Shropshire Council

Guidance for schools - SEND considerations for reopening

11 July 2020 Last updated at 10:06


Additional guidance for supporting children and young people with SEND.  A summary of key points for the consideration of School Leaders and SENCo’s taken from the DfE guidance issued on 2nd July 2020.

A copy of the guidance can be accessed through the following link;

For Children with SEN…

What does the guidance say about…?

The DfE guidance states…

Co-production and communication

“Whether individual risk assessments are used to help plan for the autumn term or not, education settings should, in the spirit of coproduction, contact parents and involve them in planning for their child’s return to their setting from September. They should also contact and involve young people over 16 who have EHC plans. That might include visits to the setting, social stories, and other approaches that specialist settings normally use to enable a child or young person with SEND, who has spent some time out of education, to return to full provision.”

Changes to legislation


“Since May, as a result of the pandemic, it has been necessary to modify Section 42 of the Children and Families Act 2014 so that local authorities and health commissioners must use their ‘reasonable endeavours’ to secure or arrange the specified special educational/ health care provision in EHC plans. We are committed to removing these flexibilities as soon as possible so that children and young people can receive the support they need to return to school. As such, unless the evidence changes, we will not be issuing further national notices to modify the EHC duties, but will consider whether any such flexibilities may be required locally to respond to outbreaks.”

The use of reasonable endeavours will cease at the end of July. From September, children and young people should expect to receive the provision as identified within their EHCP.

Accessing specialist support

Specialists, therapists, clinicians and other support staff for pupils with SEND should provide interventions as usual. Supply teachers, peripatetic teachers or other temporary staff can move between settings. They should ensure they minimise contact and maintain as much distance as possible from other staff.

A record should be kept of all visitors.”

Dual placement; e.g. access to TMBSS

“Where a child or young person routinely attends more than one setting on a part time basis, for example because they are dual registered at a mainstream school and a special setting, the settings should work through the system of controls collaboratively, enabling them to address any risks identified and allowing them to jointly deliver a broad and balanced curriculum for the child or young person. Pupils should be able to continue attending both settings. While some adjustment to arrangements may be required, pupils in this situation should not be isolated as a solution to the risk of greater contact.”

Use of PPE in settings

“The majority of staff in education settings will not require PPE beyond what they would normally need for their work. PPE is only needed in a very small number of cases, including:

  • where an individual child or young person becomes ill with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms while at schools, and only then if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained
  • where a child or young person already has routine intimate care needs that involves the use of PPE, in which case the same PPE should continue to be used

When working with children and young people who cough, spit or vomit but do not have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, only any PPE that would be routinely worn, should be worn.”

Pupils who are unable to attend; e.g. shielding

“We now know much more about coronavirus (COVID-19) and so in future, there will be far fewer children and young people advised to shield whenever community transmission rates are high. Therefore, the majority of pupils and students will be able to return to school.”

“Where a pupil is unable to attend their setting because they are complying with clinical or public health advice, we expect settings to be able to immediately offer them access to remote education. Settings should monitor engagement with this activity.”

Supporting pupils and parents who may be highly anxious

“If parents of pupils with significant risk factors are concerned, we recommend settings discuss their concerns and provide reassurance of the measures they are putting in place to reduce the risk in school. Settings should be clear with parents that pupils of compulsory school age must be in school unless a statutory reason applies.”

“We recognise that some children and young people with EHC plans will need preparation for their return to full provision. This might include, for instance, visits to the setting, social stories, and any other approaches that settings and local authorities would normally use to enable a child or young person with SEND who has spent some time out of education, to return to full time attendance.”

Extending provision set out in an EHCP

“We do not anticipate that children and young people will need to repeat a year of educational provision as a consequence of the coronavirus outbreak. This also applies to those with EHC Plans. Similarly, we do not anticipate that young people will need to remain in education any longer than originally set out in their EHC Plan.

However, in a small number of individual cases it may be appropriate for a child or young person to extend their current educational provision or have their EHC plan extended. In most cases this would consist of an individualised programme for a term or half term.

In all circumstances, this would need to be decided by the local authority, following a review of the child or young person’s needs and EHC plan.”

Support, training and advice

“The Whole School SEND consortium will be delivering some training and ‘how-tos’ for mainstream school teachers (including free insets and webinars) on supporting pupils with SEND to return to their mainstream school after the long absence, and on transition to other settings. Details of future training sessions are held on the events page of the SEND Gateway. You can opt to join Whole School SEND’s Community of Practice when you sign up for an event to receive notifications about future training and resources as they are published”

Oak National Academy specialist content for pupils with SEND. This covers communication and language, numeracy, creative arts, independent living, occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech and language therapy. Their provision for the next academic year will include an expanded range of content for the specialist sector. In addition to this, we are helping parents to support learning at home, including by publishing a list of online learning resources for children with SEND.”

Behaviour Expectations

“Settings should consider updating their behaviour policies with any new rules or policies, and consider how to communicate rules or policies clearly and consistently to staff, pupils and parents, setting clear, reasonable and proportionate expectations of pupil behaviour.”

“All education settings have a statutory duty under equalities legislation to make reasonable adjustments for disabled children. Many children and young people will have found lockdown exceptionally difficult socially and emotionally. Settings should consider any challenging behaviours or social or emotional challenges arising as a response to the lockdown and offer additional support and phased returns where needed.”

“Some children and young people with SEND (whether with EHC plans or on SEN support) will need specific help and preparation for the changes to routine that these measures will involve, so staff should plan to meet these needs, for example using social stories”

It is recommended that school leaders read the whole section on ‘Behaviour Expectations’.