NEWSFLASH FROM THE DFE ( Department for Education) Special Educational Needs and Disability Division – February 2021
It has been a busy week, and there is a lot to take in! We thought it would be helpful to draw together the various announcements and publications into one bumper newsflash for ease of reference:
Also on Monday:
- we published an Evidence summary: COVID-19 – children, young people and education settings;
- the Secretary of State wrote to education leaders (see first attachment), setting out in more detail the plans to fully re-open schools. He also thanked leaders for their continued work and support during the latest lockdown. Leaders of special, special post-16 providers, and alternative provision schools were thanked in particular, for remaining fully open to children and young people with SEND.
- On Tuesday 23rd Feb, the Secretary of State wrote to parents, carers and guardians to thank them for their sacrifices since the start of the pandemic, explain why it is so important pupils return, the safety measures that will make it possible and how rapid testing is key to suppressing the virus.
- On Wednesday 24th Feb, we announced a New education recovery package for children and young people. Attached below is a briefing note explaining what this means for children and young people with SEND.
- On Thursday 25th Feb, the Secretary of State announced the approach for teacher assessed grades for this year’s GCSE, A level and vocational and technical qualifications. He has also written to Ofqual’s Chief Regulator, explaining how these qualifications should be awarded in 2021.
- Also on Thursday 26th Feb, we published the outcomes from January’s two week consultation on how best to provide alternative arrangements to this year’s exams. These publications outline the decisions taken to support student and teachers:
Testing in specialist settings
We have worked hard to give specialist settings additional flexibility on testing as attendance increases. For specialist settings this means:
- On site testing can continue in larger numbers in specialist settings if that is the most appropriate way of testing being accessed. We have built into funding that, should they choose to, SEND settings can maintain a full scale on-site ATS at their school.
- If students are unable to test on site, but could be tested at home by a suitably competent adult, settings can provide home testing kits to them from the outset (without the pupil being tested at an ATS first), where this is appropriate for the pupil/student.
- We are continuing to work proactively on other approaches to testing for children and young people who are unable to tolerate a throat or nasal swab.
A step-by-step guide to testing and frequently asked questions are available on the schools google drive. We will be publishing updated guidance on testing in specialist settings in the next week, the guidance will be published at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings/mass-asymptomatic-testing-in-specialist-settings
Special Educational Needs and Disability Division
Click here to read the Feb 2021 SEND stakeholder catch_up briefing Feb 2021
Click here to read the letter to schools leaders from the secretary of states Feb 21