COVID-19 SEN specialist teaching
During the current coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak the Integrated SEND Service, Specialist Teachers have continued to support schools, settings, pupils and their families in order to achieve the best possible outcomes. We are now entering a new phase as to how this support can be provided.
The DfE have issued guidelines for full opening for schools, special schools and other settings. They state that
“All CYP, in all year groups and setting types, are expected to return to education settings, full time, from the beginning of the autumn term.”
With regard to specialist workers the guidance states that
- Specialists, therapists, clinicians and other support staff for pupils with SEND should provide interventions as usual.
- Supply teachers, peripatetic teachers and/or other temporary staff can move between settings.
- They should ensure they minimise contact and maintain as much distance as possible from other staff.
The new government guidelines say that services can now return to providing support in schools. In the 7 August DfE update it says, “that peripatetic teachers will be expected to comply with the school arrangements for managing and minimising risk, including taking particular care to maintain distance from staff and pupils”. We will be working with schools to ensure this is the case.
We appreciate that each school will be carrying out their own risk assessments and before any visit is made the Specialist Teacher will be contacting the school to ask for this. In some circumstances our support can be provide more efficiently remotely so everything should be assessed on a need led basis to ensure the best possible outcomes for our children and young people.
In order to carry out virtual support for pupils in settings, it is the settings’ responsibility to ensure the appropriate measures are in place, such as the technology, a quiet area/room, an adult present with the CYP.
During the COVID period the following services were delivered efficiently remotely and should be considered moving forward:
- Annual review meetings
- Liaison with SENCos to discuss outcomes and progress
- Liaison with schools to give advice on individual pupil needs
- Virtual training sessions for staff
- SEN support plan meetings
- Parent support groups
We will continue to:
- 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
- deliver telephone contact and advice sessions to enable schools to access advice and support on a range of issues;
- provide statutory support for pupils with an EHCP and where appropriate for those without 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 written reports and attend annual review meetings – attendance may be in person following social distancing measures or through remote links
- receive new referrals and arrange contact and consultations with schools
- advise on and model strategies in school, remotely or face to face, to support school and parents in providing education at this time;
- provide advice on transition for managing changes in routine, preparing to return to school or a new setting (during lockdown or once lockdown eases)
- maintain a safeguarding duty to all vulnerable children and young people.
In line with the tiered approach, from 8 September, a new telephone line will be set up as a "quick queries" service for schools. It will cover general Specialist Teacher support queries (specifically related to down syndrome, Language, ASD and Cognition and Learning Support).
The phone line will run on a Tuesday afternoon. The number will be 01494 475199 and we will run from 1.30pm to 4pm.
This will enable
- Schools to call if they would like to
- Staff to speak directly to a Specialist Teacher to discuss a child or young person and to gain initial support
- access advice easily and at the earliest stage for pupils with communication and interaction needs
We understand that these are unprecedented times for schools, and we want to endeavour to do all we can to support schools effectively and safely as they prepare for the return of their pupils. We will update our support as necessary and in line with guidance from Public Health England and the government.