19 Mar

SSV emergency meeting held following the recent announcement by Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education.

Morning all – last night SSV convened an emergency meeting to try and get some clarity following yesterdays (rather confusing) announcements.

My rough notes can be found below – We are expecting further clarifications later this morning.

Thank you all for you continued support – we need to ensure our children, families and staff and kept safe through this challenging period.


18.3.20 – 7.00pm

Purpose of conference call

To try and gain a degree of clarity with regard to the Government’s announcement made earlier in the day.  Colleagues needed to further understand the following:

  • Clarity as to who are the “key workers” quoted in the announcements
  • An understanding of who they mean when they talk of “vulnerable” children
  • Understand the position with regards to the children with EHCPs

Points of discussion

Parents need to be clear on what their advice is re special schools.  We were told that the DfE are sending an update by 9:30 tomorrow (19.3.20).

We are going to need a description of what is meant by “key worker”.  This will be opportunity for this list to be challenged to include special school teachers and support workers.

A colleague met with large LA  –  LAs are expected to have a local plan in place – how to put on a free school meal service in strategic locations – struggled with EHCP holders – but LAs might have the power to use schools resources to provide the service.  Schools may provide the FSM service but it may not be for just their pupils – as it may relate to student postcode not school.

Limiting the spread of the virus was mentioned.   What could happen over the next few months could be repeated a number of times.  We need to avoid the virus getting to a peak therefore this type of working may drift into the medium term – 4/5 weeks lockdown and then back to normal – then repeat – this is being discussed as a possible way forward from government – may lengthen the process of getting rid of the virus but help NHS cope by controlling numbers of infected people at any one time.  We need to learn from what works best for all/ourlearners in this eventuality.

One of the key hallmarks of the governments “bungled” communication could be as a consequence of a no senior  SEND specialist being consulted throughout government discussions – only 1 SEND advisor in room and more are needed.  This to be addressed.

Agreed a joint email to government from all reps on the phone call to highlight:

  1. Need to draw attention to clinical risk – ensure they understand the full range of children and young people with SEND – we welcomed the fact that schools leaders will lead on risk assessing where children/yp are safest  (in tomorrow’s guidance) home or school or another school (good luck!!!! With that one)
  2. Future representation on “decision making panels” to avoid this chaos again.
  3. Better understand what the definition of key worker is – does it include teachers / support
  4. A greater understanding that all staff may well be subject to challenging situations. Do we need to lead on (abbreviated) training and development modules?
  5. RSC (Dominic Herrington) needs to be copied into challenges