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It's back to school!

Young boy smiling and holding sign saying back to school

Its nearly September -  that time for children's return to school and college, or to start preschool or nursery

There has been lots of guidance issued by the government over the past few months and only the keenest of us would have read it all.  We’ve pulled together some useful information about returning to schools and colleges in September for Hertfordshire families whose children have SEND.

The government guidance:

From the beginning of the autumn term, the DfE will expect all pupils, in all year groups, to return to school full-time. A very small number of children and young people, on the advice of their paediatrician or consultant, will need to continue to shield from coronavirus at home.  If this is the case for your child then please ensure that you let your child’s school or college know as they will need to work with you to support their education at home.  Information on what parents and carers need to know about the opening of schools is available.   There is a Department for Education Coronavirus Helpline for queries about this – details below.


Tune in to Back to School Q&A - 27 August 2020

Have you got questions about returning to school?

The charity CONTACT, is holding a special Back to School Question and Answer session on their Facebook page on 27 August, between 2-4pm.

Parents/carers are encouraged to ask Contact's advisers any questions they have about returning to school.

On the day, simply go to Contact's Facebook page and post your questions in the special Back to School Thread.

Hertfordshire guidance

The latest guidance around the full opening of schools in September has been summarised and made easier to follow by Herts SENDIASS.

If your child is in mainstream then you will find more information here but if your child is attending a special school or specialist setting then in addition, you will also require this information.

You can also find up to date information about the return to school for SEND pupils in Hertfordshire on the Local Offer coronavirus updates page

Ask, Listen, Do

You may find the following leaflet, funded by the Department for Education and developed by families as part of NHS England's Ask Listen Do project helpful in planning your child’s return to school.

'Returning to school after a period of absence', is intended to help build partnership between families and the school. The intention is to equip families with questions to ask of schools to make the return to school from a period of absence as successful as possible. The questions can be used by families and by young people to support self-advocacy.

NHS national programme, Ask, Listen, Do (ALD) is about making feedback, concerns and complaints easier for people with a learning disability, autism or both and their families and carers. The programme supports organisations to learn from and improve the experiences of people with a learning disability, autism or both, their families and carers.   Find out more about ALD here.


Home to school transport

There is new guidance from the Department of Education on Home to School Transport and returning to school.

Hertfordshire County Council's School Transport Department has written to all schools and parents whose child is or will be using the transport to explain what has been put in place. The letters have been sent directly to parents via email. If you should have received one and haven’t seen it then please check your email junk/spam folders or contact school transport directly -

Parents are also able to choose to transport their child using a personal travel budget which covers 4 daily car journeys from home to school at 45p a mile. Further information is in the letter and on the Local Offer Local Offer Coronavirus updates under the education tab. All of our transport will be running again from September.

Relaxing of EHCP requirements is over

During the peak of Covid-19, the government relaxed the legal requirements of schools and the Local Authority to provide all the provision in children and young people’s EHC plans.

This requirement expired on the 31st July and so, when those with an EHC plan return to school or college in September, the provision set out in the plan must be delivered.

However, the relaxing of the timelines around certain parts of the EHC process remain in force until 25th September by which time the government will have decided whether to extend it further.

You can see updates here for to Changes to the law on education, health and care needs assessments and plans due to coronavirus.  

Consultation on changes to the School Admission Code

The Department for Education has just launched a consultation on a revised version of the School Admissions Code and would welcome your feedback.

The consultation can be found online here and runs until 16 October.

The proposed changes to the School Admissions Code are intended to support vulnerable children and changes would therefore potentially have significant implications for children with SEND.

In addition, SEND stakeholders may have a particular interest in a specific recommendation about how the Code should provide for decisions about the admission of children and young people with Challenging Behaviour.

DfE is keen to hear from a wide range of SEND stakeholders to help ensure that all relevant SEND considerations are factored into Ministers’ decisions as to the best way forward.

They have an extended consultation period of 16 weeks, running into the Autumn term to allow for disruption caused by both the school holidays and the phased re-opening and return to school. Virtual consultation sessions are planned with stakeholders. Do let DfE know if you would like to be involved.

There is also an updated published statement on the admission of summer born children. This is published here

We have set up the mailbox for any future comments or questions in relation to the consultation.


Information from:  Special educational needs and disability division

College help and mentoring for young people with SEND

The My Future Programme is a year long trial with North Hertfordshire College aimed at helping young people with SEND who attract High Needs Funding.

The programme is about providing impartial careers advice, bespoke coaching and employment adviser support to help the young person transition out of college into positive activities and employment as appropriate, when the time is right.   The Programme will also provide support to parents to help them recognise other opportunities exist outside of education. The overall aim of the programme is to reduce High Needs Funding costs.

We are pleased to announce that we have successfully recruited all the staff for the My Future Programme and they will join YC Hertfordshire early in September.

The My Future Programme will be run on a trial basis for a year, starting in September and run in conjunction with North Hertfordshire College supporting 35 young people ready to leave college. YC Hertfordshire is piloting the programme.

If the trial proves successful, the programme will be rolled out across all of the Hertfordshire colleges.

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