Reply To: Are SEN Schools Closing?

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    Following! My headteacher (special school, asd) said that vulnerable = kids with an EHCP. Although not sure on formal guidance. If schools need to stay open for some, then surely teachers become key workers…. as most of them have children too!

    This email just came through from the Early Year’s Alliance. They too have many questions!

    Dear all,

    I wanted to write to you as a matter of urgency following today’s announcement from the government about the ‘partial closure’ of childcare providers and schools on Friday, with care still being provided for key workers and vulnerable children. We have received confirmation from the Department for Education that this applies to both group settings and childminders.

    As it stands, there are a number of questions about this plan that the Department for Education must answer.

    The government has said that it ‘expects’ childcare providers to partially close on Friday, but we are aware that legislation is currently going through Parliament that could allow the Prime Minister to force providers to do so. The DfE must confirm if this will be an obligatory position going forward.

    The Department must also clarify what ‘partial closure’ looks like in practice. This includes the definition of key workers, the definition of vulnerable children, the expectation on the type of provision providers will be expected to deliver during this time, and how exactly businesses will be expected to function on a day-to-day basis under these rules.

    The matter of financial support is also critical. While the government has announced some positive measures, such as the commitment to continue ‘free entitlement’ funding during any closures, and a 12-month business rate holiday for those settings who are subject to rates, these do not go far enough, and for those providers who are heavily reliant on private fees in particular, much more must be done.

    We are due to speak to the Department for Education as a matter of urgency and will be seeking further information and guidance on how these plans are expected to work in practice, and what package of financial support is going to be made available to the sector through this incredibly difficult period.

    I know that these are frightening times, but I want to reassure our members, and the wider sector, that the Alliance is here, working around the clock to get answers, fight your corner and provide information, advice and guidance as quickly as we possibly can. We will update the sector as soon as possible on our discussions with government.

    Thank you for your ongoing trust and support,

    Neil Leitch
    Chief executive
    Early Years Alliance