COVID-19 – Updated & New Guidance from the Department for Education
Further to our previous post, the Department for Education have issued new and updated guidance.
- On Sunday 19 April, the Department for Education (DfE) published new Coronavirus (COVID-19): SEND risk assessment guidance written with input and steers from SEND sector organisations – this guidance builds on the COVID-19 guidance on vulnerable children and young people guidance published on 22 March, and explains the practicalities for local authorities and other providers in undertaking risk assessments for vulnerable children and young people with education, health and care plans, in light of school and college closures. The DfE are asking local authorities to work with educational providers, families and the child or young person to carry out a risk assessment to judge whether the child or young person’s needs cannot be met safely at home. Where the risk assessment determines a child or young person with an EHC plan will be as safe or safer at an educational setting, it may be more appropriate for them to attend the educational setting.
- Alongside the risk assessment guidance, the DfE also updated the Supporting vulnerable children and young people during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak guidance – it sets out the different groups of vulnerable children and young people who might benefit from being encouraged to attend educational settings, where appropriate, and how we recommend providers follow-up on non-attendance.
- On Saturday 18 April, the DfE announced that councils across England will receive a further £1.6 billion to help deal with the immediate impacts of coronavirus. This takes the total funding to support councils to respond to the pandemic to over £3.2 billion. The grant will be un-ringfenced, recognising local authorities are best placed to decide how to meet the major Covid-19 service pressures in their local area. Local authorities have discretion to spend it on children’s services such as SEND. Further details are at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-pledges-extra-16-billion-for-councils
- Finally, on 7 April the DfE published an initial list of free online education resources for home education which includes SEND-specific home learning resources to help support parents, teachers and schools, during this period. These have been developed in collaboration with SEND organisations, charities, special school head teachers and multi-academy trusts. This list is by no means exhaustive, and we plan to refine and add to it over time. If you have recommendations for us to consider adding to this list of resources, please email Resources.SCHOOL@education.gov.uk.