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Education Legal services for Families, in particular, Special Educational Needs & Disability
Lockdown: Changes to national restrictions and temporary school closures

Lockdown: Changes to national restrictions and temporary school closures

Yesterday (Monday 4th January 2021) the Prime Minister,  Boris Johnson announced that England will move into its third national lockdown in order to bring the virus under control whilst the vaccine programme is rolled out. 

Set out below is the current guidance for:-

Clinically Extremely Vulnerable children

  • The Government has reinstated the shielding guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable groups in all areas of England.
  • All clinically extremely vulnerable children are advised NOT to attend education settings during lockdown
  • It is expected that education settings may be able to offer extremely vulnerable children access to remote education.

Schools and Colleges

  • All primary schools, secondary schools and colleges will move to remote provision, except for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children who can attend in person.
  • Alternative provision will remain open.
  • Special schools will remain open.
  • Early years settings, including nurseries and childminders, will remain open.
  • Existing rules for childcare support bubbles will still apply.
  • Vocational exams will go ahead as planned in January.
  • It has been confirmed that 2021 Summer Exams will NOT go ahead as planned. Alternative arrangements will be worked on by the Education Secretary and Ofqual and more details will be made available in due course.  
  • Provision will be made for children normally receiving free school meals.
  • Continued increase in provision of laptops and tablets to support remote education.  

Children and young people can continue to attend school or college if they:

  • have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan.
  • are assessed by Social Care services as being in need under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, including children and young people who have a child in need plan, a child protection plan or who are a looked-after child.
  • have been identified as otherwise vulnerable by educational providers or local authorities (including children’s social care services), and who could benefit from continued full-time attendance, this might include:
  • children and young people about to receive support from children’s social care services or are in the process of being referred to children’s services
  • adopted children or children on a special guardianship order
  • young people who are not in employment, education or training
  • those living in temporary accommodation
  • young carers
  • children who may have difficulty engaging with remote education at home (for example due to a lack of devices or quiet space to study)
  • care leavers
  • other children and young people at the provider and local authority’s discretion i.e. pupils and students who need to attend an educational setting to receive support for or manage risks to their mental health.

Special Educational Needs (SEN) during lockdown

All Statutory duties and timescales relating to SEN have been back in full force since 25th September 2020. Local Authorities have an absolute duty to secure the provision recorded in Section F – Special Educational Provision of an EHC Plan. 

We are still operating as usual during this third national lockdown. If you need help with an Education, Health and Care Needs assessment, a SEND appeal, disability discrimination or any kind of education legal matter, please get in touch below.

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