Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) have been treated as an afterthought by the government during the Covid-19 pandemic, a report has warned.
The report warns that advice to special schools was frequently published later than guidance for mainstream schools when pandemic restrictions, including lockdowns and school closures, were ordered by government.
“This led settings and young people with SEND to be seen as, and feel like, an afterthought,” the report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for SEND says
The report, called Forgotten. Left behind. Overlooked, details the experiences of children and young people with SEND during the pandemic in 2020.
Remote teaching was particularly hard to access for some SEND children, found the report, which includes recommendations for change from a raft of charities and children’s organisations.
Among those contributing was the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS), which said that remote learning options were not accessible for deaf children without additional communication support, such as speech to text software or sign...
Back to School: Bridging the Gap Activity Pack
Below is a PDF that you can download and print with a variety of activities that you can do with your children/young people to help with the transition back to school.
With the news that everyone will be returning to school/college" from March 8th, the Department for Education has once again issued separate operational guidance for schools and for specialist settings: Additional operational guidance for special schools, special post-16 institutions and alternative provision.
Below is a bit of a breakdown of some of the important points that you should be aware of.
The attendance section in the specialist and alternative settings guidance emphasises that from March 8th, attendance is mandatory for all, unless they receive a positive test result or have to self-isolate.
It is vital for pupils and students to attend school or college to minimise, as far as possible, the longer-term impact of the pandemic on their education, wellbeing and wider development. The usual rules on school attendance apply to all pupils including:- parents’ duty to secure their child’s regular attendance at school (where the child is a registered pupil at school, and they are of compulsory school age)-...
The government has pledged to focus £700m in catch up funding for education in England on disadvantaged children, as schools and early years settings recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Children & Young People Now have reported on the "Recovery Premium":
One-to-one and small group tutoring programmes is another focus of the government's efforts to help schools and colleges recoverThe one-off recovery premium is worth £302m. The average primary school will receive around £6,000 extra while the average secondary school around £22,000 more. The government expects schools to use this premium money to boost summer provision, such as additional clubs and activities.Schools will also be expected to use “evidence based approaches to supporting disadvantaged pupils from September”, according to the Department for Education.Of the remaining £400m, half will be used to boost tutoring in schools and language development in early years settings.The other half is for schools to develop face-to-face summer schools. The government expects these to initially target incoming year 7 pupils.
The mental health and emotional wellbeing of autistic children is worsening amid the current coronavirus lockdown, a survey has revealed.
Three quarters of more than 2,000 autistic children and their parents surveyed said they feel more anxious since the health crisis and think they will need ongoing mental health support.
More than half (56 per cent) said they feel stressed. A similar proportion (54 per cent) said they felt overwhelmed during the pandemic, according to the survey by the charity Ambitious about Autism.
The disruption to the routines of young autistic people's lives amid the crisis is causing stress and additional mental health issues including eating disorders, the survey found.
“Medical services have been cancelled, routines lost, there are things we can’t do and people we can’t see anymore,” said one respondent.
“For me this has caused trouble with an eating disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder- almost agoraphobia.”
Social distancing measures, especially for those who have an exemption from wearing a facemask, are also causing concern.
One autistic young...
The Prime Minister has today been giving statements to the Houses of Parliament, including the plans for the reopening of schools. He has made it clear that:
A 2 week plan/warning will be released when it is deemed safe for children and young people to return to schoolsThis is currently not expected to happen till March at the earliestChildren and Young People with EHCPs can still attend schools
As we move into another week of working from home and home-schooling, you may find these resources from the Education Endowment Foundation useful.
7 top tips to support reading at home7 top tips to support reading at home – for Key Stage 2Helping Home Learning: Read with TRUST infographicHelping Home Learning: Read with TRUST comicHelping Home Learning: Talk with TRUST infographicHelping Home Learning: Talk with TRUST comicSupporting home learning routines: Planning the daySupporting daily routines during school closures
The Leicester City Council offers a variety of information about looking after a family member, friend or neighbour who would not cope without your support during the coronavirus pandemic. Please note if adult social care are already helping you to arrange care for the person you look after, please do not cancel that package of care.
Carers UK have also shared a Press Release on the new advice on when unpaid carers will receive vaccinations.
If you have not done already, consider applying for a Carers Passport, as this can help you prove your status as a carer.
The Department for Education is partnering with broadband providers to offer disadvantaged families free data to support home learning during the latest Covid-19 lockdown.
Through the partnership schools are being urged to identify children without internet access to request the free data through the government’s Get Help with Technology programme.
Providers involved in the programme include EE, which announced this week that it is offering disadvantaged families 20GB of free data per month.
Also involved are broadband providers Three, Sky Mobile, SMARTY, Tesco Mobile and Virgin Mobile. This free data offer is available until July 2021.
The move comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced this week that schools in England will close until at least February half-term as part of a fresh national lockdown to curb rates of Covid-19 infection.
It was announced last night that all primary and secondary schools and colleges would close for at least six weeks until February half-term to all pupils except the children of frontline workers and vulnerable children. Early years settings, including nurseries and childminders, special schools and alternative education providers will remain open to all pupils, Johnson said.
The Department for Education has confirmed it will go ahead with previously announced plans to increase the number of free laptops and 4G routers made available to disadvantaged children. It said it aimed to provide one million devices by the end of the current academic year having handed out 560,000 as of December.The government-funded National Tutoring Programme, aimed at helping the most disadvantaged children impacted by the pandemic catch-up with peers, has said it will continue to provide tutoring remotely - it delivered support to 62,000 pupils last term.Meanwhile, the government has admitted that GCSE, AS and A level exams are “unlikely” to go ahead...
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