Coronavirus: what do the school closures mean for children with special educational needs?

All parents have been asked to keep their children at home and that schools remain open where they can, only for those children of key workers and for others with special needs who absolutely need to attend.
school closures COVID19 SEND

We had queries from parents on what the school closures mean for children with special needs. Here a quick sum up from our team (updated 25 March 2020).

Government action is trying to reduce the spread of the virus. All parents have been asked to keep their children at home and that schools remain open where they can, only for those children of key workers and for others with special needs who absolutely need to attend.

Children with an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) should have a risk assessment undertaken of all their circumstances to work out whether they are better placed at school, than at home to remain safe. Decisions about the best cause of action for individual children will be based on these assessments.

Not all children with EHCP are expected to require continuing to attend school. We understand that in Lambeth most schools and after school resources have closed including some Special Schools, largely because of staffing shortages caused by the virus and difficulties providing a safe environment taking into account the need for social distancing. In these circumstances parents should have been contacted by the school.

We also understand that Lambeth Council are actively looking at options for how best to meet the needs of individual children with EHCPs - where it would be in thier interests with regard to managing risks, to be attending provision outside the home, e.g. either in school buildings or other after school type provision. Parents of children with SENDs are being distributed through local forums etc an open letter which sets out the Governments commitment to keeping them safe whether at school or in the home during this crisis.

Resources

Government guidance

Government Guidance for parents
Government response to FAQs

Guidance for schools

Letter from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families

Lambeth Parent Forum have also distributed a letter from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families to all parents on their mailing list, which sets out the Government's commitment to support children with SEND at this challenging time. You can read it here

Source of individual advice for parents
Sharon at Lambeth Family Action can provide information for parents of children with EHCPs over the phone 07976201031 or by email lambethPES@family-action.org.uk between 9:00 to 17:00 during the week.

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