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SEN Policy Addendum - April 2020

SEND Information Report COVID 19 addendum

 

Context 

From 20th March 2020, parents were asked to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and for schools to continue to provide care for a limited number of children: those who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the COVID-19 response, who absolutely need to attend and who cannot be safely cared for at home. ‘Vulnerable children’ includes those supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs (including those on child in need and child protection plans), ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.

This addendum of the Lightwater Village School SEND Information Report contains details of our individual arrangements and changes to our usual mode of working in the following areas:

  • Vulnerable children and eligibility     
  • Safeguarding, attendance and monitoring of wellbeing       
  • Arrangements for consulting parents of, and young people with, SEND    
  • Arrangements for assessing and reviewing children’s progress
  • Arrangements for supporting children in moving between phases of education     
  • Transition periods within school       
  • The approach to teaching children with SEND        
  • Support for emotional and social development
  • Working alongside other professionals

Please note: This annex should be read in tandem with the Lightwater Village School COVID-19 Safeguarding Policy Annex.

 

PURPOSE

This is an Annex to the SEND Information Report, setting out the arrangements in place to support our children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities during the COVID-19 related partial school closure starting from 20th March 2020.

Date Written

28/4/2020

Written By

Miss Nicola Cotter – SENCo Deputy Head teacher

Next Review

As required

Summary of changes

New addendum published for COVID-19 crisis

 

Vulnerable children

Vulnerable children include those children and young people up to the age of 25 with education, health and care (EHC) plans.

Those with an EHC plan will be risk assessed in consultation with the Local Authority and parents, to decide whether they need to continue to be offered a school place in order to meet their needs, or whether they can safely have their needs met at home. This could include, if necessary, carers, therapists or clinicians visiting the home to provide any essential services. Many children and young people with EHC plans can safely remain at home.

These risk assessments will consider a number of different risks to each individual, including:

  • the potential health risks to the individual from COVID-19, bearing in mind any underlying health conditions. This will be on an individual basis and with advice from an appropriate health professional where required
  • the risk to the individual if some or all elements of their EHC plan cannot be delivered at all, and the risk if they cannot be delivered in the normal manner or in the usual setting
  • the ability of the individual’s parents or home to ensure their health and care needs can be met safely
  • the potential impact to the individual’s wellbeing of changes to routine or the way in which provision is delivered
  • the availability of appropriately trained staff (school will liaise with the local authority if a place is needed for an eligible child, but the school is unable to provide the specialist staffing for it)

The Coronavirus Act 2020 allows the Secretary of State, where appropriate, to temporarily lift the statutory duty on local authorities to maintain the precise provision in EHC plans, with local authorities needing instead to apply ‘reasonable endeavours’ to support these children and their families. 

 

Safeguarding, attendance and monitoring of wellbeing

Lightwater Village school continues in its commitment to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of its children during this period of general school closure.

Where children with EHC plans take up an eligible place in school, Lightwater Village School will continue to ensure a safe space for these children to attend and flourish. The Headteacher/ Deputy Head will work alongside the SENCo to ensure that appropriate staff, facilities and provision are available to secure a safe, appropriate and positive placement for those children. The support appropriate to each child in this circumstance will be recorded and reviewed on an individual basis. Any updates to a child’s situation will be updated on their risk assessments which are then shared with the Local Authority and the Senior Management Team.

Lightwater Village School will refer to the Government guidance for education and childcare settings on how to implement social distancing and continue to follow the advice from Public Health England on handwashing and other measures to limit the risk of spread of COVID19.

Local authorities and education settings do not need to complete their usual day to day attendance processes to follow up on non-attendance. Having worked with parents and other professionals to decide whether children with EHC plans will be attending school, Lightwater Village School will then follow up on any pupil that they were expecting to attend, who does not attend for two consecutive days.

Where children with EHC plans do not take up a place in school and are cared for at home, an individual risk assessment will be completed and a communication plan will be put in place for the child. This will be recorded on risk assessments for each pupil which are shared with the Senior Leadership Team and the Local Authority.

The communication plans can include; remote contact, phone contact, virtual visits. Other individualised contact methods should be considered and recorded inline with Government recommendations.

Lightwater Village School, the DSL and SENCo will work closely with all stakeholders to maximise the effectiveness of any communication plan for children with EHC plans. This plan must be reviewed weekly and where concerns arise, the Head Teacher, DSL and SENCo will consider any referrals as appropriate.

For children with SEND, but without an EHC plan, who have not been offered a place in school, contact details for key staff will always be available on the school website. This will ensure that parents of children with SEND will always have a way of contacting and communicating with school staff where needed.

 

Arrangements for consulting parents of, and children with, SEND

Working in partnership with children with SEND and their parents continues to be central to Lightwater Village School’s policies and practice.

The views of parents and children will be considered in determining whether children with EHC plans take up an eligible place in school, as detailed in Section 2 of this addendum.

For children with EHC plans who are being cared for at home, their individual risk assessments will include communication plans to ensure that regular contact is maintained with key school staff. These communications may include: individual expectations for home learning, discussions around appropriate learning activities, adaptations to learning resources/activities and discussions of strategies for supporting children at home.

For children with SEND, but without an EHC plan, signposts will be included within year group home learning to support them in accessing appropriate learning activities. School staff will also be mindful of the availability of support and resources when setting accessible home learning for children with SEND.

The school website will include contact details so that, should parents of children with SEND need to contact a member of school staff for additional support or guidance for home learning, they can do so.

Where statutory processes relating to SEND are in action, the school will continue to maintain communication with parents of, and children with, SEND so that their views are actively sought, considered and promoted.

 

Arrangements for assessing and reviewing children’s progress

Lightwater Village School recognises that assessments and reviews of children’s progress will continue to be necessary for some purposes during this period of school closure, mainly for the purpose of statutory assessment and review for new or existing EHC plans and for other assessments being completed by external professionals, for example community paediatricians.

Where this is needed, key school staff will maintain communication with parents and relevant professionals to share, with necessary consents, the most current assessment information and professional observations that the school holds.

Where children’s EHC plans are due for review within the period of school closure, the school will discuss arrangements with parents, children, the Local Authority and professionals involved in the plan to decide whether arrangements for a ‘remote review’ should be made, or whether reviews should be postponed until it is possible to meet with all parties involved in the plan. The SENCo will make the necessary arrangements following this decision.

 

Arrangements for supporting children in moving between phases of education

For children due to move between phases of education at the end of this academic year, Lightwater Village School will continue to make contact with the new settings to share necessary information to make children’s transitions as smooth as possible. The SENCo will make contact with SENCos in the new settings to share information on SEND needs. Where children with SEND would benefit from additional transition visits, every effort will be made to facilitate these where possible within DfE, PHE and government guidance.

Lightwater Village School recognises that transition may be a particular concern for parents of children of SEND, and communication remains open for parents to contact key school staff to discuss this.

Lightwater Village School’s approach to supporting children with transition will continue to be reviewed in line with all available DfE and government guidance on school closure.

 

Transitions within school

For children transferring between classes the SENCo will continue to inform the new class teacher of the pupil's needs using electronic folders and meetings where appropriate. Additional transition work will be used where necessary to relieve any worries and doubt. New class social stories can be sent home to support with the changes where possible.

Any consultations that the school receives during this time will be responded to within the designated timescales unless illness prevents this.

 

The approach to teaching children with SEND

Lightwater Village School recognises that children with SEND need access to home learning resources and activities which take account of their strengths and needs.

For children with SEND, but without an EHC plan, signposts will be included within year group home learning to support them in accessing appropriate learning activities. School staff will also be mindful of the availability of support and resources when setting accessible home learning for children with SEND.

Communication plans will be in place for any children with EHC plans being cared for at home to ensure that regular contact is maintained for discussion and setting of individual, appropriate learning activities, strategies and resources. In addition, all families were hand delivered homework packs with several weeks’ worth of work along with resources to support the change of timetable and routine, sensory activities and key websites personalised to the needs of each child.

The school website will include contact details so that, should parents of children with SEND need to contact a member of school staff for additional support or guidance for home learning, they can do so.

 

Support for social and emotional development

Lightwater Village School understands that children’s social and emotional development is particularly at risk within the current national climate and period of school closure.

Individual risk assessments for children with EHC plans will consider children’s social and emotional development and will ensure that communication plans are in place to enable at least fortnightly review. Regular contact between school staff and parents/children will be central to identifying when additional support may be needed. Where concerns are raised or are apparent within these communications, the child’s risk assessment will be reviewed by key school staff and appropriate action and onward referrals considered.

For all parents, key contact details are available on the school’s website so that they are always able to reach school staff for support if needed.

Lightwater Village School will signpost parents to other professionals who may be able to support them and their children at this time, particularly the Educational Psychology Service. The school will also share parent and child-friendly leaflets with links to mental health and wellbeing support strategies and agencies.

 

Working alongside other professionals

Lightwater Village School will continue to maintain contact with other professionals during this period of school closure. This will particularly include liaison with the Therapists and the Educational Psychology Service within the Local Authority. This service will be sharing resources which may be of use to parents and professionals during this time, and we will be adding links to these to our school website.

The SENCo holds contact details for external professionals already working with children with SEND including health and social care staff and will maintain both planned contacts and referrals of arising need. Contact details for the SENCo and key school staff are available via the school website should professionals need to make contact.

Lightwater Village School will signpost parents to appropriate external professionals as needed and will continue to fulfil authorised requests for information for assessment or review purposes.

 

Review

This addendum to the information report will be reviewed in light of new government guidance as and when it is published.