Update note from the National Steering Group of the NNPCF (National Network Of Parent Carer Forums)

Ministerial letter about support for children with SEND in school

Last week (2nd September) Vicky Ford MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, wrote a ministerial letter about supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities to return to school. You can read the letter in full.


SEN Implementation newsflash

Updated guidance on re-opening of special schools

The guidance on full opening of special schools and other specialist settings was updated on 8th September to reflect the actions special schools and other specialist settings need to take to support full opening from the start of the autumn term. The main updates are listed at the start of the document and include:

  • changes to SEND legislation
  • use of face coverings in settings
  • the framework for supporting transport to and from settings
  • pupils who are shielding or self-isolating
  • actions for all schools and local authorities with regards to recording attendance and absence
  • employer health and safety and equalities duties
  • support available for schools with regard to supply teachers
  • performance management and appraisal for teachers
  • health and safety
  • music, dance and drama in school
  • wraparound provision and extra-curricular activity
  • physical activity in schools
  • new resources available for pupil wellbeing and support
  • behaviour expectations
  • primary assessment
  • additional resources available for delivering remote education
  • health and safety risk assessments for those with an EHC plan


The government is committed to a full return to school for all pupils. There are a small number of children with complex needs that require AGPs to be undertaken where risks need to be carefully managed in the context of the pandemic and we are aware of the concerns being raised around this issue. Schools, health and local authority partners need to work together on how the current guidance applies in their setting and to the specific children they are working with in order to enable them to return to school safely. We have heard examples of good practice locally and are working with PHE and NHSE to establish whether any changes to the guidance or further information about practice principles are needed. It is important that schools communicate clearly with parents on progress towards supporting children who need AGPs to return to school safely.


Mental Health toolkit

Please see here a toolkit on mental health produced by the Healthy London Partnership to support children and young people, parents and carers in education, particularly during the return to school.


Time to talk

Time to Talk is an exciting new programme for young people with Special Education Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) developed by the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi) and funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.

Trained staff will provide 50 young people in England with person-centred planning sessions to enable young people to:

  • develop their aspirations, motivation, and plans for the future;
  • feel heard and valued
  • strengthen their emotional wellbeing and resilience
  • be well equipped to manage transitions

The programme is aimed at 16-25 year olds with additional needs who are isolated and may not be not engaged in education or training. Sessions will be tailored to each young person. Information and links to local networks will be provided to parents and carers where needed and useful suggestions and resources to support students who are anxious or uncertain about their future plans can be provided to education providers where students request this.

Funding for the project is for 6 months and owing to the COVID-19 restrictions it is anticipated that all support will be delivered online.

Young people can make a Request for Support from Time to Talk themselves or parents (or professionals) can make a Request for Support on behalf of a young person here on the NDTi website.


Return to school support from Contact

As children return to school, Contact (the charity for families with disabled children) have produced resources which you may wish to share with your members.

Contact have published a new podcast where their education advisor will be looking at some of the common concerns around the return to school, giving a run through of the latest guidance, what parents and carers can do if they are concerned about the school’s safety procedures, how to make sure your child is getting the right educational support and how you can help your child if they are anxious. To access the podcast, see Contact’s website here.

There is additional information about return to school on Contact’s website here, and you can also see Q&As from their recent return to school Facebook session, and webinars on reducing your child’s anxiety about return, and the legal rights of children and young people with SEN returning to school here.

Contact’s family support “listening ear” service also has free appointments this Friday 11th September and plenty more sessions next week. You may find it useful to suggest this service to parents and carers who need someone to talk to about anything concerning them at the moment. Their family support advisers are available to offer a listening ear, reassurance and practical and emotional support for parents/carers and their families. Making an appointment is simple: Visit our Eventbrite page, choose the day (morning, afternoon or evening), and when you register choose the time slot you want.


Ask about Asthma : In the time of Covid 19

This September, to coincide with the start of the new school year and the highest hospital admission rates for asthma (week 38), Healthy London Partnership and NHS England London are running their fourth public awareness campaign #AskAboutAsthma to encourage small steps to improve the quality of life for children and young people living with asthma in London. Keeping children’s asthma under control is particularly important this year due to the coronavirus and any potential second wave. The theme of the campaign is #AskAboutAsthma: In the time of Covid-19.

The #AskAboutAsthma campaign wants to encourage health professionals, children and young people and their families to ASK for three simple effective interventions to help them control their asthma. They should:

Healthy London Partnership has developed a set of ambitions and standards and an online London asthma toolkit for how asthma care should be delivered across the city.

The link to the campaign is here. This year’s campaign will take place from 14-20 September, and includes a week-long schedule of webinars, podcasts, blogs, social media activity and a virtual conference on Wednesday 16 September (am). Each day will have a particular focus, e.g. primary care, pharmacy, schools, nurses, air quality and parents and families. You can sign up for the virtual conference #AskAboutAsthma 2020 – In the time of Covid 19 via Eventbrite.