The Easter holidays have started but we know this will be a strange ‘holiday’ for many of you, juggling open provisions and thinking about what you are able to offer after the holidays.
There has been nothing ‘mission critical’ issued over the last few days in the way of guidance but we thought it would be useful to round up a few bits and pieces that may apply, or be of use to you.
On Friday the government guidance to local authorities on children’s social care was amended. It is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-childrens-social-care-services/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-local-authorities-on-childrens-social-care It reiterates that children with a social worker would generally be expected to be in school, which doesn’t quite chime with the guidance to schools about being safe to be open! For schools registered as children’s homes, if you need to close, you should notify Ofsted along with placing authorities. You should also have received an update from Ofsted Director of Social Care, Yvette Stanley, confirming that legislation has not been waived during the epidemic.
Public Health England has issued guidance on Personal Protective Equipment – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control/covid-19-personal-protective-equipment-ppe This is aimed largely at health workers, it is also relevant for social care and will give schools a feel for what appropriate equipment might be for our settings. We know that actually getting hold of it remains a different matter! We will push DfE again this week.
Talking of pushing DfE, they ought to have bruises by now for the amount of pushing we have done on Free School Meals. We know many of you are frustrated at the lack of information coming out and the especially confusing position for independent schools. We will keep pushing and asking and as soon as we can update you, we will. We are also pushing on a range of administrative issues such as centralised reporting versus having to do returns to all placing LAs. We are not alone in this but suspect officials are feeling quite overwhelmed with requests.
Guidance on awarding grades for this year’s GCSEs and A levels has been released over the past few days. As expected, it confirms that we will rely on teacher-based assessments but the guidance is not well nuanced for special schools. Please let us know any specific concerns you have and we will raise these. The guidance can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/how-gcses-as-a-levels-will-be-awarded-in-summer-2020?utm_source=2660bc3d-22c5-4b35-9d7f-0519c093f3b2&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate
The Challenging Behaviour foundation has issued guidance and resources to support parents who now have a young person at home who displays behaviours which challenge. These may be useful to share with parents where children and young people are not in schools: https://www.challengingbehaviour.org.uk/learning-disability-assets/3challengingbehavioursupportingyourlovedoneathome.pdf and https://www.challengingbehaviour.org.uk/learning-disability-assets/supportingchildrenandadultswithsevrelearningdisabilitesathomeduringthecoronaviruspandemic.pdf
The NASS team are all still fighting fit and working from home. We know this is a very stressful time and also very lonely for many leaders. If you do want to pick up the phone and chat to a friendly voice who knows what you are going through, we’d be very happy to hear from you.
Wishing you all wellness and calmness
Claire, Karen, Kate and Jenny