Shropshire Council

Update from the SEN Team following announcement of third lockdown

07 January 2021 Last updated at 11:03

Dear parent/carers,

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 4 January 2021, of a 3rd national lockdown, only children of critical workers and vulnerable children and young people should attend school or college. All other pupils and students will receive remote education until February half term.  All children with an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) fall within the vulnerable learner category and are therefore eligible to access their education within their education setting.  This applies to both mainstream and specialist settings. If circumstances change, or the family of a child/young person with an EHCP would like a place at a school/college they should, in the first instance, contact the SENCo at the setting to make the necessary arrangements.  If a place is not offered please contact the SEN Team for further advice.

Early Years settings, such as nurseries, will remain open. During the period of national lockdown, childminders and childminder agencies can continue to allow children to attend as normal, except for school-aged children. Childminders caring for school-aged children (including reception children) should only open for children who are eligible for on-site school attendance including vulnerable children and children of critical workers.

If your child has an EHCP or is classed as vulnerable via another criteria and you are concerned that attending school presents a risk to their health, please discuss your concerns with your school and explore if concerns can be addressed so that, wherever possible, attendance is supported. 

If your child or young person usually goes to school but is currently at home, including those with an EHCP or identified at SEN Support, their school/college should be working to provide them with work and giving them feedback in a format that meets their needs. It is expected that children/young people with an EHCP will continue to receive as much of the provision identified within their EHCP as is reasonably possible. Any reasonable adjustments needed should continue to be made.

In Shropshire we know that many early years providers, schools and colleges are supporting families to deliver home learning programmes and are ‘checking in’ with families. We are aware that SENCos are keeping oversight of children with SEN to make sure home learning is accessible. If you would like to discuss the education that is being provided you should contact your child’s teacher or the SENCo in the first instance.

The government have pledged further assistance over the coming weeks to support remote learning, including the provision of laptops, tablets and internet access.  Your child’s school should be able to advise further on this.

From Monday 11th January, BBC Bitesize will be on the TV to help all children/young people access learning in their biggest education roll out yet.  There will be three hours of primary programming on CBBC from 9am and loads of Bitesize Daily for secondary students will be on BBC Two. There'll be loads more resources on BBC iPlayer too.  You can also find lots of home schooling resources on the Shropshire Local Offer.

Annual reviews should take place as usual and all annual reviews must be completed within 12 months of the previous review. Your setting should arrange for annual reviews to take place virtually using Microsoft Teams or using conference calls. You can find out more information on virtual annual reviews on the local offer here.

At the current time there has been no change to the statutory duties of the local authority in regard to the Children and Families Act. Therefore the Shropshire SEN Team continue to accept and process requests for an Education Health and Care Needs assessment and endeavour to complete these assessments within the 20 week timescale. All professionals who give advice have been asked by the DfE to use creative ways in which to provide their information so that assessments continue to be made and EHC plans issued in a timely manner. However, due to the current lockdown situation it is likely that there will be delays in issuing EHCPs. We will use our best endeavours to keep any delays to a minimum and will keep you informed as soon as we become aware that there may be a delay in the assessment process. We continue to await further guidance from the DfE in respect of our statutory duties and will share any information with you in terms of our local response as soon as it is available.

If you have any queries regarding the EHCP or annual review process please contact the SEN Team.  All contact details can be found here on the SEN Team page.

If you have any queries regarding your child’s education provision please contact your child’s school in the first instance.

Short breaks - please can you confirm directly with the provider if your child's club is still running, and if there are any changes you need to be aware of before travelling.  If you have any queries with regard to your child’s short break provision please contact your social worker.

IASS continues to be available 10am to 4pm, Monday – Friday. If you would like further independent information, advice and support, email them on;  Alternatively, a message can be left on 01743 280019. They aim to respond within 3 working days. Website

If you have any concerns please contact the SEN Team.

SEN Team
01743 254267