Updated Guidance - ‘Supporting vulnerable children and young people during the coronavirus outbreak’
Today, 19th April 2020, the Government has updated its guidance on ‘Supporting vulnerable children and young people during the coronavirus outbreak’
Changes made provide “clarifications to the existing guidance including the actions to be taken for each group around their attendance or otherwise at an education setting.” The guidance goes on to state that the Government “have not changed the groups included in the definition of vulnerable children.”
The Guidance starts with the statement that;
“The government encourages vulnerable children and young people to attend educational settings unless they have underlying health conditions that put them at severe risk.”
The document seems to provide a greater clarity around those children and young people with an EHCP attending school. It highlights that there should be a joint approach between LA’s education providers and families in carrying out a risk assessment around school assessment.
“We 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.
Many children and young people who have an EHC plan can remain safely at home. Where the risk assessment determines a child or young person with an EHC plan will be safer at home, it may be more appropriate for them to stay at home.”
There is also guidance on following up non-attendance at school
“Providers should follow up with the parent or carer – and social worker/local authority, where appropriate – to explore reasons for absence.”
There is an expectation that vulnerable children and young people will attend school where it is appropriate for them to do so, alongside a recognition that this might require a consideration of “the balance of risk, including health vulnerabilities, family circumstances and the child or young person’s assessed special educational needs.”
There is also a recognition of parental fears around their child’s return to school
“Where parents are concerned about the risk of the child contracting the virus, the school or social worker should talk through these concerns with the parent following the advice set out by Public Health England. Educational settings should notify the child’s social worker (where relevant) where the child does not take up their place.”
PACC recognises that the current situation is particularly challenging for SEND families, and the change in routines for some families will be causing significant distress and difficulties, however the decision to return your child to school will also have its own challenges. Each family will need to assess its own circumstances and balance any potential risk, of both a young person staying at home or returning to school. We encourage families who are struggling because of the impact of being away from school, to have a discussion with their child’s education provider and other services involved in their care, so that the best outcome can be achieved. If the decision is made that a young person should not return to school, then alternatives way to provide support should be considered.
The full guidance can be read at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people< Back to News List