Vulnerable Groups and Children with SEND

Vulnerable Groups and Children with SEND

Leading SEND - what settings need to consider in summer 2020

This TOOLKIT aims to support schools/colleges in the planning for SEND Learners as they transition back into school/college following the COVID 19 pandemic

We know that many of the children and young people coming back to school will settle back to the routine and engage quickly in learning but for some children this may be more of a challenge.  We have provided some key sets of guidance linked to specific needs and also some general support to ensuring that those children with additional needs and SEND can get back to a settled routine and engagement in learning as quickly as possible.

SEND Toolkit


  • This Toolkit aims to support schools/colleges in the planning for SEND learners as they transition back into school/college following the COVID 19 pandemic
  • It seeks to provide advice, guidance and templates
  • It is designed to complement the DfE Guidance ‘Conducting a SEND risk assessment’
  • It is also designed to complement other transition documentation provided by DCC and/or Babcock LDP

Contents of the Toolkit

  1. DfE risk assessment and related links 
  2. Risk Assessment: EHCPs 
  3. SENCo Short Guide 4 (May 2020)
  4. EHCP Provision 
  5. Behaviour Policy Guidance 
  6. Safeguarding Policy Appendix

Risk Assessment: EHCPs

At the start of lockdown schools/colleges were asked to risk assess vulnerable children/young people. This included all those with an EHCP. This was to establish whether those learners would be as safe or safer in school.

Where schools/colleges have already completed this risk assessment and there have been no further changes made that require a review of the risk assessment, they do not need to re-do the risk assessment. 

For some learners with a risk assessment a change has occurred that means a review of the risk assessment is appropriate (i.e. those in  returning year groups) a link to a risk assessment template can be found here . This covers the risk assessment requirements laid out in the DfE SEND Risk Assessment guidance. 

In many cases schools/colleges will have their own risk assessment templates in use and we encourage the use of these where they are relevant and useful.

Settings should make their own judgements as to whether risk assessments continue to be useful for each child or young person after they have returned. For example, it may be useful to maintain these in cases where the return is initially only part-time.


SENCo Short Guide 4

As part of Babcock’s weekly SEND Update during this time, the SENCo Short Guide (no.4) gave general guidance on supporting learners and families as they return to school/college.

The practice outlined in the Guide is recommended and can be accessed here.

EHCP Provision

For those learners who have an EHCP, discussion with families will need to be held about their provision. 

Schools/colleges will be aware of the information in the link below. Schools/colleges will also find it helpful to refer to the SENCO Guide 3: Support staff & families to understand SEND

Government changes to the law due to Coronavirus 

DCC have produced a helpful framework to support schools/colleges in having conversations with parents on how the provision within the EHCP is currently being delivered. This could also be used to capture the conversation and provide the school with a helpful record of the discussion and agreement. Schools/colleges may choose to share this record with CYP/families.

There is no expectation that this needs to be returned to the LA.

We would strongly advise all schools/colleges to ensure they have some form of recording for these discussions in place.


Under the amended legislation the LA has to ensure that these discussions have taken place.

An email will be sent to all schools and colleges with the confirmed list of Devon children with EHCPs in their school.

This will be followed with a Spreadsheet asking them to confirm the outcome of the discussion about the EHCP.

For each learner with an EHCP you will be asked to select from 3 options;

  1. Yes we have had discussions with CYP/families
  2. Yes we have had discussions with CYP/families and are alerting the LA to significant issues
  3. No we have not yet had discussions with CYP/families?

For Option 2: Yes we have had discussions with CYP/families and are alerting the LA to significant issues

Schools/colleges should use option 2 when;

  • The family can not access what schools/colleges are able to provide at all AND
  • The school/college have risk assessed the learner and are not able to provide them with a space


  • A lack of therapy provision is having a significant and negative impact on the learners health and/or wellbeing

Behaviour Policy: Guidance on Amendments

This document provides guidance to support schools/colleges considering the temporary amendment of their Behaviour Policy to meet the changing circumstances related to Covid19 and can be accessed here.

At this time it is especially critical to promote a culture of strong relationships rather than one of punitive measure.

Schools/colleges will want to consider how they will re-build connection and promote strong learner/staff relationships as learners return to work in bubbles/small group situations.

Thinking through this approach at individual and whole setting level adds strength to the risk assessment process.

Safeguarding Policy Appendix

It is likely that as learners return to school/college, there will be an increase in the number of disclosures made.

Schools/colleges will want to ensure that systems for learners to talk with adults e.g. through worry boxes/bubble time are available and made known to learners.

The Safeguarding Policy Appendix went out to schools at the beginning of the summer term and can be accessed here.

Summary Check

  • For learners with an EHCP ensure there is a current Risk Assessment in place.
  • For all learners with SEN who will be attending school/college consider what adaptations will need to be made for their successful transition back
  • For learners with an EHCP ensure that you have had discussions with CYP/families on how the provision within the EHCP is now being delivered
  • Ensure staff working with learners with SEN are aware of the CYP needs, useful strategies and how provision is being delivered
  • Complete and return the EHCP Provision Spreadsheet

Remember... we are here to support you

DCC SEND & Coronavirus pages

Devon’s Local Offer

Babcock LDP support


If you have any questions please contact:

SEND Helpline 01392 287248 (9-4 everyday)

SEN 0-25 or your SEN Caseworker

SEND Adviser:

Strategic Lead for SEND & Inclusion:

Related Content & Resources

DCC Framework to support EHCPs

Supporting schools and colleges in having conversations with parents on EHCP provision

Learn more
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