This article has been brought to you by Slough Borough Council's Interim Service Lead for Inclusion Children, Learning and Skills, John Wood, for the attention of all Slough school headteachers.
In preparation for the start of term two guidance documents have been attached at the bottom of this article. The first being an update to earlier guidance issued on 27th July and the second being a copy of guidance which has been prepared for parents.
Attendance Guidance for Schools
The main change to the previous version is the inclusion of government guidance (issued 6th August) which provided greater clarity on the COVID-19 reasons why CYP might not be able to attend school in the new academic year (pages 2-3) and the creation of a new category for use in the school attendance register, ‘Non Attendance at school due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)’. The guidance makes it clear that as soon as any of these scenarios apply that remote learning should be ‘immediately available’.
Attendance Advice for Parents
This is intended to compliment the guidance issued to schools and will be placed on the FIS site, TheLink, SBC Website and will be shared with Special Voices.
Feedback from Special Voices
The main issue reported by individual parents was the lack of direct contact from some schools about their plans for next term and that in some cases that the poor communication had continued from the start of the lockdown.
Special Voices put particular emphasis on the lack of consistency and quality of support from Slough Schools – some schools had gone ‘above and beyond’ whilst other didn’t seem to have tried. Perhaps, most worryingly, some parents of children with the most complex needs reported that when contacted by schools regarding the return to school in September they felt they were actively being discouraged from attending.
This unfortunately mirrors feedback received by the SEND service during lockdown and in June when school attendance was being expanded. Such an stance is clearly contrary to government guidance and to the whole spirit of inclusion. Full attendance is expected but where this is not practicable a robust audit trail needs to be in place in which both schools and parents have roles to play and which is emphasised in the guidance.