NNPCF COVID-19 Update 22 May 2020

Update note from the National Steering Group of the NNPCF (National Network Of Parent Carer Forums) regarding the work they have been doing in response to the Coronavirus crisis, and including the working note that they have been using to get your messages across to the government and the NHS.

Please download the update HERE

SEN Newsflash on schools reopening

The DfE issued a newsflash today on the impact of return to school plans on children with SEND. Note that this includes updated information on risk assessments.

On 10 May, the Prime Minister announced that subject to the government’s five key tests being met at the time, schools, colleges and early years settings, will be opening to more children and young people, from 1st June, starting with nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6 alongside the priority groups already at school (vulnerable children and children of critical workers). Nurseries and other early years providers have also been asked to begin welcoming back all children.

From 15 June 2020 at the earliest, secondary schools, sixth form and further education colleges are asked to offer some face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of year 10 and year 12 students who are due to take key exams next year, alongside the full-time provision they are offering to priority groups.

Alternative provision settings should mirror the approach being taken for mainstream schools and also offer some face-to-face support for years 10 and 11 students (as they have no year 12). Special schools, special post-16 institutions and hospital schools will work towards a phased return of more children and young people without a focus on specific year groups. For special schools and hospital schools, this applies from 1 June; for special post-16 institutions, this applies from 15 June.

New guidance on how this applies to children and young people with SEND has been published and can be found at: Supporting children and young people with SEND as schools and colleges prepare for wider opening

Children and young people with SEND in mainstream and Alternative Provision settings who have not been attending and are in eligible year groups should experience the same return to their settings as their peers, informed by their individual circumstances and risk assessments.

Special schools, special post-16 institutions and hospital schools should work towards welcoming back as many children and young people as can be safely catered for in their setting, based on the child or young person’s risk assessment but not using their year group as a primary deciding factor

In both mainstream and special settings:

  • Children and young people with EHC plans who are already attending their education setting, because they have been risk assessed as safe or safer in school/college, should continue to attend after 1 June, whatever year group they are in.
  • Educational settings and local authorities should keep risk assessments up to date, to ensure they are able to offer places to pupils and students, whatever year group they are in, where appropriate.
  • Children and young people who are clinically extremely vulnerable and shielding, or who live in a household with somebody this applies to, will not be expected to attend in person.

This guidance should be read alongside:

We are grateful to all those in the SEND sector for continuing to care for, teach and support vulnerable children and young people in these difficult times. We will continue to work with you to provide the best possible care, learning and support for children and young people with SEND, and the staff and families who support them.

Family Fund to support children with complex needs and their families

On 19th May, the Department for Education announced funding of £37.3 million to Family Fund to support families who have complex needs and disabilities. This includes £10-million of funding to provide grants for low- income families to pay for vital equipment needed to make social distancing measures more achievable, including computers and tablets, specialist equipment, outdoor play equipment, educational and sensory toys and other goods and services.

Families staying at home more than usual to shield themselves from the coronavirus, and looking after and educating critically ill or disabled children themselves, will be supported by £10m of the settlement specifically dedicated to their unique needs.
For more information including eligibility and how parents can apply for a grant, see HERE.