Update on schools, colleges and childcare
Schools and colleges in Dorset remain open for critical workers,vulnerable children and children and young people with Education, Health and Care Plans.
All six of the Dorset special schools are open and are trying their best to offer a provision for as many children and young people as possible.
Few settings are able to offer the full provision typical of their setting. They will continue to contact families to discuss individual and specific needs. We do understand these are challenging and uncertain times for families and staff in settings. We are working hard to support both.
There will be differences between schools in how they offer provision depending on the size and staffing in the school.
Government guidance for critical workers and vulnerable children who can access schools or educational settings can be found here.
If your child or young person is considered Critically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) then it’s advised that they do not attend school at present. Detailed guidance can be found on the gov.uk website. There are no fines for not sending your child to school.
Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans
We’re also working hard to keep the EHC plan process moving. Assessments for an EHC plan may look different as it becomes more difficult to do our work face to face.
We may need to do more by telephone or video calls where possible. Our decision-making panels are moving to online meetings. We’ll continue to review this.
If the child or young person and family choose to deliver learning at home or the school are not able to provide safely for the child or young person we will be asking schools to complete individual risk assessments in relation to the impact on the child’s/young person’s EHCP outcomes and wellbeing.
These should be completed in partnership with the families, and young person where possible.
Legal timelines for EHC needs assessment are still in place. There will be some changes to how the professionals carryout assessments if the child is not in school and this may have an impact on the quality of the assessment and timelines. Any changes will be discussed with the family.
The EP helpline continues to be open and available. The telephone number is 01258 474036.
You can also contact SENDIASS by phone or email for support.
Free school meals update:
Dorset Council is working with schools to make sure families who need it (including those who receive free school meals) can receive food vouchers if they are not in school. If your child gets free school meals their school will give you details. Find out more.