Special Educational Needs: Charities

Department for Education written question – answered on 6th May 2020.

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Photo of Lord Addington Lord Addington Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made use of support services provided by charities to support children with Special Educational Needs who do not have education and health care plans; and if not, what plans they have to do so.

Photo of Lord Addington Lord Addington Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to accept recognition and identification assessments made online for hidden disabilities such as dyslexia, autism and other neurodiverse conditions that would normally have been made face-to-face.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

As both my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

The COVID-19 guidance on vulnerable and young children was published on 22 March, and explains the practicalities for local authorities and other providers in light of school and college closures. Which is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people.

Further guidance on risk assessments was published on 19 April: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-send-risk-assessment-guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-send-risk-assessment-guidance.

We are asking local authorities to work with educational providers, families and the child or young person to carry out a risk assessment to judge whether a vulnerable child or young person, including those with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan, is able to attend a school or other educational setting or can be supported more safely at home. They will need to judge how best to meet the needs of these children and young people, including whether some of the support they require can be provided at home. Local authorities will also need to consider how to ensure they can continue to assess children’s needs, including conducting EHC needs assessments through virtual means, whether those children are school or home based at this time.

We are working closely with a range of charities and other organisations to support children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, such as the Council for Disabled Children, Contact and the National Network of Parent Carer Forums, and have taken on board their views when framing guidance.

These are rapidly developing circumstances; we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

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