27th July 2020 Returning to School/College

This is the first of TWO emails, this week, to members of HPCI’s parent network.
This first one contains 4 updates 3 of which focus on national announcements around the return to education in September.  The second one will concentrate more on local information.  Both contain key messages for parents and carers.

Open letter from Government Ministers

On the 21st July an open letter from Vicky Ford MP the Children and Families Minister and Helen Whately MP the Minister of State for Care was published to all children and young people with SEND, their parents and carers.   It sets out the approach that they have taken around the return to education for all children and young people – including those with SEND. You can read the full letter here: https://www.hertsparentcarers.org.uk/21st-july-dfe-dhsc-joint-ministerial-letter-for-send-families/
HPCI is working with Herts County Council to ensure that clear messages are given to all families around returning to education and related topics. So keep an eye out for HPCI emails, Facebook posts and Tweets over the summer so you get the information. Feel free to pass it on to other parents or families who may need it.  Links to our Facebook page and Twitter feed are at the bottom of the email.

Government Guidance about returning to school – Herts SENDIASS issue easier to understand summaries

There has been lots and lots of guidance issued by the government over the past 5 months and only the keenest of us would have read it all.  The latest guidance around the full opening of schools in September has been summarised and made easier to follow by Herts SENDIASS.
The links below will take you to their website where you can read and download those summaries.
If your child is in mainstream then the first one applies but if your child is attending a special school or specialist setting then you will to look at both.

https://www.hertssendiass.org.uk/documents/a-summary-of-the-guidance-for-fully-opening-schools.pdf

https://www.hertssendiass.org.uk/documents/a-summary-of-the-‘guidance-for-fully-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings.pdf

There is also a Department for Education Coronavirus Helpline – details below.

Webinar on Returning to School in September hosted by legal firm 39 Essex Chambers

This webinar was held on 23rd July and featured Polly Sweeney, Steve Broach and Alice Irving and is aimed at parents/carers and advice and advocacy organisations.  It covers both children and young people who have an EHC plan and those who are on SEND Support.  The topics covered are:

  • the latest government guidance and what is expected of families from September
  • What support and provision children and young people with SEND will be entitled to receive
  • Do children and young people with SEND have to return to School?
  • Children and young people who have been shielding
  • In what circumstances parents can be fined for non-attendance

A recording of the webinar is available to view here.
https://www.39essex.com/send-webinar-returning-to-school-in-september/

Returning to school/college

Many schools/colleges have been very proactive in talking to parents of children and young people with SEND about how their children are doing and informing them of what changes are being put in place to help children and young people return in September.
However, if you have particular concerns about how your child is managing that could affect their return to school/college then we strongly suggest that you raise those concerns with your child’s school/college as soon as possible.  We also advise that you DO NOT leave it until the first day of term as that does not give school/college any time to prepare.

A very small number of children and young people, on the advice of their  paediatrician or consultant, will need to continue to shield from coronavirus at home.  If this is the case for your child then please ensure that you let your child’s school or college know as they will need to work with you on how they will support their education at home.