Government publishes guidance on school closures in England

Wednesday 13 January 2021

We wanted to let you know about new guidance the government has published over the last week around the closure of schools in England.

The government has published guidance for parents and carers on early years providers, schools and colleges.

See also the latest guidance on children of critical workers and vulnerable children who can access schools or education settings.

And finally, there is guidance for schools on restricting attendance during the national lockdown, and guidance for further education settings on restricting attendance.

Children and young people with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan are entitled to go to school. The law – under section 42 of the Children and Families Act 2014 – makes clear that children are legally entitled to receive the special educational provision set out in part F of their EHC plan. The local authority has a duty to secure this provision.

We have heard from parents whose child has an EHC plan but who have been told their school cannot take them, often due to Covid-related staff shortages. We would advise that if your child can’t attend their school but has an EHC plan, speak to your local authority SEND team and ask what temporary alternative arrangements they can make for your child if full-time attendance in school isn’t possible.

For example your child might be able to attend a different setting or receive therapy online rather than face to face. Your child’s school should begin to provide their usual support as soon as it is possible to do so.

To keep up-to-date with the latest education updates, visit our Covid-19 and education page, including advice for families whose child is still attending school.

You can also speak to the education specialists on our freephone helpline – we’re open 9.30am-5pm, Monday-Friday.