COVID-19 CYPF support

Open letter from Vicky Ford

The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, Vicky Ford, has written an open letter to children and young people with special educational needs, their families and people who work to support them. The letter provides advice and guidance on several topics including risk assessments, face coverings, specialist and visiting practitioners, mental health and well-being, as well as linking to some support available.

Read the letter From Minister Ford here

Minister Vicky Ford has send an new open letter to parents, carers and professional about the restrictions during the current lockdown and where to get support and help with food and activities, specialist equipment and respite care.

Minister Ford open letter to the SEND

Guidance for schools and professionals on the needs of vision impaired children returning to school

TPT, together with RNIB, Guide Dogs, VIEW, Sense, Habilitation VI UK and The National Sensory Impairment Partnership, has drafted guidance for schools and professionals on the needs of vision impaired children returning to school. This includes peripatetic support, specialist equipment, remote learning and face masks.

Read the joint letter here

Returning to school in September – what this means for children and young people with SEND

Guidance is for parents or carers with children and young people with SEND returning to school.

The government has produced a support package for families who are struggling to access the internet as part of home schooling.

We have created a guide with useful links for support and other information for parents, carers and families of vision impaired children during the COVID-19 pandemic. Support for families of VI children during COVID-19-19 (DOCX, 48 KB)

The Government has also produced tips to help parents support children with home education.

Transition guide

Read our short guide on how to support your vision impaired child with transition from primary to secondary school on the Children, young people and families advice and resources page

There have been changes to SEND law and Education and Health Care plans during the pandemic. This brief guide has some links on how you can find further information around these changes. Guidance and FAQ’s from Gov.UK 

During our recent survey of how children have been impacted by the closure of schools following the pandemic, we have heard from parents who have concerns about their child’s learning during the ‘lockdown’ period and how their mental health has been impacted.  Some parents are choosing not to send their child back to school. If this is the case, your child should still have access to home learning provided by the school.

‘Vulnerable’ children, including those with EHCPs (Education, Health and Care Plan) can return to school as of 1/06/20. There are concerns about the safety of children following the wider re-opening of educational establishments.  The expectation to send children back to school is subject to the completion or updating of a risk assessment. Risk Assessment Guidance.

Amendment to the Children and Families Act

At the end of May a modifications notice extension was made to EHCPs. This meant vulnerable children did not have the legal protection provided by their EHCP within school. The term ”reasonable endeavours” is being used instead of the child’s EHCP.

With other disability charities, TPT called on the Secretary of State not to further extend the amendments to Section 42 of the Children and Families Act 2014 under the Coronavirus Act 2020. The weakening of rights under Section 42 has led to greater regional variation in levels of education, health and social care support and many families have gone months without any of the vital support their children rely on day to day.

We are pleased to report today, 20 August, the government announced it will not extend the amendments to Section 42  after 25 September. This means vulnerable children will again have the legal protection provided by their EHCP within schools.  We will continue to monitor developments in respect of re-application of this during any future local or national lockdowns.  For further information on this please visit EHCP changes.

Education Select Committee Inquiry

The Education Select Committee is conducting an inquiry into the impact of COVID-19 on education and children’s services. TPT, in partnership with other sight loss organisations, conducted surveys of both parents and carers, and sight loss sector professionals to feed into this inquiry. This will help committee MPs understand what effect COVID-19 has had on the lives of children and young people with vision impairment and their families, and how they can plan for the future.

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