance about the provision of dedicated home to school/college transport in the autumn term. Specific mentions of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Local authorities should take account of the particular needs of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and, where necessary, be informed by the views provided by the parents and school.The system of controls: protective measures "Children with SEND: When deciding on the package of measures that is appropriate on transport for children and young people with special educational needs, local authorities will need to take account the particular needs of the children using the transport, and to be informed by the views of the parents and school. Special schools tend to...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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System for children with special needs in England ‘riddled with inequalities’

Damning report by MPs finds many pupils miss out on support and end up being excluded from education. Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are being failed by a system “riddled with unexplained inequalities”, according to a damning parliamentary report. The report says many of the 1.3 million pupils in England with SEND are not getting the support they need and end up being excluded from school, damaging their education, wellbeing and future life chances. You can read more in the Guardian or TES. What do you think about these findings? ...
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