Pupils: Disability

Department for Education written question – answered at on 29 October 2020.

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Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to monitor the safe return to school for children with complex needs during the covid-19 outbreak.

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

The COVID-19 outbreak has been extremely challenging for many families of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Supporting them continues to be a priority for this government, and their wellbeing has been central to our response throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.

We are monitoring the safe return to school for children with complex needs during the COVID-19 outbreak, through monitoring attendance data and engaging with local authorities where there appear to be issues. We are also working closely with Public Health England to ensure we maintain joint up-to-date guidance about support in schools and colleges, for children and young people with complex needs.

Additionally, the department’s SEND advisers and case leads have had regular engagement with all local authorities to support and monitor SEND practice from the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. They are also providing regular briefings for local authorities, to support their understanding of guidance and help them understand how to use it in practice.

We have also paused area SEND inspections and commissioned Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission to deliver a series of interim visits, which began this month, to understand children and young people’s experiences and learn from what has worked well for them in this time. These visits help to support local areas to prioritise and meet the needs of children and young people with SEND in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. They also enable learning for all local areas, government and stakeholders on how best to rebuild a better SEND system in future through a series of national reports.

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