Vicky Ford MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, has written a ministerial letter to families and those supporting children and young people with SEND outlining the support available as they return to school.

The Minister writes about the importance of returning to education, and recognises “this is a particularly challenging and anxious time” for families and those that support them, after a prolonged period of absence, noting the support that will be needed to cope.

Key points about the return to schools covered in the letter are that:

  • Normal rules and disciplinary powers, including exclusion, remain in place; but permanent exclusion should only be used “as a last resort”.
  • ‘Off-rolling’ and placing pressure on parents to remove their child from school is “never acceptable”.
  • Individual risk assessments may be necessary.
  • Face coverings would be required for secondary schools, but individuals who were not able to due to their condition, or who needed to provide assistance to someone relying on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate, remained exempt.

Further information on aerosols, hospital schools, mental health and wellbeing, and visiting practitioners was also included.

Read the letter here.