SEN Round-up during the COVID-19 lockdown

SEN Round-up…as of 18th April 2020.

The second week of the Easter break comes to an end for many schools and plans are in place to return (or not) next week.  Whether you’re working from home or going in to school the information being released is still relevant.

DfE

Working our way down the DfE updates this week.

Closure of educational settings; information for parents and carers

Updated 16th April to add further resources and support and a new section on Admissions.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers

Early years and childcare closures

Updated 15th April with introductory sections and additional sections on who the guidance is for, prioritising children, funding, staying open for children of critical worker and vulnerable children, EYFS and holidays.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures

Cancellation of GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2020

17th April heralded addition of information about OfQual’s consultation on exceptional. Arrangements for exam grading and assessment.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-cancellation-of-gcses-as-and-a-levels-in-2020

School Admissions

14th April this guidance was updated with guidance on the COVID-19 impact on school admission appeals.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/admission-appeals-for-school-places

Financial support for education, early years and children’s social care

Published on 17th April (at 6:15pm!) this document indicates what funding is available to different settings and makes clear the government stance on the furloughing of public sector employees.  Well worth a read if you are mooting the furloughing of school staff. 

Quite simply, if their salary is paid from public purse then you can’t furlough them because that funding is still be provided to the schools, but read the guidance for the specific clauses within this.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care/    

Others

The DfE has also released guidance this week on funding for technical courses, CTF transfers, academy budget forecasts, apprenticeships, how to use school performance tables and a myriad of other documents – business as usual, and no specific relevance to SEN beyond that which we normally look at.

Ofsted

This agency have a rolling update and this week have added an updated section on routine inspections being suspended to add information on publishing inspection reports and management information and the also added information from the DfE on planned legislation for temporary flexibility to the EYFS.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ofsted-coronavirus-covid-19-rolling-update

Other Sources

Edukey/TES

Edukey is hosting the FREE webinar series for SEND Leaders with 4 initial sessions planned and different guest speakers to introduce the content including Jo Johnson (non-executive director of TES) and Carol Vorderman (mathematician and TV star).  Regular panelists lead the sessions addressing current SEND concerns.  David Bartram Director of Prescient Education, Natalie Packer of NPEC and Abigail Hawkins (SENDCOSolutions, SENsible SENCO and Edukey’s consultant SENCO – AKA – me!) are looking forward to the first live session at 10am on 21st April.  If you haven’t already booked a place you can do so at www.provisionmap.co.uk/webinar.  Nearly 1500 seats already allocated!

Special Needs Jungle

If you’ve never had a look at this site, it holds a cacophony of information around SEN.  Written mainly for parents it has some incredibly useful information around EHCPs.  Hayley Mason, Senior Solicitor at SENLegal and Steve Broach, Barrister at 30 Essex Chambers regularly contribute so you can be sure the information provided is accurate, reliable and relevant.

I recommend downloading Hayley’s e-book (its free) which references Coronavirus and SEND Law.

https://www.specialneedsjungle.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/The-Special-Needs-Jungle-Coronavirus-SEND-Law-ebook-With-SEN-lawyer-Hayley-Mason.pdf

If you haven’t seen it, the lockdown policy for disabled people and those with mental health conditions was challenged in that one excursion a day was not adequate.  It was a challenge under the equalities act 2010, and a successful one at that resulting in the following change:

“You can leave your home for medical need. If you (or a person in your care) have a specific health condition that requires you to leave the home to maintain your health – including if that involves travel beyond your local area – then you can do so. This could, for example, include where individuals with learning disability or autism require specific exercise in an open space two or three times each day – ideally in line with a care plan agreed with a medical professional.

“Even in such cases, in order to reduce the spread of infection and protect those exercising, travel outside of the home should be limited, as close to your local area as possible, and you should remain at least two metres apart from anyone who is not a member of your household or a carer at all times.”

  

As always, more questions than answers, despite all the information…and no, I still don’t know when schools are going to go back!

See our videos on COVID-19 and how it has affected the education sector;

https://www.sendcosolutions.co.uk/covid-19-series/