Support for special educational needs and disability

Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice

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 on-going coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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.

We are aware that for many children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), there will have been changes to their needs during the period of disruption to education due to coronavirus. In addition, the different ways that school re-openings has been undertaken will present different challenges for children and young people with SEND.

If you feel there is an urgent need to amend the provision or placement in your child's EHC plan, you should speak to your child's school about an annual review of the plan.

New requests for EHC assessments continue to be managed in line with the GOV.UK: SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years.

Information sent to schools

North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT) sent a letter to the Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCo) at each Thurrock school in January 2021, following the Mid and South Essex NHS COVID-19 'major incident' declaration. You can download a copy below.

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