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updated on 2 June 2020
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School types: All · School phases: All

Here's a round-up of the latest advice and official guidance on supporting pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) during coronavirus.

2 June 2020: we've updated this article to:
  • Reflect the Department for Education's (DfE's) updated guidance on assessing whether pupils with education, health and care (EHC) plans are safer in school or at home
  • Include the National Education Union's (NEU's) preparation checklist for special schools and our advice on supporting pupils' transition back to school

Review your risk assessments 

You should update your risk assessments for pupils with EHC plans to reflect any changes in circumstances since lockdown began, whether your pupils are in school or at home. 

This is important so that:

  • These pupils can be brought back into face-to-face education when it’s right for them
  • If attendance is not appropriate, these pupils can receive appropriate ongoing support at home
  • You can plan for and best support these pupils when they do return to school

When reviewing individual risk assessments, take into account whether parents/carers have the support needed to care for the pupil at home over a long period.

You'll need to consider: 

  • Whether the parents/carers have access to:
    • Respite care (short breaks) 
    • Support from extended family members 
  • The health risks to the parent/carer providing full-time care for a child with complex needs 

Take a look at the DfE's list of things to consider when updating risk assessments for pupils with SEND (under 'Questions and answers').

Example risk assessment templates: 

Special schools: preparation checklist 

The NEU has worked with GMB, Unite and Unison to create a checklist for special schools to help union representatives scrutinise plans for the wider opening of their school.

You can download it from the bottom of this page.

Support pupils' transition back to school 

Get guidance in our article on how to support pupils with SEND to transition back to school and adjust to new routines. 

Share the 'Back to School' resources from The Salvesen Mindroom Centre with parents and carers to help ease this transition for pupils with learning difficulties. 

Remote learning resources for pupils with SEND 

The DfE has:

  • A list of online resources for parents and teachers
  • Guidance to help pupils with SEND learn from home 

Guidance on qualifications 

Read this article for an overview of Ofqual's proposed approach to awarding BTECs and other vocational and technical qualifications this summer.

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