Special Educational Needs coronavirus guidance

Information, resources and guidance relating to coronavirus for families with children and young people with special educational needs (SEN).

Return to School

On 8 Sept 2020, IASS, NPFG and the Local Offer co-hosted webinar for parents and carers as a means of asking questions to the Local Authority about the return to school for children with special educational needs and disabilities. Representatives from the EHC team, Transport, Health, SSS, Inclusion, and Education Psychology provided information and attendees were able to ask questions.

This is document is a record of the event for those that weren't able to attend.

Ministerial letter

A Letter from Minister Ford to children and young people with SEND, their families and carers, and those who work to support them. This was published on 2 Sept 2020 from the Minister with responsibility for special educational needs. In it, the Minister offers advice about returning to school, and has embedded links to other sites for guidance and support:

The Department for Education have published a leaflet with ideas for questions and communication between school and families:

Back to school news

The Local Authority has published information for parents about the return to school in September on the news pages. The SEN link will return you to the Local Offer pages.

Contact

The national advice service for families with disabled children (Contact) have set up a 'Back to School Advice'  page on their website with helpful information for parents about children and young people with special educational needs returning to school and college in September.

School Transport arrangements Autumn 2020

The Local Authority wrote to parents notifying of the transport arrangements during week commencing 24 August. This included all parents of SEN students who are allocated transport. 

Due to the current situation, we are unfortunately not able to consider any late Post 16 and non-entitled applications that were received after the deadline which was the 3 Friday in May. We will seek to consider these applications as soon as possible and this may mean that in some cases applications may not be processed until the October half term. We will of course process these late applications in order of the date they were submitted however in the meantime we are advising parents to put in place alternative arrangements until such time as we can confirm transport is available.

The demand on our service is significant and we therefore ask parents to be mindful of this and appreciate that we may not always be able to respond in our normal timescales and that there may be occasions when our telephone lines will be overwhelmed. If you need to contact us about any queries regarding transport, these should be directed to the following:

SEN Transport: sentransport@northamptonshire.gov.uk .

Please note that queries about transport for the 'Moving On' course that has moved to Northampton College (Daventry campus) should be addressed to Northampton College who organise the transport.

Returning to education

It is the government’s plan that all children and young people, in all year groups, will return to school and college full time from the beginning of the autumn term.

Parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) attending special schools should also refer to the separate guidance for full opening of special schools and other specialist settings - Gov.uk. 

If you have concerns about your child returning to school or college, because you consider they may have other risk factors, you should discuss with your school or college the measures they are putting in place to reduce risks in line with government guidance.

All education settings have a statutory duty under equalities legislation to make reasonable adjustments for disabled children. Many children and young people will have found lockdown exceptionally difficult socially and emotionally. Settings should consider any challenging behaviours or social or emotional challenges arising as a response to the lockdown and offer additional support and phased returns where needed.

If you continue to have concerns, please contact the EHC team for further advice.

Children that are unable to return to education

A small number of pupils will still be unable to attend in line with public health advice because they are self-isolating and have had symptoms or a positive test result themselves, or because they are a close contact of someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19). If your child is unable to attend school or college for this reason, you should talk to your school or college about what support is in place in terms of remote education.

Your child’s school or college will be able to give you more information about the specific measures they have put in place.

Resources for parents and carers

Independent Provider of Special Education Advice (IPSEA) have produced FAQs on how the COVID-19 measures will affect children and young people with special educational needs.

SEN schooling at home

There are home education resources on the GOV.UK website for children with additional needs:

The National Oak Academy is an online classroom with lessons and resources for parents and teachers. There are specialist lessons available for children with additional needs. Find out more information on The National Oak Academy website.

We put together resources to help support families that may still be useful.  

Resources for children and young people

What is Coronavirus Covid-19?

Meditation

Anxiety

  • Young Minds
    The Young Minds website has tips, advice and guidance on where young people can get mental health support.  
  • Every Mind Matters
    Expert advice and practical tips from the NHS to help  look after mental health and wellbeing.

Council for Disabled Children

The Council for Disabled Children (CDC) is the umbrella body for the disabled children's sector in England.

It brings together over 200 voluntary and community organisations (and an active network of practitioners) to champion the rights of children and young people aged 0 to 25 with SEND.

They provide a range of useful information including:

  • official government advice
  • resources from DCP organisations
  • resources relating to particular conditions
  • regional specific resources
  • helplines and other sources of advice and guidance

Visit their website to find out more:

Following the Minister's request, the Council for Disabled Children have launched two e-mail in-boxes on the impact of Coronavirus on children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Send questions to: CDCquestions@ncb.org.uk.

Enquiries about resources: CDCresources@ncb.org.uk.

They provide the opportunity to ask questions about how Coronavirus will impact on children and young people with SEND.

The Disabled Children's Partnership are providing a range of support and information.