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Education: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Education

UIN 43708, tabled on 5 May 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to ensure that disabled students in (a) further and (b) higher education are able to access (i) home learning and (ii) educational support during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered on

15 May 2020

The department is committed to ensuring that all pupils and students, including those who are disabled, are able to learn and access educational support during the COVID-19 outbreak. That is why we have asked educational settings to remain open for pupils and students with an education, health and care (EHC) plan where a risk assessment has determined that their individual needs can be better supported at their educational setting than at home.

For pupils and students who remain at home, while educational settings remain responsible for education provision, we have worked to help provide additional support to disabled pupils and students of all ages and needs.

We have published a list of high quality online educational resources to support home learning, including materials for children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND). This includes resources that are suitable for pupils and students with SEND of all ages, from early years to those in further and higher education settings. We will be publishing a second wave of home learning resources within the next few weeks. The initial list of resources can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-online-education-resources-for-home-education#special-educational-needs-and-disabilities-send.

In addition, to support the hard work of schools in delivering remote education for disabled pupils, the Oak National Academy launched its SEND Specialist Curriculum on 4 May. This is providing educational support to disabled children and young people with more profound needs who would normally receive their education in specialist settings. More details are available here:
https://www.thenational.academy/online-classroom/specialist/#subjects.

Furthermore, we have published detailed guidance for parents, teachers and schools on how to best provide educational support at home. This includes specific guidance for parents and carers of children and young people with SEND, which provides links to further specialist home learning resources for disabled pupils and students. Designed to cater to all needs and ages, these links include resources from the Early Years Alliance and TechAbility, a specialist organisation for students in mainstream and specialist further education colleges. More details are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-children-with-send-continue-their-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

The Office for Students has committed to protecting university students by working with providers to develop practical ways to maintain teaching quality and standards, and enable adequate exams and assessment, including for students who are disabled.