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Special Educational Needs: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 26th March 2020.

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Photo of Angela Eagle Angela Eagle Labour, Wallasey

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to make provisions for children who have a special educational need but have not yet received a formal diagnosis to continue attending school.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

COVID-19 is clearly an unprecedented situation and the department’s highest priority.

We are working closely with colleagues across government to ensure that all appropriate arrangements, and support, are in place for all of the department’s sectors – from early years and childcare to schools and children’s social care, and for vulnerable groups including children with special educational needs.

We understand that parents will be worried about continued provision for their children with special educational needs when schools closed on Friday 20 March. Local authorities, schools and colleges, together with parents, should assess the risks to children and young people with Education, Health and Care plans (EHC plans) to judge whether they can be safely cared for at home or whether it is safer for them to remain at school or college. Local authorities and education settings have discretion to do a similar risk assessment for any individual children and young people who do not have an EHC plan but who have complex needs that could mean it is safer for them to be at school or college than at home. Guidance to help parents understand the changes, including information on vulnerable children can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers.

The government has also published guidance for schools, childcare providers, colleges and local authorities in England on maintaining educational provision, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision.

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