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Welcome to the EQUALS
News and Discussion Forum

This forum is for professionals working with pupils with learning difficulties and disabilities
(PMLD, SLD and MLD). There are articles and news items from Peter Imray; our Director of Developments and from other EQUALS Trustees.

You can also read about new and exciting developments from the EQUALS charity.

We also welcome contributions from members, so should you wish to contribute an entire post, please email your item to our Strategic Development Officer; Paul Buskin at



Guidance for special schools, specialist colleges, local authorities and any other settings managing children and young people with complex special educational needs and disability (SEND).

This guidance advises local authorities to conduct risk assessments and makes suggestions and recommendations for how that might be done in collaboration with educational settings and parents. It has been put together with help from special educational needs and disability (SEND) sector organisations and outlines pragmatic approaches that local authorities, educational settings, and parents or carers may wish to take.

For Information – Worcestershire have already issued risk assessment forms to be completed and returned by the end of this week.

Special Needs Jungle website has some useful articles about the lockdown and children with SEND including:

  • How is the coronavirus lockdown affecting the mental health of children with SEND?
  • Coronavirus: Sensory resources for children with SEND
  • Why the Coronavirus lockdown adjustment for people with disabilities and mental health conditions was the right thing to do
  • Could remote hearings be the new normal at the SEND Tribunal?
  • Care in a time of coronavirus (ii): Using health direct payments to pay family members for care


Kim Taylor, Headteacher at Spring Common has produced a document that has been sent to all Birmingham Special Schools about PPE recommended use. To view this please click on the PDF image below.

– Updated 30th April

Updated to include that some schools, further education providers and early years providers have contacted us asking us to publish the report of their recent inspection. We had said that we would publish those reports only when providers reopen as normal for all children/students. We are now writing to all providers with reports in the pipeline to ask whether they would like their report published as soon as possible. If they say yes, we will publish their report shortly.


Health and care needs assessments and plans due to coronavirus
– 30th April

The DfE have released a notice to modify section 42 of the Children and Families Act 2014. This modifies the duty on local authorities to secure SEN provision and on health commissioning bodies to arrange health provision in accordance with EHC plans, so that they can discharge this by using reasonable endeavours.

It includes an introduction of the Special Educational Needs and Disability (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020. This temporarily amends four sets of Regulations that specify legal timescales applying to LAs, CCGs and others, mainly around processes relating to EHC needs assessments and plans.

These changes will be in force from 1st May to 25th September 2020 and they will be kept under review.

For more detail visit Special Needs Jungle –

Although this guidance is lengthy and aimed at local authorities, school leaders may find it useful to read particularly if the school or families are not getting appropriate support.

– 30th April

The DfE have published a disapplication notice with regard to pupil registration. The main points are:

  • A person is not officially a pupil at a school merely because education is provided for them at the school on a temporary basis.
  • Pupils should not be registered as pupils at the school if they attend a hub school. They should return to their own school once it reopens
  • Children who attend school on a temporary basis will still be pupils for all purposes (safeguarding, behaviour etc.) other than registration.

This notice applies from 13st – 31 st May 2020.

The Oak National Academy is providing online lessons for schools to share with parents. They have just released a range of lessons to support children and young people with complex needs. The lessons cover:

  • communication and language
  • creative arts
  • independent living
  • numeracy
  • therapies

Nearly all lessons will now be subtitled and they are als beginning to add BSL for lessons for lower age groups.