We are working with partners across Lambeth and London to ensure that children with special educational needs in Lambeth are supported during the coronavirus outbreak.

In line with Government advice we are doing everything we can to slow the spread of coronavirus. This includes stoping all non-essential meetings and minimising direct contact between staff. This is likely to have a knock on effect on EHCP Co Production meetings, annual review meetings and other such meetings. In some cases this might make it difficult to meet statutory guidelines.

We are working hard to minimise disruption through written and online communication but apologise for any delays that occur as a result of the measures required to protect everyone’s safety and welfare. If you have urgent concerns in the meantime please contact us in the usual way and if a Coordinator is not at work, your call will be diverted to someone who can help you.

We know that you will be concerned about the nursery/school/college closures and what this will mean for your children’s education and well-being. We want to reassure you that we are working with Early Years settings, mainstream schools, special schools and schools outside of our borough, to ensure that our children with special educational needs are being thought about carefully.

You can find information about changes to specific SEND services on our SEND service update page

Contact the team

SEND Tel: 020 7926 9460

General enquiries: sendsupport@lambeth.gov.uk

Annual Reviews: AnnualReviews@lambeth.gov.uk

Changes to the law on education, health and care needs assessments and plans due to coronavirus from 1st May 2020

The Government has announced temporary changes to the law on educational, health and care needs assessments and plans due to coronavirus.

This means that some aspects of the law for children and young people with SEND are modified for a period of time to give local authorities and health commissioners more flexibility during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Department for Health and Social Care and the Department for Education have issued a joint statement which is attached to this email for you. Please do read it if you can take the time.

Read detailed guidance on the changes

What does this mean for Lambeth SEND families?

The notice does not mean LAs or health bodies can just forget about all their legal duties rather we must use ‘reasonable endeavours’ to secure or arrange the provision. This means that we must consider for each child and young person with an EHC plan what we can reasonably provide in the circumstances.

Communicating with our families

The council and health commissioning body will:

  • keep a record of the provision it decides it must secure or arrange;
  • confirm to the parents or young person what it has decided to do, and explain why the provision differs from that in the plan for the time being;
  • keep under review whether the provision it is securing or arranging means that it is still complying with the reasonable endeavours duty, and takes account of the changing circumstances for the child, and for services.

This legal change will be in force from 1st to 31st May 2020 and may be extended. Once the notice expires or is cancelled, providers will all need to ensure everything specified in an EHCP is put back into place.

This means that for some, there may be little change. However, for others this may result in a child or young person’s provision being different to that which is set out in their EHC plan, for some, or all, of the time that the notice is in force.

Some examples of Reasonable endeavours

  • Alterations to the frequency and timing of the delivery of provision in school, e.g. moving to a part-time timetable.
  • A temporary placement in another school - mainstream or special, with the agreement of the parent or young person.
  • Attendance at a local hub school.
  • Video class sessions for children to keep in touch with classmates and teaching staff.
  • Home learning programmes, provided by SENCO, reviewed weekly.
  • Educational Psychologists providing support and interventions.
  • Specialist SEN Teachers providing advice and support to parents re autism, visual or hearing impairment or literacy.
  • Speech and Language Therapy delivering sessions via video link.
  • An OT video linking to a child’s home and modelling exercises that the parents could do with their child.

Timescales for EHC needs assessments and plans

Where timescales for various EHC processes are affected by reasons relating to the coronavirus, the usual timescales will be replaced by requirements on the Local Authority and health professionals to act as soon as is 'reasonably practicable'. If changes to timescales are required, the Local Authority must inform families as soon as they know this is necessary. These changes will be in force from 1st May to 25th September 2020 and will be kept under review.

Our aim is that, as far as practicable during this difficult period, EHC processes continue so that children and young people still get help and support whilst accepting that this may have to be done differently.

The Lambeth online EHC Hub means we are in a good position to progress new cases remotely and transparently and meet timescales wherever possible.

Annual Reviews of EHCPs

  • Annual review requirements remain in place.
  • A review meeting, even if by necessity briefer than usual, can be reassuring for parents, children and young people, through ensuring that their EHC plan is up-to-date.
  • Where it is impractical for a LA to complete an annual review of a plan within the prescribed timescales for a reason relating to coronavirus, then the LA must complete it as soon as reasonably practicable.
  • Annual review meetings may need to take a different form – such as online video conference calls.
  • It is important that they continue to ensure that the child or young person is at the centre of the process and can engage with the process in a meaningful way.

We want to emphasise that co-production, partnership and communication remain critical. If you have any concerns please contact the SEND Team.

  • SEND Tel: 020 7926 9460
  • General enquiries: sendsupport@lambeth.gov.uk
  • Annual Reviews: AnnualReviews@lambeth.gov.uk

Tips for health and wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak

Lambeth Educational Psychology Service has put together some advice and guidance for parents and carers about how to support the wellbeing and learning of their children during the coronavirus outbreak.

Other information about coronavirus in Lambeth

Service Pages: 
Special educational needs and disabilities - Local Offer