Boris Johnson made an announcement on Sunday, May
10th, 2020 regarding the re-opening of schools in June following
the half term. His announcement only applies to England.
The measures outlined in this announcement have been
modified on several occasions since then.
It should be noted that some local authorities have
taken the decision not to open schools in their area. However, Academy
schools within those areas may open despite this since they are not
under the control of their local authority.
It is important, therefore, what when
making your decision whether or not to send your child to school,
that you contact your school to see exactly what is happening.
It appears that they want children in yr 1 to attend.
from Monday 1st June.
It's a little uncertain, but there seems to be an
expectation that there will be contact between pupils and children
for this group. Which probably means some kind of meet up in preparation
for moving to senior school. It's unclear what form this might take
or over what timescale
These years are preparing for exams (GCSE's and A
the guidance says that these children will have 'some'
face to face support from teachers, however, it appears that most
of their education will take place 'remotely'.
If you fall into this category you can expect contact
from your school. Otherwise you may want to contact them yourself.
Children with EHCP's and Vulnerable children of all
year groups are expected to attend unless shielding or risk assessments
say otherwise. Even those who have not been attending previously.
It appears that there are no plans to expect children
generally to attend school in June. Although they may revise that
later in the month.
ALL with EHCP who fit the criteria for Risk Assessment
should have a NEW RA before they invite the child to return to school.
with EHCP's, regardless of year group, are expected
to attend unless shielding or risk assessments say otherwise. Even
those who have not been attending previously.
Under pressure from the Children's Commissioner, the
want ALL vulnerable children to attend from Monday 1st of June, unless
they have a risk assessment which states otherwise or if they are
In which case it is wise to contact the school giving
suggest you also look at the IPSEA
web site paragraph 7 onwards. (IPSEA are
also updating their web site. We understand an update will occur
by Wednesday 20th May.)
have said that any child identified
as vulnerable who does not attend school will be reported to Child
This does not necessarily mean you will be forced to return your child to school,
you may for example have a reason not to do so (shielding a family member) but
there is a presumption that you will.
The guidance is confusing. In one section they clearly
state that parents will not be fined, while in another they say that
they expect all vulnerable children to attend.
While the wording
appears to suggest they will not fine any parents, they clearly intend
to place pressure on parents of vulnerable children to return. We
cannot know at this time if they intend to prosecute parents of vulnerable
children who decide not to return their children. It is more likely
that they will rely upon the persuasive powers of the social workers.
There is no expectation that a child shielding either
themselves or another member of the family living with them should
attend. However, if they fall into one or other category of child
now expected to return, the parents should notify the school about
It may be prudent (if at all possible) to have paperwork
to hand as evidence of shielding in case this is challenged.
The Government guidance on this has remained consistent.
You should NOT send your child to school if your
child is showing symptoms of the virus. But you should notify
the school that this is the case.
The Covid 19 Act disapplies sections 437-444 of the
Education Act 1996 while the school at which your child is registered
is closed. s444 is pivotal to any prosecution for truancy. So while
your child is not expected to attend, you may not be prosecuted.
In addition it appears that there is no expectation
that parents will be prosecuted.
Currently the guidance is clear, those families facing
'special circumstances' are NOT expected to send their children to
school. However should this advice change. then the following should
Circumstances such as:
- if the child has a condition which requires social
- if the child has a condition which requires shielding
Should exempt families from being forced to attend
school. Using current legislation, s175
of the Education act 2002 obligates the local authority to act in all
circumstances in the best interests of the child's welfare. Clearly
it cannot be in the best interests of the child's welfare to put
his/her life at risk by attending schools.
Strictly speaking academy schools are not covered
by s175 obligations.
However, the prosecuting authority would remain to be the LA. So
even if your child attends an academy, the local authority should
still not prosecute.
It is also arguable that where a child lives
with others (close relatives etc) who require
social isolation or shielding. This might include parents or siblings
undergoing medical treatment or anyone over 70 in the household,
it may also not in their best interests for them to be in school
and put these relatives at risk.
However this is a slightly less
clear circumstance. It would however be profoundly callous were
an LA to insist under these circumstances and I feel sure that press
interest in such a prosecution would be intense, and sympathetic
to the parents, under the circumstances.
From letters being sent to some parents, it appears
that a small minority of schools will not be following the guidance
to schools on issues like Social distancing.
to opening, schools should have undertaken risk assessments and should
have a report on exactly what arrangements are being made. If you
would like to know the contents, you should be able to ask for this
. It should be signed by a senior member of staff.
If your school
is a Local Authority run school and they are resisting sending out
this policy document, you could use the Freedom of Information Act
to force the school to hand over such a document. If it is an Academy,
it is classed as a private institution and the FOI Act does not apply.
s43 CAFA timescales for EHC needs assessments have
a relaxed deadline duty to the 25th September
S42 CAFA has been modified to being a duty to provide
for sections F & G of the EHCP.
have prepared an example letter (word
docx) you may wish to
use if you are intending not to send your child to school.
If you use this letter and have any issues or negative
reactions please let us know so we can monitor it's effectiveness
and improve upon it.
parents have expressed an interest in deregistration.
I have therefore included this link to where parents
can find advice on how deregistration is works.
advice is taken prior to starting. In particular we suggest parents
seriously considering this option should join
both a local and national dedicated Elective, Home Education
support forum. It is these forums that provide ongoing support
to EHE parents.
You only need to formally deregister a child of compulsory
School Age (CSA) that is from the start of the term following their
5th birthday to the last friday of June following their 16th birthday.
If your child is younger than this, a simple letter notifying the
school or nursery is sufficient.
Assuming you live in England or Wales,
your child does NOT attend a special needs school and does not have
an ESO or SAO in force, the deregistration process is a relatively
simple process which can be performed on the day you intend to withdraw
is not necessary to give the school prior warning or have any contact
with the local authority and you do not need permission, home education
is a right in law.
Therefore, there is no reason to act before you feel
absolutely need to. You can leave it until September for example.
Guidance on how to deregister
your child can be found here, please read carefully before acting.