SEND guidance issued after school closures

Children’s Minister Vicky Ford has written to councils and other partners, setting out the Government’s plans to ensure support can continue to be provided to children and young people with SEND following the closure of the UK’s schools.

The letter gave details of how the emergency legislation in the Coronavirus Act will balance the needs of children with SEND to receive the support they need with managing the demands on councils and health bodies to respond to COVID-19.

The Department for Education (DfE) has also published guidance on early years and childcare setting closures, which includes details of financial support available to providers.

As first was going to press, the number of children attending partially closed mainstream schools looked set to be lower than expected.

All schools were closed from 23 March, as part of wider efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. However, many are staying open to provide childcare for critical workers, such as NHS staff, social care workers and frontline council workers.

Cllr Judith Blake, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “It is important that schools will be kept partially open to provide childcare for parents unable to work at home because they are leading local efforts to tackle the coronavirus crisis.

“Councils and schools will continue to do all they can to try to ensure vulnerable pupils, including those on free school meals and those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), can continue to be provided for.”

For the latest information on children and schools, please visit the LGA’s coronavirus hub at www.local.gov.uk/coronavirus, and email coronavirus.enquiries@local.gov.uk to let us know if there are any issues you would like us to feed into DfE and MHCLG colleagues.

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