COVID-19 Update 7th April

New guidance has been released on exceptional costs for schools during the pandemic: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools/school-funding-exceptional-costs-associated-with-coronavirus-covid-19-for-the-period-march-to-july-2020 Please note – whilst NMSS, academies and free schools are explicitly mentioned as eligible, independent schools are not and we have already taken this to DfE to push for their inclusion. This guidance sets out how the funding is intended to work but the process for claiming will not start until June, when detail of how to claim will be published. We have a few weeks to try to make sure we get independent schools on board!

The guidance on implementing social distancing in education and childcare settings has had an update: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-social-distancing-in-education-and-childcare-settings?utm_source=539206a3-9c7c-4d60-8982-d2b72fd191a8&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate A reminder that the guidance gives the message that some children with an EHCP can safely be accommodated at home – useful for fending off demands that all children with EHCPs should be in school! There’s an updated Q and A acknowledging that most of this guidance doesn’t work for special schools but signalling that the long-awaited further guidance is on its way – whoo-hoo!

Free School Meals Guidance has been updated to reflect that the government will pay for vouchers over the Easter holidays: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools this of course raises the issues of which schools can and cannot access the Edenred National Voucher Scheme. Kate has her boxing gloves on again today and has stepped into the ring to push DfE for a response!

The Department has been using stakeholders to pull together a list of available online learning resources for schools to use and share with parents: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-online-education-resources-for-home-education There is a section on SEND where resources have been suggested by national organisations and special school leaders

Finally, if you want a quick summary of what support is being made available, here’s a link to Gavin Williamson’s press release: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/extra-support-for-schools-and-parents-to-help-cope-with-coronavirus?utm_source=772d7caf-68ce-4354-bff9-684ef40dea1b&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

We may be back again today if this briefing triggers more guidance!

All the best from Team NASS

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