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SEND Family Connections


SOS SEND in response to COVID-19

18/3/2020
Emergency Powers Bill includes various provisions relevant to SEN including:

Section 42 Children and Families Act 2014 (duty to secure special educational provision and health care provision in accordance with an EHCP): Any duty ... is to be treated as discharged if the person has used reasonable endeavours to discharge the duty.
S19 Education Act 1996 (duty to provide education otherwise than at school for pupils unable to attend school due to illness etc): also discharged if reasonable endeavours have been used.
S508A-F and Schedule 35C (home to school transport): ditto.

Therefore the various duties are weakened. Presumably "reasonable endeavours" must be interpreted in light of the purpose of the Emergency Powers Bill generally, i.e. an LA failing to provide SEP would have to show problems are caused by COVID-19 and measures taken as a result, but with closed schools, staff off sick or self-isolating, taxi companies closing down etc that is unlikely to be difficult.

21/3/2020

NEW TRIBUNAL APPEALS
The Tribunals Service has announced that, whilst Phase Transfer, post 16 and post 19 transition appeals will continue to be heard within 12-14 weeks, all other new appeals will for the foreseeable future be listed on a 20 week timetable. If they can hear appeals earlier, they will, and cases dealt with on the papers alone with the consent of the parties are likely to be dealt with more quickly.