SEND review ‘steering group’ appointed to push through reforms

Children's minister defends delays to landmark review and warns Covid has 'intensified' issues Children's Minister: Will Quince The government has named 23 members of a steering group set up to help push through its much-delayed SEND review, as a minister warned Covid had “intensified” issues. In an open letter to parents of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities, children’s minister Will Quince said improvements to the system were “needed, and overdue”. The steering group will “help us move forward” with the review, he added. The SEND review was first promised in September 2019. The government has now missed three of its own deadlines to publish it, with Covid cited as a major contributor to the delays. Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi said last week that he was hoping to have it out “in the first quarter of next year” so it can “dovetail” with a planned schools white paper. In his letter, Quince said the pandemic had “intensified some of the issues in the system, and...
Read More

Education Secretary Backs Home Education Register

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has reiterated his support for the introduction of a home education register. Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi was giving evidence to the Education Select Committee. Image: Parliament TV Speaking at a Parliamentary hearing this morning (Wednesday), Zahawi said he was “absolutely committed” to the creation of a register of elective home-educated (EHE) children, which would be maintained by local authorities. The measure was a key proposal in the Children Not in School consultation paper published in April 2019 alongside a planned duty on parents to register their child as being home schooled and for councils to provide additional support for EHE children. The government has yet to publish its response to the consultation, which was criticised by members of the Education Select Committee who were questioning Zahawi. Caroline Johnson, Conservative MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham, said: “I am unsure why it is taking so long? This is a safeguarding issue…we know that some people are not doing a good job [home...
Read More
Nadhim Zahawi replaces Gavin Williamson as Education Secretary

Nadhim Zahawi replaces Gavin Williamson as Education Secretary

Yesterday, we shared on our social media that it had been confirmed that Gavin Williamson has been replaced as the Education Secretary. We know that this may create a mix emotions in the professionals, parents, carers, young people and children that we support. It has now been announced that Williamson has been replaced by Nadhim Zahawi who has most recently been the Vaccines Minister, and previously worked as a children's minister between 2018 and 2019. Further changes in the Department for Education saw Nick Gibb removed as schools minister after nine years in the role. Michelle Donnelan remains as universities minister, however, no announcement has been made about the future of Vicky Ford as children's minister. ...
Read More
Lessons Learned Through Lockdown – Council for Disabled Children

Lessons Learned Through Lockdown – Council for Disabled Children

Between February and March 2021, as part of the Making Participation Work programme which is funded by the Department for Education and jointly delivered by Council for Disabled Children and KIDS, the Council for Disabled Children commissioned Kaizen to deliver an England wide consultation with children and young people with SEND. The consultation was co-designed between Kaizen, CDC and the FLARE young advisory group, and is based on the feedback of children and young people participating in CDC and KIDS led youth groups. The full report can be downloaded here: Lessons-Learnt-From-LockdownDownload ...
Read More

10-point Version of the DfE’s Back-to-School Guidance for SEND learners

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. 1. Attendance 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)-...
Read More
Plans to support vulnerable children set out as schools close amid third coronavirus lockdown

Plans to support vulnerable children set out as schools close amid third coronavirus lockdown

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...
Read More
Vicky Ford MP: Letter to CYP with SEND, their parents/carers and professionals

Vicky Ford MP: Letter to CYP with SEND, their parents/carers and professionals

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, Vicky Ford MP, has released a letter to all children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), their parents/carers and families, and others who support them. "I recognise that this is an extremely challenging period, especially for children and young people with SEND, their families and carers and those who work to support them. I hope this letter gives you some reassurance that the education, health and wellbeing of children and young people with SEND continue to be a top priority for the government during these difficult times and we continue to be incredibly grateful to all those who work so hard to support children and young people with SEND."— Vicky Ford, MP This provides information on: School AttendanceChildren and Young People who are clinically extremely vulnerableRemote Education Winter package to provide further support for children and familiesFace coverings in educational settingsRespite CareHealth Services for CYP with SEND ...
Read More
Leicester City Council: Q&A on Children Returning to School

Leicester City Council: Q&A on Children Returning to School

As you may be aware, the Department for Education has set out their expectation that all children will be back in school for the Autumn term. The Leicester City Council has set out a series of questions and answers. Questions included are: Returning to school When do schools go back?Should I be worried other schools in the area are not opening on the same date as my child’s school?How safe is it for my child to return to school?My child is very anxious about returning – what support is on offer Attending school Do I have to send my child back to school?If my child is unable to attend, how will their absence be recorded? Will my child continue to get free school meals / vouchersIs my child required to wear school uniform?Will breakfast clubs and after school provision continue? Clinically extremelly vulnerable and shielding My child is currently shielding, can they attend school?Should my child go to school if someone in the house is shielding? Developing symptoms My...
Read More

A joint ministerial letter to children and young people with SEND regarding the full return to educational settings in September 2020

Children & Families Minister Vicky Ford and Care Minister Helen Whately have written an open letter to children and young people with SEND, their parents, families and others who support them. The letter explains the actions that need to be taken to ensure, where possible, all pupils return to their educational settings from September, and responds to some of the concerns and questions that have been raised. Department for Education and Department of Health & Social Care Joint Ministerial LetterDownload Key messages include: The importance for those with special educational needs and disabilities to return to educational settings safely in September so that they can receive face-to-face education and supportReassures that the risk of contracting the virus in educational settings is low and outlines protective measures in place to reduce the risk even further, including the NHS Test and Trace systemMinisters expect a small number of absences from children and young people who remain under the specialist care of a health professional however, the...
Read More