This information is correct as at 1 June 2021.
The Government issued the Coronavirus Act 2020 Provision of Remote Education (England) Temporary Continuity Direction on 30 September 2020. The Direction imposes a legal duty to provide remote education to pupils of compulsory school age where a class, group of pupils or individual pupils need to self-isolate, or there are local or national restrictions requiring pupils to remain at home. It came into force on 22 October 2020 and will have effect to the end of the current school year unless revoked at an earlier date.
The DfE's Schools coronavirus (COVID-19) operational guidance confirms that the remote education provided to state funded pupils should be equivalent in length to the core teaching pupils would receive in school, with minimum hours per day given for different Key Stages (KS1 – three hours a day on average across the cohort; KS2 – four hours a day; KS 3 and 4 – five hours a day).
The expectation is also that schools set "meaningful and ambitious work each day in an appropriate range of subjects". Schools are also expected to consider these expectations in relation to the pupils’ age, stage of development or special educational needs, for example where this would require significant parental support.
Schools are required to have regard to the DfE guidance on remote education.
Schools will continue to be accountable to parents through their complaints procedures, including for the provision of remote education.
Under the Education (Coronavirus, Remote Education Information) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021, state funded schools have a legal duty to publish information about their remote education provision for pupils on their website. The DfE has an optional template to support schools with this requirement.
When Do Schools' Duties to Pupils With SEND Apply?
The duties placed on schools to proactively use their best endeavours to provide suitable provision for pupils with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) (including pupils with or without EHC plans) continues whether pupils are attending school or learning remotely.
It is therefore very important that SENCOs and class teachers continue to engage with SEND pupils in the same way, even where they are not attending school in person. Schools should work collaboratively with families to ensure that the provision called for by the pupil's needs remains in place and appropriate.
Schools should consider how remote education may need to be differentiated for pupils with SEND, for example where a type of online platform may not be suitable for pupils with dyslexia. The DfE's guidance, Schools coronavirus (COVID-19) operational guidance recognises that some pupils with SEND may not be able to access remote education without adult support and it is expected that schools will work with families to deliver an ambitious curriculum appropriate for their level of need.
What Other Considerations May Be Relevant to SEND Pupils?
Some pupils with SEND (whether with education, health and care plans or on SEN support) will continue to need specific help with the changes to routines they are experiencing, so teachers and special educational needs coordinators should plan to meet these needs, for example using social stories. Other considerations may include the operation of the behaviour policy and any additional control measures that may be in place.