SEND Update – What have you missed during lockdown?

As all schools plan to fully reopen from the 8th March I thought it would be a good time to look back over lockdown and share with you some of the key SEND information, guidance and documents that have been published during this time.

I would firstly like to say a huge thank you to everyone for your hard work and commitment during these very difficult times. Trying to juggle in-school and remote teaching along with supporting your own families has been a massive ask and everyone needs to be applauded for the fantastic job you have done.

Half-day Virtual Training – Supporting Mental Health and Wellbeing Post Lockdown

Friday 19th March – 9.30 – 12.30

During this half-day session Lorraine will cover two key aspects of supporting mental health and wellbeing in schools.

In the first session she will look at the importance of a school having a coordinated approach to supporting both students and staff mental health and wellbeing. Post lockdown this will be a really key aspect for all schools.

In the second session, Lorraine will look at the Department of Education’s Statutory Guidance for delivering the Relationships, Sex and Relationships and Health Curriculum which was introduced in September 2020 and all schools must be adopting this by the summer term 2021. She will highlight the key aspects of the physical and mental wellbeing aspects of this new curriculum area.

For further information and booking form visit:

Behaviour hubs – DfE – 2nd March

This guidance outlines the Behaviour Hubs programme which will enable schools with exemplary behaviour to work with other schools to improve their behaviour culture.

If your school would like to be considered for the first cohort of partner schools you can still apply for the behaviour hubs programme. The closing date is 22 March 2021.

School attendance: guidance for schools – DfE – 2nd March

This information covers registers and attendance codes (including circumstances due to coronavirus (COVID-19)), school hours and term dates, and improving school attendance. A new set of sub-codes has been added.

Attendance will be mandatory from 8 March 2021 and the usual rules on attendance will apply. It is really important that schools work with parent carers to ensure all pupils are back in school especially those with SEND.


Children in primary schools do not need to wear face coverings but most pupils in secondary schools do – DfE Blog Post – 2nd March

When schools and colleges open to all pupils on 8th March it will be necessary for most secondary school age pupils to wear face coverings but not primary age pupils.

The DfE guidance is clear that children in primary school do not need to wear a face covering. Face coverings are only necessary for pupils and staff in settings where there are pupils in year 7 and above.

The DfE acknowledges that some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings. This applies to individuals who:

  • cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical impairment or disability, illness or mental health difficulties
  • speak to or provide help to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate.

Throughout lockdown the DfE have been updating their general guidance for schools. These are the latest versions:

Guidance for schools: coronavirus (COVID-19) –

Special schools and other specialist settings: coronavirus (COVID-19) –

Coronavirus (COVID-19) contingency framework for education and childcare settings –

Actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak –

Safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care –

What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during COVID-19 –

Coronavirus (COVID-19): keeping children safe online –

New education recovery package for children and young people – DfE Press Release – 25th February

This press release outlines the new £700 million plan laid out to help young people in England catch up on lost learning due to the pandemic.

  • Recovery Premium
  • Expansion of the National Tutoring Programme
  • Early language programmes for pre-school and reception children
  • Secondary schools delivery of face-to-face summer schools
  • Additional online resources from Oak National Academy

Mass testing for secondary pupils as all schools and colleges fully reopen from 8 March – DfE – Press Release – 22nd February

This press release describes how all schools and colleges will reopen to all pupils from 8 March with asymptomatic COVID-19 testing in place.

What maintained schools must publish online – DfE – 12th February

What academies, free schools and colleges should publish online – DfE – 12th February

Both these sets of guidance now contain information about what schools must publish on line about their Catch-up funding allocation and spend.

Over £42 million to extend projects for children with SEND – DfE Press Release – 11th February

The government recently announced the continuation of projects worth over £42 million to help raise educational standards, improve services and provide practical support to disadvantaged families and children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

This includes:

  • £27 million for the Family Fund
  • £17,500 for each Parent Carer Forum
  • Funding has been extended for organisations including the Council for Disabled Children, Contact, Kids, the National Network of Parent Carer Forums, Whole School SEND, the Autism Education Trust and the Education Training Foundation

New Commissioner appointed to oversee education catch-up – Press Release – 11th February

The government has announced the appointment of Sir Kevan Collins as the government’s Education Recovery Commissioner, to oversee a comprehensive programme of catch-up aimed at young people who have lost out on learning due to the pandemic.

Keeping children safe in education – DfE – Updated 18th January

This statutory guidance for schools and colleges on safeguarding children and safer recruitment has been updated to reflect legal changes following EU exit, including guidance on checking the past conduct of individuals who have lived or worked overseas.

National curriculum in England: mathematics programmes of study – DfE – Updated 21st January

The statutory programmes of study and attainment targets for mathematics at key stages 1 to 4 has been updated with added information about guidance and resources from the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics.

These materials include useful resources such as 180 primary maths video lessons and a series of planning to teach secondary maths videos that offer advice on teaching crucial key stage 3 topics.

Teaching Mathematics in Primary Schools – Updated 21st January

This guidance for teaching mathematics at key stages 1 and 2 to help pupils progress through the national curriculum.

The National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics has produced a range of resources to support teachers using this guidance. This includes:

  • ready-to-use training materials
  • a suite of 79 PowerPoints focusing on the ready-to-progress criteria
  • additional training materials addressing the transition between year 6 and year 7

Ofsted: coronavirus (COVID-19) rolling update

All 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 latest information is that for the remainder of the spring term, they will continue to carry out monitoring inspections (for schools graded ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’) remotely by default. However, they will carry out on-site inspections if they have any immediate concerns – for example, about safeguarding or the leadership of a school.

Remote monitoring inspections of maintained schools and academies will normally last for one day and involve 2 HMI.

Inspections will be paused for the week beginning 8 March, while they are focused on reopening to all pupils.

Ofsted reports on Remote Learning

Remote education research –

What is working well in remote education –

SEND – remote education – how this is working for children and young people with SEND    


High needs national funding formula: proposed changes – Open Consultation – 10th February

The high needs national funding formula (NFF) provides funding to local authorities for children and young people in England with special educational needs and disability (SEND) or who require alternative provision (AP).

This consultation will form the first stage of the high needs NFF review. This review will consider how the high needs NFF can be improved in order to achieve the highest quality support for these children and young people.

The DfE are seeking views on proposed changes to the high needs national funding formula (NFF), forming a part of the high needs NFF review.

The consultation closes at 11:45pm on 24 March 2021.

Useful Resources

Oak National Academy and National Literacy Trust Virtual Library

The Oak National Academy and the National Literacy Trust have launched a virtual school library.

Every week a popular children’s author or illustrator will provide you with free books, exclusive videos and their top three recommended reads.

They have worked with brilliant publishers and inspiring authors and illustrators to ensure that the books and activities in the Virtual School Library will support children’s wellbeing through reading.

Mental health resources for children, students, parents, carers and school/college staff – DfE – Blog Post – 1st February

The DfE have put together some useful links and sources of support so that children and young people, parents, carers, and school and college staff can get the advice and help they need.

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