Special Educational Needs; Children and Young People

Department for Education written question – answered on 8th April 2020.

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Photo of Steve McCabe Steve McCabe Labour, Birmingham, Selly Oak

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to ensure that children and young people with (a) speech, language and communication needs and (b) other special educational needs and disabilities continue to receive adequate support during the school closure period.

Photo of Steve McCabe Steve McCabe Labour, Birmingham, Selly Oak

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to issue guidance to (a) speech and language specialists and (b) other specialist staff who work in schools on continued support for children and young people during the school closure period.

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

We are working closely with colleagues across government to ensure that all appropriate arrangements, and support, are in place for all DfE sectors – from the early years and childcare, 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 now that schools have closed. 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.

The government has published questions and answers about the provisions being made for vulnerable children and young people, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people.

We have also published guidance to support management of children and young people in residential educational settings, including boarding schools, residential special schools and specialist colleges and children’s homes: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-isolation-for-residential-educational-settings.

Further useful guidance on social distancing can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-social-distancing-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-social-distancing-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

We encourage people to keep up to date by regularly checking the GOV.UK webpages, which is where we will publish reliable updates and guidance.

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