29th May 2020 Return to education and other things

Hope that you are all keeping well.  There are 4 things in this update – return to education – legal changes, HPCI survey, preparing for adulthood information and transport costs for 16 plus.

  1. Returning to school and college

Next week some children will return to primary school classes and Years 10 and 12 in secondary schools will have some direct teaching input later this term.
The government also wants to see more vulnerable children – including those with EHC plans being able to return to education.  However, due to the effect of the coronavirus epidemic, they have made some temporary changes to the law around EHC plans which will be in force until 25th September 2020. This will be kept under review and may be extended.

Key changes:

Councils and health services must use ‘reasonable endeavours’ to deliver or arrange the provision in an EHCP.  Due to the coronavirus services may not be able to deliver as they would normally so they must look at what they can do.  Flexibility of approach will be needed to think differently about how things can be done and also there will be flexibility around the timescales for EHC assessments, issuing plans and carrying out annual reviews.
This week the government has issued more guidance and if you want to read it here are the links:

For CYP with SEND: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-send-risk-assessment-guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-send-risk-assessment-guidance
Secondary schools: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june/planning-guide-for-secondary-schools  (from June 15th)
FE Colleges guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision/maintaining-education-and-skills-training-provision-further-education-providers

In Hertfordshire – HPCI has been discussing the situation with HCC and working on communications to education settings and parents.
All early years settings, schools and colleges have been asked to contact all families of a child/young person with an EHCP and discuss the provision in place and what can still be delivered. A record must be kept of what is agreed and the provision kept under review as things progress.  HCC is providing a leaflet for every family that explains about ‘reasonable endeavours’ and there will be more information on the SEND Local Offer.HCC Reasonable Endeavours Leaflet for Parent Carers

Here is HCC Reasonable Endeavours Leaflet for Parent Carers as a downloadable pdf as mentioned above.

All settings (including those outside Herts where Herts children attend) will receive a letter from HCC explaining what they are expecting them to do.

What do I do if my family isn’t happy with what is being offered for my child?  If you are unable to reach an agreement with your child’s school/setting then you need to contact your child’s SEN Officer.  They will then ask the HCC Integrated Services for Learning team in your area to help you and the setting reach an agreement.  If that doesn’t work then a review of your child’s plan will take place.

Therapies – at the moment the therapists such as Speech and Language, Physio and Occupational Therapists working for Herts Community Trust (HCT) are still supporting other health services with their response to coronavirus and offering a very limited urgent service to children.  The health commissioners are meeting with HCT to find out how they plan to get back to providing children’s therapy.  We will update you as soon as we can on this.

Attendance at school – not all children (with or without an EHCP) will be able to return to education due to the effect of coronavirus such as shielding.  The government has made it clear that for this term there will be no action taken or fines issued over non-attendance at school.

What about children and young people on SEND Support – they don’t have an EHC plan?
Parent representatives from the NNPCF keep pressing the Department for Education about arrangements for this group of children and young people and will continue to do so until enough progress is made.
2.  HPCI Survey – THANK YOU! – 330 parents completed our recent survey on support and communication from schools and colleges during Covid 19.   This was a great result and it was completed by parents from all over the County and with children and young people in all sorts of education settings. Many thanks if you were one of those parents.  We are in the process of analyzing the results and we will share our first results with senior officers in HCC next week.


3.  Preparing for Adulthood web information from National Charity – Contact

Contact have developed new online information and help to guide parent carers in England through the process of preparing their child for life as an adult.  Their new  Preparing for Adult Life  pages have key information around the transition from child to adult support services for families with disabled children.  The topics covered are:
Making a plan, Making decisions, Benefits & Money, Wills & Trusts, Education, health and social care,
Getting a job, Independent Living and housing, Growing up – sex and relationships.  Take a look.
4.  HCC Transport charges to school/college for 16 to 18 years

We are aware that some parents have asked for and received a refund of their contribution to transport costs for the summer term where the young person has not been attending school or college.
If you would like to do this then we suggest that you email the Transport Dept on schooltransport@hertfordshire.gov.uk