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*UPDATED BMBC GUIDANCE* Education, health and care needs assessments and plans: Guidance on temporary legislative changes relating to Coronavirus (COVID-19) and re-opening of schools and educational settings from July 1st 2020.

Due to the current Coronavirus situation there are challenges for all local authorities to continue to meet the law, as set out in the Children and Families Act 2014, specifically to adhere to section 42; the duty to secure special educational provision, health and care provision in accordance with an education, health and care plan (EHCP). 

In response to this, the Secretary of State for Education gave notice that some aspects of the law on education, health, and care (EHC) needs assessments and plans would be temporarily changed. 

This was to give local authorities, health commissioning bodies, education settings, and other bodies who contribute to these processes, more flexibility in responding to the demands placed on them by Coronavirus.

The changes are detailed in two ways:

A notice from the Secretary of State for Education issued under the Coronavirus Act 2020 to modify section 42 of the Children and Families Act 2014.  This says that the duty on local authorities or health commissioning bodies to secure or arrange the provision is temporarily modified to a duty to use ‘reasonable endeavours’ to do so. This arrangement initially lasted up to the 25th May and extended to the 30th June through a new notice issued on 29th May.  A further notice has now been issued to take the arrangement up to the 31st July.

 The Special Educational Needs and Disability (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (the ‘Amendment Regulations’).  This means that there are ‘easements’ relating to the timescales for carrying out EHC needs assessments and plans. 

This currently remains in force and lasts up to the 25th September.

All other aspects of SEND law remain unchanged.

The changes are temporary, which means that the statutory guidance, as laid out in the SEND Code of Practice, 0-25, will not be updated.  The changes, however, will be kept under review for the foreseeable future.

As a local authority, we recognise the impact of the current situation on children, young people, their families and our partners across education, health, and care.  We continue, however, to be committed to providing the best support and provision for all children and young people, inclusive of those with special educational needs and/or disabilities. 

To read the full questions and answers wheich are based on the Government guidance and outline the key changes for the next period of the Coronavirus response, please click the following link - https://fsd.barnsley.gov.uk/kb5/barnsley/fisd/site.page?id=%20lEDCNMHZhyI

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