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Specialist teaching

COVID-19 SEN specialist teaching

Introduction

During the current Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic the Integrated SEND Service, Specialist Teachers will continue to support schools, settings, pupils and their families in order to achieve the best outcomes possible. 

It is important to note that SEN legislation requirements have remained unchanged during this time, unlike the first lockdown.  Children and young people with EHC Plans are expected to be in school unless parents request and it is agreed that they are not, and in those cases ‘reasonable endeavours’ must be employed to ensure provision in EHCPs continues to be delivered for these children.  Legislation in relation to statutory timescales for EHC needs assessment remains unaltered.

Statutory EHC Needs Assessments and delivery of provision in EHC Plans

“Specialists, therapists, clinicians and other support staff for pupils with SEND should provide interventions as usual.”

SEN Legislation remains unchanged for this lockdown.  It is emphasised in the government guidance that children with EHCPs need to be either in school or with appropriate provision in place, in agreement with families.  This is echoed by the support / provision from specialist teachers and educational psychologists directly with children and young people being directly delivered for those children in school and ‘reasonable endeavours’ employed for those that aren’t. 

Support for remote learning for children with particular needs can also be accessed on schoolsweb under our ‘Help with Home Learning’ which can be found here:

COVID-19 SEND | SchoolsWeb (buckscc.gov.uk) Settings are able to share this with pupils and their families.

Supporting children with SEND

“For pupils with SEND, their teachers are best placed to know how the pupil’s needs can be most effectively met to ensure they continue to make progress even if they are not able to be in school due to self-isolating. The requirement for schools to use their best endeavours to secure the special educational provision called for by the pupils’ special educational needs remains in place.”

“Where a pupil has provision specified within their EHC plan, it remains the duty of the local authority and any health bodies to secure or arrange the delivery of this in the setting that the plan names. However, there may be times when it becomes very difficult to do so, for example, if they are self-isolating. In this situation, decisions on how provision can be delivered should be informed by relevant considerations including, for example, the types of services that the pupil can access remotely, for example, online teaching and remote sessions with different types of therapists. These decisions should be considered on a case by case basis, avoiding a one size fits all approach.”

Restricting attendance during the national lockdown: schools

It is really important that specific consideration is given to the provision being made available for children and young people with EHC Plans, as well as those in receipt of SEND Support, to ensure that work is appropriately differentiated and provision in EHC Plans delivered wherever possible, following the government guidance as highlighted above. We must do all we can to ensure our children and young people are not disadvantaged by the current lockdown.

We will continue to work with settings in collaboration with pupils and their families, to ensure the provision detailed in a pupil’s EHC Plan is delivered.  

We will continue to:

  • Provide the provision detailed in a pupil’s EHC Plan
  • Our training offer, network sessions for SENCos and accessibility of staff remains in place during this lockdown.
  • Liaise with schools and settings regarding the needs of individual pupils;
  • Provide advice and guidance on how to best meet the Special Educational Needs of individual pupils;
  • Run advice sessions to enable schools to access advice and support on a range of issues;
  • Provide statutory support for pupils with an EHCP – this support may be delivered within a setting or remotely depending on the needs of the individual case and guidelines issued by Government;
  • Provide reports and attend annual review meetings – attendance may need to be through remote link up following social distancing measures;
  • Receive new referrals and make contact to arrange a visit where possible;
  • Provide and model strategies remotely to support school and parents in providing education at this time;
  • Transition support for managing changes and in preparation for returning to school or a new setting once restrictions are lifted;
  • Maintain a safeguarding duty to all vulnerable children and young people.
  • Ensure Regular contact with families for pupils on our caseload;
  • Where pupils are being educated away from a school setting, we will ensure contact is made, and may include skype sessions to help the child or young person and their family manage the current circumstances;
  • Differentiating work set by schools for pupils working at home;
  • Signposting to relevant resources and online learning tools

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