Special Educational Needs and Disability Update 03.04.20 from Ronnie Hartley
I appreciate that during the Covid 19 outbreak where its clearly not business as usual, that the requests from the Local Authority SENDACT team for places for children with Education Health and Care Plans for September are particularly difficult and challenging. Also trying to keep the annual review process operational, when many pupils are not in school. Requests for new assessments continue to come in and the Local Authority are required to continue to respond to these. SENDACT are working hard to ensure that things are being dealt with in a timely manner whilst being mindful of the unprecedented situation we all find ourselves in.
The current position is that the Local Authority retains all its statutory duties as outlined in Section 42 of the Children and Families Act around Statutory Assessment, Annual Reviews, Finalising EHCPs and transitions. It is anticipated but not confirmed, that the Secretary of State will be be issuing a Section 17 notice which will modify the requirements of Section 42 in the next few weeks, this could:
• Modify the duty under S.42 to secure special educational provision, revising our duty to one of ‘reasonable endeavours’ rather than an absolute duty.
• Suspend the duty to undertake Annual Reviews.
• Modify other duties such as the duty to secure education otherwise than at school for children of compulsory school age.
If these changes are introduced, they can only be introduced for up to a month at a time, the Secretary of State can extend these duties if its reasonable and proportionate to do so for a further month.
However, for now we are being asked to proceed with our statutory duties as defined in Section 42 of the Children and Families Act so please bear with us.
The DfE issued revised vulnerable children guidance on the 01.04.20 please see attached link.
Education Health and Care Assessment (EHCA)
Existing EHCA where we have the advice the EHCPs will be issued within statutory timescales.
New EHCAs we need to look at how we can secure the advice whilst being mindful of social distancing, this also applies to health and social care. Educational Psychology are continuing to fulfil statutory responsibilities around EHC assessments, completing these
through telephone conversations with key adults who know the child/young person best and, where appropriate, the children and young people themselves. They will also gather information via indirect assessment tools and continue to be informed by previous work undertaken by the service and other professionals involved. Reports will make it clear that advice can be updated once children/young people have settled back into school.
There is still a requirement to carry these out and some schools have put in place systems to do this remotely via skype. There may be further advice from the DfE about paper-based reviews and then collating this information within revised timescales.
Parents and children Visiting
This is going to be really challenging over the coming weeks, but we must be mindful of social distancing, but creative ways of supporting families to see the school and for you to speak to families will need to be considered. Again, further advice to follow.
Thank you all for your continued hard work to support children and young people with SEND during these unprecedented circumstances.
Direction issued to the Chief Regulator of Ofqual
Please follow link to document issued:
A direction from Gavin Williamson MP, Secretary of State for Education, to Sally Collier, Chief Regulator of Ofqual, about calculating summer 2020 grades in lieu of exam results.
Domestic Abuse Update
Just a few things that I thought you might find useful as I am getting a lot of queries about continuity of service and how we can support staff with signposting etc. To try and help with these queries, please find:
• A 7 minute briefing presentation attached that I have updated given the current situation. Please feel free to circulate this to your staff/teams because as well as serving as a refresher for those already working with people who are experiencing domestic abuse, it might also help as an induction for staff who need to be redeployed into different roles
• The Council will be updating its intranet page for staff who could be victims of domestic abuse so it might be prudent for other agencies to do something similar, especially given that a lot of our workforce will be home working
• Yesterday, the Government released advice and guidance for those who are experiencing or feel at risk of domestic abuse during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-and-domestic-abuse/coronavirus-covid-19-support-for-victims-of-domestic-abuse
• A flyer with a reminder of Pennine Domestic Abuse Partnership’s services and contact details. At present, all services are operational although we will be need to give some thought to potential accommodation based issues moving forwards and we are monitoring staffing levels daily.
• We are also collating weekly monitoring from key agencies (benchmarked against the same period last year) to try and keep track of the figures and respond to any concerns
Please see Powerpoint on 7 Minute Briefing and Pennine Domestic Abuse Partnership (PDAP) guide.
Building compliance servicing and repairs
Building compliance servicing and repairs
Coronavirus has brought with it additional health and safety requirements for us all to think about, to minimise the spread of the virus and the risk of infection.
However, it is also important at this time that school buildings continue to be compliant in all the long-standing areas of health and safety such as fire safety, boiler and heating systems servicing, water quality and electrical testing. As these are essential activities to ensure the safe operation of your buildings, servicing and monitoring will still be carried out by Council employees, KNH Building Services or an appointed contractor who are all classed as key workers under the current guidance.
It is vital that you ensure continued access to the school building for these visits to continue. All personnel visiting site will discuss with you your current COVID-19 and H&S procedures and risk assessments to ensure the ongoing safety of children, staff and the visiting contractor.
Your own periodic testing and monitoring should continue as normal for systems including water quality, fire alarm, emergency lighting and portable appliance tests. It is important to consider that you may well be using your buildings differently and more flexibly than under normal circumstances. Water outlets such as taps and showers that are normally used regularly may temporarily not be used at all, so it is vital that water outlet flushing including the sprinkler system if you have one, continues across the whole site. Please continue to log your checks and testing in the site log books.
If the current use of your school buildings means that you have consolidated into one building or brought a number of federated schools onto one site, please let us know of these arrangements and when changes occur as soon as possible to ensure we are able to continue to plan effectively and maintain your building compliance.
At this time, we appreciate that staffing levels are likely to vary and that some of the regular checks, tests and maintenance require training and experience to complete. If you require advice or support in carrying out these tasks, please contact Schools Asset Management on Schools.AssetManagement@kirklees.gov.uk or by telephone on 01484 225248.
In addition, preparations will continue regarding the design of the annual condition summer works programme. Our design teams will need access to buildings to plan the layouts of new electrical and heating systems, our asbestos surveyors will need to assess the removal of asbestos and your Asset Management Officer will need to talk to you about the potential for decant whilst works occur. If you are part of the 2020/21 Schools Condition programme your co-operation in continuing to provide safe access for Council employers and our sub-contractors would be appreciated. We may also need access to undertake any urgent repairs as they arise or to address any existing faults that have been logged with the Council previously but we have been unable to attend to so far.
Thank you in advance for your ongoing support and co-operation.
Head of Service for Corporate Landlord and Capital