Government Guidance during COVID-19 IPSEA guidance – March 2020

New Government guidance states, “After schools shut their gates on Friday afternoon, they will remain closed until further notice except for children of key workers and vulnerable children, as part of the country’s ongoing response to coronavirus”.

Guidance for Schools, Colleges and Local Authorities on maintaining education provision during this time is linked here and includes a list of who are classed as “key workers”.

Key Workers include NHS staff, police and supermarket delivery drivers who need to be able to go to work to support the country’s fight to tackle coronavirus. The full list of Key Workers is available here.

Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP). Children who do not fall into these groups should remain at home with appropriate care.

Where schools are unable to look after these children, local authorities will work with the Department for Education’s regional teams to ensure an alternative option is available in the same area.  Schools may not be able to look after children when staff numbers have reduced due to COVID-19 meaning there aren’t enough to meet a safe ratio of staff to children.

The guidance states “can” and it is not a “must”.  If you child has an EHCP you can send them in, you do not HAVE too.  If your child shows signs of COVID-19 then you must not send them into school and follow the guidance on self-isolating. You will not be fined for not sending them into School.

As a country, we all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  That is why the government has given clear guidance on self-isolation, household isolation and social distancing.

Links to Guidance:

IPSEA update on COVID-19, school closures and SEN provision

The IPSEA update on COVID-19, school closures and SEN provision was written by IPSEA and is correct as of 19 March 2020.  It includes answers to the following questions:

  • What are children and young people with SEN’s entitlements when schools are closed?
  • What if I don’t want to send my child to school, for example because they have a weakened immune system?
  • If my child has an EHC plan, doesn’t the LA have a legal duty to deliver that provision?
  • Will residential schools close?
  • If my child was out of school before the school closures were ordered, do I still have an entitlement to alternative education?
  • How long are schools likely be closed?
  • What about home to school transport?
  • Do the LA still need to carry out EHC needs assessments?
  • Will SEND Tribunal appeals continue?
  • Will annual reviews still need to be carried out?