Please see some information we’ve put together to help families at this time. This includes key messages from government, information for parents on attendance at this time and some useful points of reference if you have further questions.
Remember, if you are struggling at home with the change of routine and the demands of home learning, do talk to your school SENCO about what they can do to support your child. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself at this difficult time and remember you can talk to fellow parents in our community on the Closed Facebook page.
Key messages from the government.
- Children with an EHCP are entitled to a place in school and should be encouraged to attend along with other ‘vulnerable’ groups including those under the care of a social worker.
- If parents of children with EHCP’s chose to take a “leave of absence” there remains a duty for the school to make an offer of remote learning for the young person that will meet their needs. This is stronger for children who are in the clinically extremely vulnerable group but applies to all children and young people.
- There are places for children of key workers in schools but if possible those children should be accessing remote learning (recent update).
- Other children/ young people who are struggling with work from home can be offered places for on-site learning but these are not a right. However, it is worth asking the school as even if they can’t offer it, they may then offer additional contact with staff.
- Remote learning should be provided for all children not attending school, it should be a mix of:
– Zoom type contact (Live)
– Pre-recorded materials and
– Time for the pupils to work offline to complete tasks
- Schools are supposed to provide:
– 3hrs of learning per day for Key Stage 1
– 4hrs of learning per day for Key Stage 2
– 5hrs of learning per day for Key Stages 3 and 4
- A duty on schools to ensure that individual children and young people are engaging in online learning and to identify ways to support this where it is not happening.
Please note the government guidance is subject to change. To see the latest visit.
Information particular to special schools can be found here.
Attendance – some more detailed information for parents
There are 3 different levels in terms of attendance at school. The national guidance is here.
- Children/Young people with an EHCP should be offered a place and actively encouraged to attend. If they choose not to, this should be recorded as a leave of absence and they should have access to staff providing remote learning and school should keep in touch regularly.
- Children/ Young people whose parent are critical workers. If at least one parent is a critical worker then the child can go to school “if required” the guidance above states on page 25 “and there is no limit to numbers of these pupils who may attend and schools should not limit attendance of these groups” although somewhere there is a “stay at home if you can” message in the guidance. There is also a list of critical worker roles here.
- For children whose parents are not key workers or with an EHCP there is this phrase (page 47) “It may also be that some pupils who have difficulty engaging in remote education may be considered to be vulnerable children, and therefore eligible to attend provision in person. As outlined in the guidance, this is a decision based on local discretion and the needs of the child and their family, as well as a wide range of other factors.” It’s a weaker requirement than 1 and 2 because of discretion being exercised.
For Richmond and Kingston Boroughs’ families
If families can’t resolve the dispute with the school using the guidance there is a form here that can be used to involve the LA in seeking a solution. https://kr.afcinfo.org.uk/pages/local-offer/information-and-advice/covid-19-updates-and-resources/send-advisory-support
FAQs on education in the latest lockdown
Find the answers to Frequently Asked Questions about SEND services during Covid 19 (updated 6 January) from Achieving for Children on the Local Offer website for Richmond and Kingston.
Skylarks have also put together a helpful information sheet with FAQs relating to the school return in 2021.
Other useful sources of information
Visit Special Needs Junglefor more information on Lockdown 3, including a videofrom SEND solicitor Hayley Mason explaining the educational provision for children and young children with SEN and disabilities.
You will also find a videoon the National Tutoring Programme designed to help disadvantaged children affected by lockdown. Ask your school about whether this is something they will be using, and whether you might qualify.
There is useful information on the IPSEA (Independent Provider of Special Education Advice) website on SEND provision and Covid 19.
The Witherslack group have put together some very useful resources to help families at this time.
You can visit the Richmond and Kingston Kids SENDIASS service for information and advice. This is a free, confidential and impartial service for parents and carers, children and young people.