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02.07.2020 | By paul_simpson

Update on DfE advice re schools including for peripatetic teachers

Posted in News

Many thanks to Ian Noon, of NDCS, for the following summary:

DfE in England has today published more detailed guidance on how education settings will re-open. I’ve skim-read the version for schools


As we all know, expectation is that schools in England will re-open full time to everyone in September.

The key headline for us is that there’s a clear statement that peripatetic TODs should be allowed to go into schools:

Supply teachers, peripatetic teachers and/or other temporary staff can move between schools. They should ensure they minimise contact and maintain as much distance as possible from other staff. Specialists, therapists, clinicians and other support staff for pupils with SEND should provide interventions as usual. Schools should consider how to manage other visitors to the site, such as contractors, and ensure site guidance on 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.

Where it is necessary to use supply staff and to welcome visitors to the school such as peripatetic teachers, those individuals will be expected to comply with the school’s arrangements for managing and minimising risk, including taking particular care to maintain distance from other staff and pupils. 

There’s also a clear line that teaching assistants should not be redeployed at the expense of children with SEND.

Schools should ensure that appropriate support is made available for pupils with SEND, for example by deploying teaching assistants and enabling specialist staff from both within and outside the school to work with pupils in different classes or year groups.

Where support staff capacity is available, schools may consider using this to support catch-up provision or targeted interventions. Teaching assistants may also be deployed to lead groups or cover lessons, under the direction and supervision of a qualified, or nominated, teacher (under the Education (Specified Work) (England) Regulations 2012 for maintained schools and non-maintained special schools and in accordance with the freedoms provided under the funding agreement for academies). Any redeployments should not be at the expense of supporting pupils with SEND.

A few other points:

  • Lots of emphasis on the risks of children missing education and balancing of risks
  • Attendance will be mandatory unless clinical advice for individual children says otherwise. Remote learning should be provided in these cases
  • Curriculum can be modified in exceptional circumstances – but expectation we will return to normal by summer 2021.
  • Exams that were due to take place in summer 2021 can also be dropped in exceptional circumstances for some students if it would help deliver better outcomes in English and Maths
  • Some clear emphasis around the needs of considering needs of children with SEND in the curriculum
  • Schools need to plan how remote learning will be delivered as contingency. DfE are now being more prescriptive here and may produce further guidance. There is an acknowledgement that children with SEND may need more support and that schools should plan how this will be provided
  • Ofsted will not be doing any school inspections in autumn, though they may do some random visits to learn how schools are managing
  • Whole School SEND doing some training around SEND and returning to school

The Whole School SEND consortium will be delivering some training and how-tos for mainstream school teachers (including free insets and webinars) on supporting pupils with SEND to return to their mainstream school after the long absence, and on transition to other settings. Details of future training sessions are held on the events page of the SEND Gateway. You can opt to join Whole School SEND’s community of practice when you sign up for an event to receive notifications about future training and resources as they are published.