Support for special education needs

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

We are continuing our legal duty to provide education, health and care (EHC) needs assessments, when requested or needed.

By law, the process should take up to 20 weeks but this can change in exceptional circumstances, such as the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Current government rules on school closures, staying at home and staying away from others (‘social distancing’) make it very difficult to assess the full needs of each child or young person.

As a result, we have updated our assessment advice for parents, carers and schools as follows.

Stage of assessment What will happen now
New requests We ask for the understanding of parents, educational settings and other professionals that, whilst new submitted requests will be considered, we may experience real difficulties in collating the information required due to difficulties holding meetings and getting reports from professionals.
Requests received before 23 March 2020 We will continue to process these in the usual way but we anticipate many contributors won't be able to respond to 6-week early warning letters within the timescale due to the current restrictions.
Assessments between 23 March 2020 and 1 June 2020 We try our best to progress these but we anticipate significant difficulties at this time, and in meeting statutory timescales. We will contact parents, carers and schools if there is likely to be a delay. Individual discussions will establish what statutory advice is required and how and when this could be sought.
Assessments already underway If there is likely to be a delay with the completion of the assessment, we will contact the parents and educational settings to advise. This will depend on the stage of the assessment and what parental and professional involvement is still needed.

We will continue updating this advice in line with government rules and guidance.

Contact our helpdesk

We have set-up a Coronavirus Outbreak Special Educational Needs Team Helpdesk to support you through the stages above.

If you would like to discuss the education part of a young person's EHC plan, either as their parent, carer or education provider, you can contact the team's helpdesk by email.

Special Education Needs team