How things change in the space of 24 hours! The information below is guidance which I have provided to schools to offer support. As always, my staff and I am on the end of an email or telephone call if schools would like further advice.
Coding registers during a school closure
For the majority of pupils an X code will be used in the register.
Vulnerable Children – as vulnerable children should be attending school, the X code should not be used (unless they have Covid; are self-isolating or are shielding) Instead, schools are asked to grant leave of absence and code C or another alternative authorised code.
For children with social care involvement please let the social worker know that the child is not attending.
Critical workers – the DfE have recently clarified the guidance in this area. Code X for sessions where the parent has not requested a school place. For sessions where a place was requested but not taken up, ascertain the reason for absence and code appropriately e.g. I for Illness, C for other circumstances, X if the child is self-isolating or shielding.
A list of who is considered vulnerable and who a critical worker can be found here: Children of critical workers and vulnerable children who can access schools or educational settings – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Provision of Remote Education
For pupils who are not able to attend due to Covid related reasons remote education must be provided.
In these circumstances the DfE expectation is that an average of 3 hours per day of work is available for primary school age children and an average of 4 hours per day for secondary school age children (with more for children who should be sitting exams)
This work must be monitored, at least weekly to check for pupil engagement. Where pupils are not engaging parents must be informed of this and discussions held to agree a way forward as it may be that the parent is unable to access online learning or needs learning provided in an alternative format.
A record of monitoring school be kept, including any parent phone calls held. This does not affect the attendance data for these children and they are still X (or C coded if a vulnerable child or a child or a critical worker).
Best practice on providing remote learning can be found here Remote education good practice – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Risk Assessments and Safeguarding
Risk assessments should be used for vulnerable children if they are not attending school. Any external agency involved with the child should be updated to ensure appropriate support– social care, in particular, if there is a social worker involved. At least weekly welfare calls should be made and the responses logged. Where there are significant concerns, home visits should be considered (in line with Covid-19 restrictions and guidance).
For children with an EHCP who were previously at home during the lockdown in 2020 a risk assessment was completed to ensure the child’s needs could be met whilst they were at home and to look at what support may be needed for individual young people. It is likely that these risk assessments will be reinstated to ensure the most appropriate support for education is in place. Part of the risk assessment may also involve planning for a return to the classroom once this is safe to do so.