It was finally announced that schools would reopen to all students, giving many parents and carers some form of relief that structure and familiarity could be returning. For many children with SEN, the impact of school closures has not only affected their education but also their respite and therapy sessions. An interesting article published by The Guardian looked at how SEN pupils in England have been ‘pushed to one side’ during the pandemic. Although pupils with an EHC Plan have been eligible to attend school during lockdown, many children have been unable to attend following on from risk assessments carried out by individual schools as many provisions had been unable to be fully restored. This has meant that many children have been denied their school placement, which in turn has had a knock-on effect on their mental health due to changes in their structure and routine, which many children with SEN thrive on.
The Guardian: FULL ARTICLE
There has also been much speculation over recent months about ‘catch up plans’ for students who have fallen behind or need additional support during the pandemic. For some, this could come as a great sense of relief as the pressure of remote learning or the change is classroom dynamics has become too much – however, for others this could be yet another battle that the pandemic has thrown their way. We look forward to hearing the final decision and to examining the plans that will be made available for those who need it.
BBC News: FULL ARTICLE
One policy area of real difficulty during the pandemic has been determining who is entitled to a vaccination, and when. This month, the government set out the next and final stages of order of priority for a vaccine, and confirmed that this will be done by age group rather than by particular job. Many teaching groups had called for teachers to be vaccinated first given the risks that teaching a large number of pupils poses, but the government confirmed that they would not, on the whole, be vaccinating according to job risk because of the extra complexities (and time) that this would involve. However, the picture is more complex when it comes to teachers of children with special educational needs, as a Schools Week investigation has shown. It appears that some areas are classing teachers in SEN schools as health and social care staff, and they would then be included in the first wave of vaccinations. Clarity from the government about whether or not teachers and staff in SEN settings should be vaccinated would be welcomed.
Schools Week: FULL ARTICLE
Finally, one thing that the pandemic has highlighted is the number of children not in school; but why has this not been a bigger concern before? For so many parents and carers there can be a daily struggle to get children to attend school yet help and support is often so difficult to come by. At the beginning of the month Tes published an article looking at exactly this! Lets hope that one positive to come from this pandemic is the acknowledgement that EVERY child is entitled to an education, and that for many children, school offers far more than simply just an education.
Tes: FULL ARTICLE
If you have concerns about your child’s education and would like advice on the best path forwards, contact our SEN lawyers today for FREE initial advice. Just call 01926 354704 or email; firstname.lastname@example.org