There have been quite a few changes over the past few weeks in terms of who can go to school and when. Here is a current guide on those changes (as of 19th June 2020)
Education and childcare settings have already been open to priority groups (vulnerable children and children of critical workers).
Whilst the definitions of those who are defined as vulnerable children has stayed the same within the ‘Supporting vulnerable children and young people during the coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance’, the attendance criteria within it has now been updated.
From the 1st June, all eligible children (children of critical workers and those deemed as vulnerable) are encouraged to attend settings, (where there are no shielding concerns for the child or their household) even if parents are able to keep their children at home. They will continue to be offered a place, regardless of the year group they are in.
Vulnerable children of all year groups continue to be expected and encouraged to attend educational provision– where it is appropriate for them to do so.
Vulnerable children and young people for the purposes of continued attendance during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak are those across all year groups who:
are assessed 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 an education, health and care (EHC) plan and it is determined, following risk assessment, that their needs can be as safely or more safely met in the educational environment
have been assessed as otherwise vulnerable by educational providers or local authorities (including children’s social care services), and who could therefore benefit from continued attendance. This might include children and young people on the edge of receiving support from children’s social care services, adopted children, those at risk of becoming NEET (‘not in employment, education or training’), those living in temporary accommodation, those who are young carers and others at the provider and local authority’s discretion. Children of critical (key) workers –
The definition of critical workers remains unchanged and continues to include those who work in:
health and social care; education and childcare, key public services; local and national government; food and other necessary goods; public safety and national security; utilities, communication and financial services.
From 1 st June
Alongside priority groups , Primary schools to welcome back children in:
nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6. Nurseries and other early years providers, including childminders, to begin welcoming back all children.
In childcare settings, providers can welcome back all children. Where the physical layout of a setting does not allow small groups of children to be kept at a safe distance apart, practitioners will be required to exercise judgement in ensuring the highest standards of safety are maintained. In some cases, it may be necessary for providers to introduce a temporary cap on numbers to ensure that safety is prioritised.
From 1 June, childminders can look after children of all ages, in line with usual limits on the number of children they can care for.
From 15 th June onwards
Secondary schools, sixth form and further education colleges are to offer some face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of:
(alongside the full-time provision already being offered for priority groups)
year 10, year 12, and 16 to 19 students who are due to take key exams next year
Alternative provision settings should mirror the approach being taken for mainstream schools and also offer some face-to-face support for years 10 and 11 students (as they have no year 12).
From the 1st June, any setting that cannot achieve these increases above at any point because:
have flexibility but must first focus on continuing to provide places for priority groups (vulnerable children and the children of critical workers).
there are not enough classrooms or spaces available in the setting and / or
they do not have enough available teachers or staff to supervise the groups
Special schools, special post-16 institutions and hospital schools will work towards a phased return of more children and young people without a focus on specific year groups.
Will ALL Primary school children return to school before the summer holidays?
In a nutshell – no
PM Statement at the Coronavirus Press Conference of 10 – the Prime Minister has now said that not all primary school children will be able to return to school before the summer holidays as hoped. This is because the infection rate is not low enough and schools would be unable to alter their social distancing plans to make it safe for all to return at this time. It is hoped that schools will be able to bring back as many pupils as they can within those smaller class sizes.
It will be down to the individual school, working with the LA to determine through risk assessments as to how many children they can safely have back before the summer holidays begin.
Will ALL children return in September?
For now the answer is yes.
The PM in his statement at the same press conference above stated that they fully intend to bring all children back to school in September, provided the progress in reducing the infection rate continues. This is consistent with the approach that has been taken by many other countries in Europe.
However, there is uncertainty about how this will happen if such measures as the 2m rule is still in place.
What if my child has an EHCP and has not been allowed to go to school so far?
Where a child or young person has an Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP) (and is therefore classed as vulnerable under the Corona virus Act), risk assessments should be done by the Local Authority in consultation with educational settings and parent carers. Attendance for those with EHCPs is now expected, where it is determined following risk assessment, that their needs can be safely or more safely met in the educational environment. – Supporting Vulnerable Children guidance May 15
th. This has changed from the guidance at the beginning of lockdown.
Settings and LAs should keep risk assessments up to date to reflect any change in circumstances taking into account that some parents and carers may not be able to sustain the levels of care and support that their children need for a long period of time. Any decisions should still be made in consultation with parent carers, schools and the LA and those decisions should be formally recorded as part of the Risk Assessment.
My child has an EHCP – Will my child have the same provision as before?
Until 30th June (although this may be extended), local authorities’ duty to secure provision under section 42 has been changed temporarily. This means that local authorities and health commissioning bodies must consider for each child and young person with an EHC Plan what they can reasonably provide.
For some the provision specified in their EHC plan can continue, for others (because of the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on local authorities or health commisisoning bodies) the provision may need temporarily to be different to that which is set out in their EHC Plan (section F & G). Any changes to provision should be written down (recorded).
What if my child or young person is clinically vulnerable / extremely vulnerable?
For the vast majority of children and young people, coronavirus (COVID-19) is a mild illness. Children and young people (0 to 18 years of age) who have been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable due to pre-existing medical conditions have been advised to shield. We do not expect these children to be attending school or college, and they should continue to be supported at home as much as possible.
Clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable) people are those considered to be at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19). A small minority of children will fall into this category, and parents should follow medical advice if their child is in this category.
What if a child, young person or staff member lives in a household with someone who is clinically vulnerable / extremely vulnerable?
As set out in the COVID-19: guidance on shielding and protecting people for those defined on medical grounds as clinically extremely vulnerable, it is advised they only attend an education or childcare setting if stringent social distancing can be adhered to and, in the case of children, they are able to understand and follow those instructions.
This may not be possible for very young children and older children without the capacity to adhere to the instructions on social distancing.
If stringent social distancing cannot be adhered to, those individuals are not expected to attend. They should instead be supported to learn or work at home.
If a child, young person or a member of staff lives with someone who is clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable), including those who are pregnant, they can attend their education or childcare setting.
If you have any concerns and would like to discuss these with one of our advisers, please contact SENDIAS on 0330 222 8555 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please let us know the area of West Sussex you live in when you make contact.
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