Disability and Special Educational Needs: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 17th July 2020.

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Photo of Lord Blunkett Lord Blunkett Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review the Special Educational Needs and Disability (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 in line with the commitment to restoring duties under section 42 of the Children and Families Act 2014 when the current notice lapses on 1 August.

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 part of our response to the COVID-19 outbreak we made temporary changes to the law relating to special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). This was to strike the right balance between:

  • the needs of children and young people with SEND to be protected and receive the right support in a timely way; and
  • managing the demands on local authorities, health bodies and education settings to respond to the outbreak.

As part of the plans for children and young people returning to full-time education in September, we have announced that (unless the evidence changes) the modification to the duties on local authorities and health commissioning bodies to secure or arrange the provision in education, health and care (EHC) plans will cease at the end of July.

We have been closely monitoring the impact of the changes we made to secondary legislation that allow greater flexibility to local authorities and their partners over the timescales for various EHC needs assessment and plan processes. As things stand, the Regulations in question expire on 25 September 2020. We have committed to keeping the changes to the law in place for no longer than is necessary. We expect to make a decision next month as to how long the changes to these timescales should remain in force.

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