by Douglas Silas, specialist SEN solicitor
Here is my update for this week.
I know that so much in Education/SEN news has revolved around and focused on the issue of school closures in the past few months.
So, I have decided to try to get back to some degree of normality in this update and try to talk about other things, as well as schools hopefully reopening once more.
I hope that this helps people again.
(I also thought it would be easier this week to link you directly to the website pages I am referring to below, as they have useful links on them)
1. What has happened this week?
I know that many parents have become increasingly concerned about the fact that their children and young people with SEN have not been getting sufficient special educational provision in the past few months, whether or not they have been still able to go to school.
I can therefore do no better than to highlight the very useful page on IPSEA’s website entitled: ‘Children and young people with EHC plans who are not getting enough special educational provision during the COVID-19 pandemic’, which also provides model letters which parents can use/adapt, which says:
In fact, IPSEA have been very helpful in keeping people updated through the Covid-19 pandemic and have regularly updated a page entitled: ‘IPSEA update on COVID-19, school closures and SEN provision’, which this week was updated to say:
In other news, the BBC’s website raised some concerns about the financial difficulties and practicalities of reopening nurseries, with an article entitled: ‘Nurseries warn of 'mass closures' as lockdown lifts’, which said:
The BBC also reported on the arguments about ‘Social `Distancing’ in schools, in an article entitled: ‘Heads angry as government downplays school 2m rule’, which said:
2. What does all of this mean?
It seems clear now that our educational system generally for children and young people is going to probably take a very long time to get back on its feet properly.
My personal concern is that it will probably take even longer and require much more effort to achieve with respect to children and young people with SEN.
Like I said in my update last week when talking about the Government’s pledge to now put in £1b of extra funding to help pupils ‘catch up’, extra money for education is always a good thing, but the devil is always in the detail.
For now, we really need to try and think ahead and plan as much as possible for as any different and varying scenarios as we can.
It’s not easy, I know…
3. Where can I find further information?
Aside from clicking on the relevant links for more information, I would again remind you of the very useful resources and information provided on the following websites:
- Council for Disabled Children
- Special Needs Jungle
I would also highlight again the fact that you can now get digital copies of the magazines: SEN Magazine and Autism Eye which are both very helpful to any parents or professionals involved with children/young people with SEN.
Keep safe until next week.
With best wishes
P.S I understand that there are a number of educational or other useful resources now on the web - I would be very grateful if you could let me know of any that people are finding useful, so that I can direct others to them.
P.P.S. I also want to highlight again the fact that there are currently a lot of scams out there, both online and through texts/WhatsApps. Please be extremely careful and help yourself and others not to become victims. You can learn more at: www.FriendsAgainstScams.org.uk.