Schools, colleges, other training providers and local authorities will need to consider the needs of all children and young people with an EHC plan, alongside the views of their parents, and make a risk assessment for each child or young person.
They will need to consider a number of different risks to each individual, including:
- the potential health risks to the individual from COVID-19, bearing in mind any underlying health condition. This must be on an individual basis with advice from an appropriate health professional where required
- the risk to the individual if some or all elements of their EHC plan cannot be delivered at all, and the risk if they cannot be delivered in the normal manner or in the usual setting
- the ability of the individual’s parents or home to ensure their health and care needs can be met safely
the potential impact to the individual’s well-being of changes to routine or the way in which provision is delivered
We expect most children will fall into the following categories:
- Children and young people who would be at significant risk if their education, health and care provision and placement did not continue, namely those who could not safely be supported at home. This may include those with profound and multiple learning difficulties, and those receiving significant levels of personal care support. Local authorities will need to work with the individual’s educational setting – especially residential special schools and colleges – as well as local health partners, to ensure they are able to remain open wherever possible. This may mean deploying staff from other schools, to keep staffing ratios safe.
- Children and young people whose needs can be met at home, namely those who are not receiving personal care from their educational setting, or whose limited need for personal care can be met in their family home.
As part of the government’s emergency powers, the government will modify the statutory duties on local authorities to maintain the precise provision in EHC plans and will expect educational settings and local authorities to use their reasonable endeavours to support these children and their families.
Where a local authority is unable to put in place stated provision, they will need to use their reasonable endeavors to do this, but won’t be penalised for failing to meet the existing duty in the 2014 Act.
Click here to read the full government guidance