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What Coronoavirus (COVID-19) means for your child with Special Educational Needs
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has officially announced that schools across the United Kingdom are to close indefinitely in an effort to curb the increasing spread of coronavirus. The decision came hours after Wales announced their own blanket school closures.
Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, announced in the House of Commons that schools would close, except for children of keyworkers, such as NHS staff, and vulnerable children. Vulnerable children will include those who have a social worker and those with an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
Whilst little else is known at this time, this is promising news for children with Special Educational Needs and Education Health and Care Plans. The disruption and closure of schools would have a devastating impact on children with Special Educational Needs if they were forced to stay home, possibly until September 2020, both academically and emotionally.
Social workers would also be classed as key workers, increasing the number of children who could potentially be looked after in schools into hundreds of thousands. Local Authorities in England have already begun contacting parents, asking them to define themselves as a key worker. Those who are, will able to send their children into school for supervised care from Monday 23rd March. Whilst it is unknown if families with children with EHCPs will be contacted, it is presumed that children with ECHPs will also be attending school on Monday 23rd March with supervised care.
What can we do?
As specialist education solicitors, we can ensure that your child with Special Educational Needs will continue to remain in school and receive the support they require.
This may impact families who are in the process of applying for an Education Health and Care Plan; we can support families in ensuring that Local Authorities comply with the Statutory deadlines relating to issuing EHCP’s.
Our specialist education solicitors can advise on how to best support your child during these uncertain times and advise on the merits of your case along with any additional documentation that may support your appeal.
Specialist Educational solicitors
Education law can be complex; particularly as certain Local Authorities adopt their own policies that may conflict with statutory guidance. It is advisable to contact a specialist educational solicitor for advice as soon as possible to interpret some of the legal jargon associated with education law.
Our specialist education law solicitors are passionate and experienced in assisting families through this process and these uncertain times. It is imperative that children with EHCP and Special Educational Needs continue to have access to education, and it is important to instruct an experienced professional to support and assist you in obtaining the best possible outcome.
For further advice, please contact us on 0333 202 7175