All posts in “Policy”

Vacancy – Welsh Speaking Telephone Helpline Advice Giver

 

Responsible to: Service manager

Hours          20

                    14.00-18.00 Monday to Friday

Salary: responsibility band 3  spinal point 13

 

£17,835.26 pro rata based on a 35 hour week

Control Office: Caernarfon / Swansea / Cardiff / Hengoed have space available for this post

 

Main purpose:    Empowering families and young people through:

  • Answering calls from families and young people
  • Recording information accurately
  • Exploring the concerns of the caller

 

Main Tasks:

  • To support a full time, bilingual, HelpCentre through active listening and volunteer support
  • To explore the issues, record the main points and set up call backs according to the system in place
  • When confident- to signpost callers to existing written information
  • To recruit volunteers into this project
  • Training of new volunteers
  • Reporting process – gathering data
  • You must possess excellent telephone skills and also be able to log detailed information into Casework management system
  • Ability to capture data accurately and summarise facts succinctly
  • Manage an appointments calendar and delegate referrals to specialist advisors.

This post requires the ability to work without close supervision once training has been completed

 

 

Person specification – THL First Advice Giver will have:

Attitude

  • Corporate understanding and commitment to the work and purpose of SNAP Cymru
  • Flexible approaches to problem solving
  • Empathy with families and young people
  • Active listening to other views to find common ground
  • Reflection leading to continuous improvement

 

Standards

  • Good general education or above
  • Excellent written and spoken communication
  • Respect for other staff, volunteers, families and young people
  • Adherence to SNAP Cymru policies and procedures and national legislation and guidance

 

Skills

  • Telephone support
  • Developing staff and volunteers

 

Knowledge

  • A good understanding of the difficulties faced by families where a child or young person has additional needs and the schools they attend

Ability in Welsh and other languages, including Bliss, BSL and Total Communication, is desirable for all posts across Wales and Welsh language is essential for this post

 

 

A mark of recognition for our volunteers

SNAP Cymru has once again achieved the Investing in Volunteers quality standard, in recognition for our excellent  practice in working with volunteers.

“We are delighted to receive the IVV award and are so proud of the SNAP Cymru family and our incredible volunteers.  We are a fantastic team & believe strongly that together everyone achieves more.”

Donna Morgan and Teresa Bradley

Service Managers & Volunteer Coordinators

Investing in Volunteers is the UK wide quality standard for organisations involving volunteers.   It aims to improve the quality of volunteering experience for volunteers and to encourage organisations to better recognise the enormous contribution made by volunteers.  Investing in Volunteers is managed in Wales by Wales Council for Voluntary Action.

Around 70 organisations in Wales have achieved  Investing in Volunteers to date, SNAP Cymru have achieved the award for the fourth time!

We were assessed against a range of best practice standards and proved  our competence in all aspects of working with our volunteers.

“Achieving the Investing in Volunteers accreditation once more is fantastic. The accreditation process keeps us on our toes and up-to-date. It helps identify how we can continue to improve and develop the way we support and train volunteers in a variety of roles and activities. 

Investing in Volunteers demonstrates SNAP Cymru’s dedication and  commitment to sector best practice and  helps to recognise the amazing work volunteers do throughout our organisation and in the local community. I’m delighted for our staff and the all our volunteers, this is their success”

Caroline Rawson CEO & Volunteer Lead

Education Minister announces delay in elements of the ALN implementation

Jeremy Miles, Minister for Education and the Welsh Language has today announced, that despite significant progress being made in preparation for the implementation of the new ALN system,  it has become clear that the impact of the pandemic cannot be ignored.   

The message consistently being shared is of the need for further space and time to manage and plan for aspects of this important programme of reform alongside the new set of expectations for education settings from September in relation to Covid.

The Ministers announcement means that children newly identified as having additional learning needs (ALN) will still move to the new ALN system from 1 September 2021.

However, for those children who attend a maintained school (including a PRU) and who have already identified SEN via school action or school action plus, the new system will apply from 1 January 2022, instead of 1 September 2021.

The delay is to provide EY’s ,schools and FE’s the period between  September and January to reflect on guidance, make preparations , and to engage those with already identified SEN in School Action or School Action Plus with their transition to the new arrangements.

To support the implementation, the WG will publish technical and practitioner versions of the implementation guide, which will help people to navigate the processes and requirements for transition to the new system.

These materials will be published early in the Autumn Term together with an additional guide for parents and families.

Written Statement: Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal Act 2018 Implementation (14 July 2021) | GOV.WALES

Datganiad Ysgrifenedig: Gweithredu Deddf Anghenion Dysgu Ychwanegol a’r Tribiwnlys Addysg (Cymru) 2018 (14 Gorffennaf 2021) | LLYW.CYMRU

30 PARK PLACE invite you to the Welsh Education Law Conference 2021

30 PARK PLACE Chambers is running their hugely popular Welsh Education Law Conference again this year. The conference will take place online, covering eight areas of insight for local authorities, the general public, schools, health authorities and lawyers – including the impact of new legislation.

The annual conference usually takes place in person but this year, due to the current Covid- 19 restrictions governing events in Wales, Legal News Wales will support chambers in hosting the event, split across two lunchtime sessions on the 16th and 23rd June 2021 (1-2:45pm).

Donations for SNAP Cymru

In lieu of an attendance fee this year, 30 PARK PLACE are very kindly asking all those that can make a donation to SNAP Cymru to support the work we do. (Recommended donation fee of £5 pp). To make a donation, please visit: justgiving.com/snapcymru.


We are very grateful for every single gift that we receive. 30 PARK PLACE’s support and any donation received will go a long way to help us help families, children and young people with additional learning needs.
 

Programme & Speakers


Day one: 16th June, 13:00 – 14:45

Overview of the new legislation  what has come into force and when it will be implemented: Laura Shepherd, Barrister, 30 Park Place

The new legislation – what schools have to do – including fee paying schools: Melissa Jones, Barrister, 30 Park Place

The new legislation – what local authorities have to do: Laura Shepherd, Barrister, 30 Park Place

Day two: 23th June, 13:00 – 14:45

The new legislation – what education professionals have to do (ALNCOs and EPs): Melissa Jones, Barrister, 30 Park Place

The new legislation – what parents have to do: Abla O’Callaghan, Barrister, 30 Park Place

The new legislation – what FEs have to do: Michael Imperato, Partner & Head of Public & Administrative Law, Watkins & Gunn

The new legislation – what health authorities have to do: Abla O’Callaghan, Barrister, 30 Park Place

The new Education Tribunal regulations: Mark Allen, Barrister & Head of the Education Team, 30 Park Place.

WELC 2021 will be hosted via Zoom, by Legal News Wales. Useful information on the platform and accessing the event is listed below.
for more info see Welsh Education Law Conference 2021 | 30 Park Place Chambers
Book your place here

Working in Partnership through a pandemic!

SNAP Cymru has always believed in partnership working.  Whether through government initiatives or through Third sector partnerships, we have always strengthened our ability to plan and deliver successful services for children and young people with additional learning needs by working with others.   

Working together helps us to support many more children, young people and families.  Working together means we can raise funds, share expertise, skills and reputation and help meet priorities for Welsh families, whether that’s by improving children and young peoples experience and opportunities, improving the skills of young people and families or ensuring people receive the help they need to when they need it

Who would have thought we would be living through a pandemic. None of us expected it and none of us were prepared, for many children and families it has been frightening and emotionally jarring time. 

Coronavirus restrictions has left many feeling  ‘extremely isolated and without access to services and support.  Closures and reductions of education, health and provision during the pandemic also increased the pressures on families who say they were already struggling to cope beforehand. 

Our team and volunteers have been able to continue to offer important emotional and practical support to families throughout this crisis, but we couldn’t have done his without the support of our partners.  Funding has also meant we have worked remotely with children and young people to help improve their wellbeing, help elevate their worries and help them be better prepared to manage change and uncertainty.

We are particularly grateful to the following, who’s generous funding has meant we can continue to respond to ensure children and families are actively involved in decisions and to help elevate family worries about future planning and provision for their children.

ICF Covid response Capital Grant

Third Sector Capital Investment Fund 2020

Comic Relief Voluntary Services Emergency Fund (VSEF)

Equipment bought with this generous funding continues to make a difference to many families in Bridgend ,The Vale and Wrexham. Thank you so much.

“You’ve been doing a fantastic job all the way through lockdown and now in these very strange times have been so supportive. The regular contact has been so helpful even though we haven’t been able to do much knowing there is someone there I can use as a sounding board is amazing. I don’t feel alone with this and that means a lot.” Parent

“I am writing this to express my gratitude to SNAP Cymru in these unusual times, for being so caring and supportive. It has truly helped me and I honestly don’t know what I would have done without them.  SNAP Cymru have helped me feel supported with regular phone calls, vitual meetings and offering help wherever I needed and wherever it was possible” Parent

Denise Inger 1952 – 2020

 

With great sadness we announce the unexpected death of our Chief Executive Denise Inger.  Denise left us with the grace and simplicity that she brought to all her endeavours and leaves a bigger than human hole in our hearts and our plans.

Denise was a founder member of the SNAP Cymru team from volunteering to developing then managing services she became our Chief Executive more than 20 years ago.  During her time, she pioneered the now accepted partnership style of working, the excellence of advice-giving and achieving with her staff the Specialist Advice Giving award from legal services over more than 10 years – the only non-legal service in Wales to achieve this.  In the Diamond Jubilee year SNAP Cymru was awarded the Queen’s Award for Volunteering.

 

Most recently she reaped the rewards for her forward thinking in equipping and skilling the workforce to be able to transfer to working through IT, and then set about upgrading all the equipment to enable fast, efficient and data safe working from home or office for staff and volunteers.  When Covid 19 hit the charitable sector she and her team had already ensured that we were ready.

‘Denise and her team’ is our watchword.  Denise has stepped off the stage but her legacy of thousands of: children supported , families informed, schools given information and support, this legacy is alive and well and her team will continue the SNAP Cymru work and take forward the service into whatever the future throws at us.

We, her colleagues and friends, will miss her and as this message goes outwards more and more of those she met will come forward to express their sense of loss and their huge admiration.  Her legacy of the complex, evolving entity that is SNAP Cymru will continue to grow and be that lifeline, that empathetic listening ear, that source of knowledge, that voice of partnership.  Denise has stepped aside but the legacy, that she was so proud to be part of, lives on.

New Welsh Government guidance for supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged learners returning to school for the new autumn term

The Welsh Government has produced new Guidance for supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged learners returning to school for the new autumn term.

This guidance provides advice and expectations for local authorities, schools and settings (which include learning centres and work-based learning), as well as other partner agencies for the support they provide for vulnerable and disadvantaged learners for a range of scenarios.  The WG has chosen to consider a wide range of children within this group: 

  • learners with special educational needs (SEN)
  • learners from minority ethnic groups who have English or Welsh as an additional language (EAL/WAL)
  • care-experienced children, including looked after children
  • learners educated other than at school (EOTAS)
  •  children of refugees and asylum seekers
  • Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children
  •  learners eligible for free school meals (eFSM)
  • young carers
  • children at risk of harm, abuse or neglect.

The guidance covers Education other than at school (EOTAS), Special educational needs (SEN), Transport, Young carers and gives detailed information on preparations from September 2020, including operational guidance and information on preparing for a further lockdown or blended learning approach if that became necessary.

Learners with Special Educational Needs

Unlike in England, the Welsh Government chose not to use emergency powers to change the law on Special Educational needs in Wales in order to relax the statutory duties of local authorities in respect of special educational needs (SEN).

The statutory duties of local authorities, in respect of SEN in Wales are unchanged.

The duties of local authorities arising from the Education Act 1996 and the Education (Special Educational Needs) Regulations (Wales) 2002 remain in force, and the Special Education Needs Code of Practice for Wales 2002 still applies.

The local authority still has a duty to arrange the special educational provision specified in the statement.  

Learners with statements of SEN must continue to have their needs met. Local authorities must ensure that the special educational provision specified in the statement is made by the school or setting.

Allied health professionals, such as speech and language therapists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists, may have been using the NHS Wales Video Consulting Service rather than meeting clients face-to-face during the lockdown.   However, this support should be able to return to face-to-face from September 2020 subject to appropriate risk assessment.

Local authorities, schools and settings must continue to ensure the individual needs of learners are fully considered and that the needs of individual learners remains the primary consideration.

Provision too must be based on individual need. It is not appropriate to apply ‘blanket policies’.

The guidance says that

 “Local authorities, schools and settings must be mindful not to restrict the access to professionals that learners with SEN may benefit from. To do so could be a breach of statutory SEN duties”. 

There is a clear expectation that services for learners with SEN must be maintained.

Reviewing the statement of SEN

The duty on local authorities to review statements of SEN has not changed. Statements of SEN are reviewed at least annually.

The SEN statutory assessment process

The duties of local authorities and schools and settings in relation to statutory assessment remain in place as do the timelines.

Learners with individual development plans (IDPs) or individual education plans

The new additional learning needs (ALN) system, which involves learners with ALN having individual development plans (IDPs), is not yet in force. Some local authorities and schools and settings have begun to use IDPs, although statutory requirements relating to them do not yet apply. Some local authorities have, however, prepared IDPs with the agreements of parents/carers. 

Many learners with SEN do not have statements. They should have an individual education plan (IEP). Both IEPs and IDPs should outline the needs of the learner and what steps the school will take to meet those needs.

A mainstream maintained school’s governing body must use their best endeavours to secure the special educational provision required by a learner with SEN

Rights to appeal decision regarding SEN

Parents/carers and learners still have the same rights of appeal. In the first instance, parents/carers should seek to resolve concerns directly with the school and/or local authority. Local authorities are obliged to make arrangements for parent partnership services. These provide parents/carers with advice and information relating to SEN. In addition, local authorities must make arrangements for disagreement avoidance and resolution services and independent advocacy services.


Related content

Operational guidance for schools and settings from the autumn term (version 2)

  • School transport guidance to provide greater clarity.
  • Revised detail on food in school and catering arrangements to provide further clarification.
  • Self-isolation advice and Track Trace Protect (TTP) advice updated to reflect the change in self isolation from 7 to 10 days in line with the UK.

How your feedback and fundraising helps

SNAP Cymru exists to make Wales a place where children and young people with additional learning needs have the same opportunities as everyone else. We provide support, information and advice to thousands of families each year to families like Kian, Kayah’s and Gabriella’s

Gabriella’s story

Dear SNAP Cymru
I am writing this to express my gratitude to SNAP Cymru in these unusual times, for being so caring and supportive. It has truly helped me and I honestly don’t know what I would have done without them.

Who would have thought we would be living through a pandemic. None of us expected it and none of us were prepared, it has been frightening and emotionally jarring. I especially have felt anxious as I became a new mother just before lockdown.

However SNAP Cymru have helped me feel supported with regular phone calls, offering help wherever I needed and where it was possible.
I was sent a wonderfully put together activity pack to keep my Son Kian busy, and to help him better understand his emotions about the situation we all find ourselves in. He is becoming a wonderful big brother to his little sister Kayah and I feel that teaching him the ability to talk about his emotions has helped. There were techniques I wouldn’t have thought of in the pack.

Before the pandemic my son was demonstrating difficult behaviour at school. The headmaster of that school said that my son wasn’t suited for their school. As a parent I felt I needed to move him to a different school. I moved him to a different school but the behaviour continued. I looked everywhere for help and was told about SNAP Cymru by my Health visitor. I had support from SNAP Cymru before and at every meeting, which was amazing.
A lady called Teresa knew absolutely everything about the procedures and how the school could help my son to move forward. Without her I would have been entirely lost. I admired how informed she was and how she would pose question to myself and the school staff and explore options for us all. I needed SNAP Cymru and I know I will need them even more so in the future when we find ourselves faced with our ‘new normal’.

Without funding, SNAP Cymru wouldn’t be there to help parents like me face daunting situations. I am entirely unaware of my rights as a parent and the rights of my son or what support he is entitled to. They’re hard working, professional people and are fantastic at what they do. Thank you SNAP Cymru for everything you are doing and have done for me and my little family.
Yours Sincerely,

Miss Gabriella Elliott


We love hearing from our families. If you’d like to help more people like Gabriella and Kian please get in touch with us at headoffice@snapcymru.org or follow the buttons below to find out how to volunteer or fundraise for us


Related content

Something for everyone

Everyone’s reason for volunteering is unique, from meeting people to learning new skills and making a difference. Our volunteers come from all backgrounds and we have a range of roles to suit everyone.

If you’re interested in volunteering with us please complete and submit the application form, or for more information please see our volunteering page

Read more about how some of our volunteers in Mid Wales help SNAP Cymru to help our families

Return to Welsh schools in September

New guidance published on how Welsh schools should operate when pupils return full-time from September.

The Welsh Government yesterday (13/07/20) published updated guidance to support schools. To read the guidance in full go to

https://gov.wales/operational-guidance-schools-and-settings-autumn-term-covid-19

Literacy, numeracy and digital learning along with health and wellbeing must be the priority for next term, Welsh Government guidance for schools re-opening full-time in September says.

The guidance, published on Monday afternoon, is separated into two documents: one on how schools can operate safely and the other on what children should be taught and how.

Although contact between individuals should be minimised, keeping pupils in contact groups of 30, as suggested in scientific advice to Welsh Government, may not be possible.

In secondary schools, “groups” may mean several hundred in whole years or half years of pupils, the guidance suggests. “In secondary schools, particularly in the older age groups at key stage four and five, the contact groups are likely to need to be the size of a year group to enable schools to deliver the full range of curriculum subjects and for learners to receive specialist teaching. If this can be achieved with small groups, they are recommended.”

Attendance

Will I be penalised if my child be penalised for not sending my children to school?

No, Parents will not be fined for not sending in their children although this will be reviewed after half term.

Term will start on September 1 but schools can prioritise years such as exam years before everyone is expected to return on September 14.

Schools and settings are told to keep a record of attendance. If you feel for any reason that your child can’t attend, you should tell the school and explain the reason for this. This will help the school, settings and local authorities plan for, and understand any barriers there may be for learners returning to school and identify any further support needed.

If you have any doubts about whether your child’s health condition means they should not be attending their school or setting, the guidance says families should take advice from their GP or hospital doctor.

Children with Additional Learning Needs

My child has special educational needs, will they be able to attend?

The guidance says that some learners with special educational needs (SEN) will need specific help and preparation for the changes to routine that this will involve, so teachers and Special Educational needs coordinators (SENCOS) should plan to meet these needs, for example using social stories.

The guidance says “Special school staff should consult parents and carers about specific support needs, and use their discretion flexibly in agreeing the way forward for specific learners. Parents should be fully involved in this process.

The legislation in relation to Special Educational Needs has not changed please see:

Coronavirus and Additional Learning Needs – update

“Schools and settings may need to consider what adjustments are needed to their behaviour policies to respond to this.”

“Specialists, therapists, clinicians and other support staff for learners with SEN should provide interventions as usual.”

Schools should consider how to manage other visitors to the site, such as contractors and ensure site guidance on social/physical distancing and hygiene is explained to visitors on or before arrival. Where visits can happen outside of school hours, they should. A record should be kept of all visitors.

Lunches at School

School kitchens are “expected” to be open.

School transport

The legal duties around school transport have not changed.  If your child has transport provided it should continue unless you agree to other arrangements being made.   Schools, LA’s and relevant transport providers should work together to put in place arrangements which meet WG guidance on social distancing. 

Pupils won’t have to wear face masks, but this guidance may change.

Breakfast clubs and after-school provision

These should re-open.

“Local authorities should work with schools to consider resuming any breakfast and after school provision, where possible whether this is provision offered by the school or run out of the school by a private provider.”

Hygiene, cleaning, social distancing, classrooms and corridors

The guidance recommends desks should face forward, but this may not always be possible and that Staff should maintain distance from learners and other staff as much as possible.

All staff should be trained in how to put on and remove PPE safely and in the correct order. PPE is not usually necessary but may be in cases of first aid, intimate care or if someone is believed to be infected.

Action to minimise Covid-19 risk

  • Anyone unwell or with Covid-19 symptoms must stay at home
  • Increased hand-washing and hand-washing facilities
  • Increased cleaning regime
  • Active engagement with Wales’ Test, Trace, Protect scheme
  • Formal consideration of how to reduce contacts and maximise distancing between those in school

What if there is a second wave of Covid-19 or a local outbreak?

All schools must have a plan to return to full-time remote learning.

What if there’s an infection at the school?

The guidance says a school does not have to shut if someone tests positive for Covid-19.

“A positive test on site [therefore] does not require closure of that site”, the guidance says. “The process of testing and contact tracing is part of the ‘new normal’ and where schools and settings follow these guidelines carefully, there is no cause for alarm.”

  • But schools must engage with the Test, Trace, Protect strategy, and;
  • No one with Covid-19 symptoms can attend
  • No one living with someone who has symptoms of Covid-19 or has tested positive to Covid-19 in the past 14 days can attend
  • Those showing symptoms should be kept separate until they can be collected and taken home
  • Confirmed cases of Covid-19 in a school are to be flagged by local contact tracing teams

What’s the risk?

The guidance insists children are less likely to transmit Covid-19.

“The latest published evidence in relation to the transmissibility in learners under the age of 12 seems to be particularly low. Children under the age of 18 make up 22 to 25 per cent of the population, but consistently make up less than 2% of the total Covid-19 caseload in every country.”

The Welsh Government yesterday (13/07/20) published updated guidance to support schools prior to the return of all pupils in September. To read the guidance in full go to :

https://gov.wales/operational-guidance-schools-and-settings-autumn-term-covid-19

Coronavirus and Additional Learning Needs – update

The Coronavirus Bill, has now been passed and is now Legislation under the Coronavirus Act 2020. You can find the whole act here

Currently all local authorities remain under obligation to comply with the law and regulations regarding Special Educational needs. There is no immediate change to the duties on local authorities

The Coronavirus Act 2020 does however provide for the possibility of a temporary relaxation of duties on local authorities.  The relevant part for our purposes is Schedule 17, part 1, “Notices temporarily removing or relaxing statutory provisions”.

Under the Coronavirus Act 2020, the Secretary of State/Welsh Minister has the power to modify this requirement so instead rather than an absolute duty, Local Authorities are able to use ‘reasonable endeavours’ to deliver the provision.

In order for any of these situations to come into force, Schedule 17 of the Act has created a power for the Secretary of State/Welsh Minister to issue a notice dis-applying or modifying the existing statutory provisions for up to one month at a time, but there can be repeated notices.

Hayley Mason, SEND Lawyer at SEN Legal says that

When issuing such notice, the Secretary of State/Welsh Minister must take reasonable steps to bring the notice to the attention of those likely to be affected. (The reasons must relate to the incidence or transmission of coronavirus.)

Even when a Notice is issued, this does not mean that local authorities can simply do nothing.  What it means is that the duties are to be treated as discharged if the LA has used ‘reasonable endeavours’ to discharge the duty.

Exactly what ‘reasonable endeavours’ will amount to in this context is as yet unclear as it has not been defined in the recent legislation and no guidance has been issued to local authorities.

In reality this will probably involve looking at creative options to provide for delivery. Several LA’s are using video conferencing for example

No notice has been issues currently so the duties on local authorities remain the same.

The modifications if announced will apply to the following:

  • Education Act 1996 Section 324 (statement of special educational needs)

Any duty imposed on a person by section 324(5)(a) or (b) is to be treated as discharged if the person has used reasonable endeavours to discharge the duty.

  • Learning and Skills Act 2000 (Statement of special educational needs)

Any duty imposed on a person by section 324(5)(a) or (b) is to be treated as   discharged if the person has used reasonable endeavours to discharge the duty.

  • Section 140 (duty on the Welsh Ministers to arrange an assessment of a person with SEN in particular circumstances)

Any duty imposed on a person by section 140 is to be treated as discharged if the person has used reasonable endeavours to discharge the duty.

  • Education Act 1996 Section 19 (exceptional provision of education in pupil referral units or elsewhere)

Any duty imposed on a person by or under section 19 is to be treated as discharged if the person has used reasonable endeavours to discharge the duty

  • Education Act 1996 Section 328 (review of educational needs)

Any duty imposed on a person by or under section 328 is to be treated as discharged if the person has used reasonable endeavours to discharge the duty.

Do the LA still need to carry out statutory assessments?

All current duties apply, the local authority are still required to comply and must still accept request for statutory assessments and continue those which are in process

Understandably everybody is in a difficult position at the moment. Many people are having to work from home for the first time, looking after children and trying to make it work and that includes LA officers who may not have access to their databases in the same way as us. 

The government may be seeking to amend regulations on the timescales for the statutory processes where this is appropriate because of COVID-19 as yet, no order has been passed to this effect. 

Several LAs who have indicated that they will not be carrying out any statutory assessments. Legally, this is not an option nor has the government indicated any intention to suspend the duty to consider requests for assessment or to carry out the same. Any LA’s suspending the process are not acting lawfully.

On a practical basis, a LA’s ability to comply with deadlines may be hampered by staff absence and the way assessments are conducted may be affected by the availability of staff and restrictions on face to face contact and working from home.  However, LAs have wide powers in the way they obtain information and advice.

Decisions about whether or not to assess will continue to be made solely on current legal tests.  If a LA refuses to assess, then it must continue to send out the statutory notification (along with notice of appeal rights and deadlines) to the parents or young person.

If a school is being named in a statement, that process may continue despite the school being currently closed.

Annual Reviews

Time limits have not been extended yet.  However annual review deadlines are likely to be one area which may be relaxed – in practice deadlines will slip slightly and we will all need to be pragmatic and sensitive to the prevailing situation.  If AR do not take place the existing provision will remain in place.

What is happening to SENTW Appeals?

Appeals in respect of refusals to assess, refusals to issue, and against the content of issued Statements can also still be lodged with the First-tier Tribunal SENTW.  The FTT is preparing to put measures in place to attempt business as usual. It is holding case management hearings and appeals by telephone and video link. 

What are children and young people with SEN’s entitlements when schools are closed?

All schools have been ordered to effectively close, retaining a skeleton staff to provide education for the children of ‘key workers, and ‘vulnerable children’.

Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker, who are ‘looked after,’ require safeguarding and those with a statements of special educational need. The children with SEN, who receive SEN Support at school but do not have a statement, would be expected to stay home unless they have a social worker or a parent or carer who is a key worker. In certain local authorities unless both parents are keyworkers the children would be expected to stay at home. Many areas are looking at having cluster hubs where children will be brought together- the advice on this is emerging.

The Government has released further guidance for schools, colleges and local authorities setting out their approach to maintaining educational provision. This includes a full list of key workers.

If my child has a statement, does the LA still have a legal duty to provide what’s in the statement?

From a legal perspective this is the case However, given the likely significant disruption and staff sickness , it may be very difficult for schools or LAs to deliver the exact provision,

 An alternative may be to question whether some of the provision can be delivered at home?  Certain therapists for example have provided support through video link.

If you are concerned about your child who may be vulnerable regarding safeguarding, mental health or because of concerns regarding their violent behaviour please contact your social worker if you have one or your local authority duty social work team. 

For further information please contact the SNAP Cymru Helpline or use the enquiry form on our website which both remain open

0808 801 0608    www.snapcymru.org/contact