SEND Update – June 2020

I hope that you are all keeping safe and well and are coping with all the challenges that lockdown has given us. I am sure many of you are now back at school and living in your ‘bubbles’ and if you are not then you are continuing to support your pupils through home learning and regular catch-ups.

I have been amazed at the way schools have gone the extra mile to ensure that the children and young people of this country are kept safe, fed, supported and taught throughout this pandemic. Congratulations to all of you!

As I am sure you are aware there has been a plethora of documents spewing out of the DfE over the course of lockdown – many with contradicting messages, some with changes made because of a U-turn on policy decisions and many because policies have been reactive rather than pro-active and when considered and thought through found to not really work in a school setting.

There have been some documents that may not have been directly connected to COVID 19 which you may have missed so I have put this update together to ensure that you have all the relevant information you need as we come towards the end of the summer term.

Ofsted: coronavirus (COVID-19) rolling update

This Ofsted guidance and information relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) for schools, early years, children’s social care and further education and skills providers is updated on a regular basis.

The Engagement Model – 19th March 2020

The DfE finally published final guidance on the Engagement Model in March. This is a new form of assessment for pupils working below the standard of the national curriculum tests and not engaged in subject-specific study. It replaces P scales 1-4 and will become statutory from the 2020/21 academic year.

The engagement model has 5 areas of engagement:

  • exploration
  • realisation
  • anticipation
  • persistence
  • initiation

The areas allow teachers to assess pupils’ engagement in developing new skills, knowledge and concepts in the school’s curriculum by demonstrating how pupils are achieving specific outcomes. They represent what is necessary for pupils to fully engage in their learning and reach their full potential.

Some training has already taken place but more will be available in the Autumn Term.

 Extra mental health support for pupils and teachers – 7th June

A document released on a Sunday about mental health and wellbeing!!

This guidance is to let schools know of online resources and charity grants to help schools respond to the impact of coronavirus on mental health and wellbeing.

A new training module for teachers will also be published to support them in giving lessons on the Government’s new Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) curriculum. This is because the RSHE curriculum makes mental health and wellbeing a compulsory part of pupils’ education in primary and secondary school. It is envisaged that this training will help subject leads and teachers deliver the new curriculum effectively when it becomes compulsory from September, as well as improving their confidence in talking and teaching about mental wellbeing in class.

The DfE have also said: ‘we want to assure schools that while the new subjects will still become compulsory from September 2020, they will have flexibility over how they introduce these within the first year of compulsory teaching.’ This could allow schools to ensure time to go through the steps needed to deliver RSHE properly and begin teaching at least by the start of the summer term 2021.

It was updated on 10th June with information about Relationships Sex and Health Education training module with link.

Guidance for schools: coronavirus (COVID-19) – 17th June

This page has brought together all the documents so far published about what school leaders, teachers and school staff need to do during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. 37 documents are referenced here!

There is a similar collection (13 documents) for Early Years and Childcare

There is also a collection (8 documents) for local authorities.

Keeping Children Safe in Education – Published on 17th June

The revised Keeping Children Safe in Education was published on 17th June. This is for information only at the moment. It will come into force on 1st September 2020.

The main changes in Part one are:

  • guidance makes clear that both mental and physical health are relevant to safeguarding;
  • Paragraph 21 clarifies that safeguarding incidents can take place outside of school and between children.
  • Paragraph 28 is new and provides staff with information about child criminal exploitation and child sexual exploitation.
  • There is a new section on mental health. This outlines that only trained professionals should attempt to make a diagnosis of a mental health problem. It also links to a range of resources to help with mental health. (Paragraphs 34-38)
  • Paragraph 56 covers what staff should do if they have safeguarding concerns about another staff member who may pose a risk of harm to children. It is now clear that this applies to supply teachers also.

The main changes in Part two are:

  • Paragraph 70 now links to the NPCC guidance on when to call the police.
  • Paragraphs 74-78 update the arrangements for multiagency working. It explains how the LA; the clinical commissioning group; and the chief officer of police for an area should work together.
  • Paragraphs 84 -86 outline how GDPR should be understood in terms of safeguarding. In particular it outlines where information should, and should not, be shared. Fears about sharing information must not be allowed to stand in the way of the need to safeguard children. There is also a data protection toolkit.
  • Paragraph 94 now reflects the new RSHE curriculum from September 2020. There is flexibility about how this is implemented in the first year.
  • Paragraphs 101-102 make clear that staff should follow the guidance in Part four to manage allegations that might meet the harm threshold. This is a legal duty and failure to refer when the criteria are met is a criminal offence.
  • Paragraphs 109-112 outline the risks and support available for children with a social worker.
  • There is a new section on children requiring mental health support, to raise the profile of this issue and point to some resources.

There are no changes to Part three

The main changes in Part Four are:

  • There is an additional bullet point in terms of individuals who may pose harm in that they:
    • ‘have behaved or may have behaved in a way that indicates they may not be suitable to work with children’
  • There is also clearer guidance on what to do if supply teachers have allegations made against them. Not to simply cease using them but investigate fully.

There are no changes to Part five

Annex A has been updated to include more detail on: Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE), Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), County Lines, Domestic abuse: Makes clear domestic abuse can impact on children when they witness it, Honour-based abuse (not violence – it includes nonviolent abuse.), Preventing radicalisation and Up-skirting.

Reporting to parents at the end of key stages 1 and 2 – Updated 18th June

This guidance for schools on writing statutory end of year reports for parents has been updated to confirm regulations have been laid to remove the requirement to report on national curriculum assessments and attendance

 School reports on pupil performance: guide for headteachers – Updated 18th June

This guidance for school leaders has been updated as above plus explanation of the different requirements of annual and school leaver reports.

Extended powers SEND tribunal: national trial – Updated 18th June

This guidance for local authorities, health commissioners, parents and young people on a 2-year trial to extend powers of the SEND Tribunal has been updated to add detail on the extended trial date due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

The trial was due to end on 31 August 2020. However, given the understandable pressures local areas are under as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19), the Government believes it is not the right time to introduce any changes to this policy and therefore have decided to extend the trial until 31 August 2021.

Billion-pound Covid catch-up plan to tackle impact of lost teaching time – Press Release – 19th June

The announcement this morning from the Secretary of State for Education identified new measures to help primary and secondary pupils catch up. There is very little information about what this will look like apart from:

  • £650 million shared between primary and secondary schools, given to schools
  • £350 million is for a National Tutoring Programme to support the most disadvantaged pupils and help them accelerate their academic progress and prevent the gap between them and their more affluent peers widening.

Some resources you may have missed

Whole School SEND – Demonstrating Inclusion Toolkit – Every Leader is a Leader of SEND

Whole School SEND – Effective SENCO Deployment

Whole School SEND – Condition-specific videos

nasen Mini-Guide Understanding Inclusion

TES SEN Show Webinars – SEN Show Series: Preparing for the ‘new normal’

The SENDcast – A series of SEND Podcasts –

Recovery Curriculum – A construct for a post-pandemic curriculum –


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