Coronavirus (COVID-19)



Government guidance


Updates for a second lockdown – school attendance and visits

Clinically extremely vulnerable children and staff   


More evidence has emerged that shows there is a very low risk of children becoming very unwell from coronavirus (COVID-19), even for children with existing health conditions. Most children originally identified as clinically extremely vulnerable no longer need to follow original shielding advice. Parents should be advised to speak to their child’s GP or specialist clinician if they have not already done so, to understand whether their child should still be classed as clinically extremely vulnerable.

Those children whose doctors have confirmed they are still clinically extremely vulnerable are advised not to attend childcare or nursery during the period this advice is in place.

Children who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, but who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves, should still attend education or childcare.

Parents of clinically extremely vulnerable children will be receiving a letter shortly confirming this advice.


Those individuals who are clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to work from home and not to go into work. Individuals in this group will have been identified through a letter from the NHS or from their GP, and may have been advised to shield in the past. Staff should talk to their employers about how they will be supported, including to work from home where possible, during the period of national restrictions.

All other staff should continue to attend work, including those living in a household with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable.

Clinically vulnerable staff and children

Staff and children who are clinically vulnerable or have underlying health conditions but are not clinically extremely vulnerable, may continue to attend early years and childcare settings in line with current guidance.

Visitors to the setting

Settings should restrict all visits to the setting to those that are absolutely necessary.  Section 42 legislation (see below) remains in place and so visits in relation to statutory assessments and provision must continue.


Buckinghamshire guidance

Please find below a presentation that we hope you will find useful when planning for the return for children and young people with SEND in your schools. This information is closely linked to the published guidance as well as to specific advice from the DfE.

Full re-opening of schools and colleges - support for SEND pptx, 158KB

The topics covered include:

  • full return - The key messages
  • guidance for reopening of schools
  • teaching, curriculum delivery and behaviour
  • risk assessments and those that are vulnerable
  • transport
  • early years
  • further education
  • temporary legislative changes
  • Ofsted
  • key government guidance documents

For all children and young people, the return to school could potentially be a daunting one and preparation will be key. However, for children and young people with SEN, particularly those who have not had their provision in their EHCPs delivered in the way they are usually used to, this could be even more significant. It is critical that the advice in this presentation is noted and followed. For specific support with transition, I reference the transitions document already developed by the Educational Psychology team during the pandemic, which provides specific guidance to aid you during this time:

In addition, also attached above is a guidance document focused specifically on transition support for children and young people with SEND, which has been co-produced across services related to SEND.

Transition Support for Pupils with SEND – Advice for Home and School


Send legislative changes - expiry of s42 modification notice

Section 42 of the Children and Families Act relates to the help for Children and Young People set out in Section F of their EHC Plans.  For those in Bucks, the Act places on Buckinghamshire Council and Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group an absolute duty to provide the help as set out in that Section.   This means that help described in Section F must be provided, and if it is not, this law can be used to ensure it is provided.

From 1st May until 3rd August, the Section 42 duty had been altered to reflect the reality of measures required to keep young people, their families and staff saf. This meant that there was no absolute duty to provide the help in Section F.  Instead, education providers under the direction of Buckinghamshire Council, had to use ‘reasonable endeavours’ to provide the help.  ‘Reasonable endeavours’ meant they had to do what they reasonably could do to provide the help – it might not be possible to provide it exactly as written in Section F.  For example, specialist teachers had been delivering Braille teaching through online means, and schools were sending specific work home for completion.

This notice modifying the duty on local authorities to secure or arrange the special educational and health care provision specified in children and young people’s EHC plans expired on 3rd August 2020.  This followed the Secretary of State’s announcement on 2nd July that, unless the evidence changes, they will not be issuing further national notices to modify this duty. Government focus will increasingly be on supporting local authorities, health commissioning bodies and education settings as they work towards full provision being restored for all children and young people with EHC plans

Some changes made during the period 1st May until 3rd August using inventive and creative uses of technology and staff resources, may continue, if they provide a better way of delivering provision in EHCPs.  However, it is now the case that delivery of the provision is a statutory duty, and the use of reasonable endeavours to do this is no longer an option.  This is in line with children and young people making a full return to school in September which is the expectation nationally and in Buckinghamshire.


See also

Annual Reviews Guidance

EHC Needs Assessment Guidance

Specialist Teaching Update  



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