25.03.2020 MINISTER FORD'S Letter

Dear colleagues,

This is an open letter distributed through as many of our partner organisations as possible. I would be grateful if you could circulate it as widely as possible to children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), their parents/carers and families, and all others who support them.

This is an unprecedented, uncertain and testing time for all of us due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It is particularly challenging for children and young people with SEND, their families, and those who work tirelessly to support and care for them.

This is why, over the past week, we have made announcements and issued guidance about how we will meet the needs of children and young people with SEND during this challenging time. As the Minister responsible for SEND, I wanted to write to let you know that we are committed to doing everything possible to support you during this difficult time.

We are working in partnership with many organisations, including the National Network for Parent Carer Forums and the Council for Disabled Children, to make sure we are focusing our efforts in the right places. In all our decisions, the needs

of SEND children and young people and their families and carers, and safeguarding these vulnerable groups, are at the forefront of our minds.

The Government published guidance about supporting vulnerable children on 22 March. It includes a number of frequently asked questions and is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronaviruscovid19guidanceonvulnerablechildrenandyoungpeople. We have also published new guidance that provides household isolation advice for children and young people who live in residential settings, and the staff that support them. This guidance is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronaviruscovid19guidanceonisolationforresidentialeducationalsettings.

The guidance on supporting vulnerable children states that local authorities, nurseries, schools, special schools, colleges and other training providers should undertake a risk assessment to establish the individual needs of each child or young person with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan. This assessment should incorporate the views of the child or young person and their parents. This will inform the decision about whether they should continue in school or college, or whether their needs can be met at home safely.

If needs are best met at schools or colleges, we will support their school or college to meet their needs, wherever possible. For those on SEN support, schools, colleges and local authorities have discretion to use the same risk judgement to decide whether home or school is the safest setting for these children. It is, however, important that as many children as possible remain at home during this time in order to help reduce transmission rates.

On 19 March, the Government introduced new legislation into Parliament, in the form of the Coronavirus Bill (‘the Bill’), in response to the outbreak (https://services.parliament.uk/bills/201921/coronavirus.html).

Our overwhelming aim for SEND, through the Bill and the proposed changes to regulations that are to follow, is to balance the needs of this vulnerable group to receive the support they need with managing the demands on local authorities and health bodies to respond to this outbreak. As a result, we have included in the Bill temporary emergency powers to enable us, where necessary, to modify the legal requirements on local authorities in fulfilling their duties in relation to EHC plans.

In practice, this will mean that where a local authority is, because of the outbreak, unable, for example, to put in place stated provision, they will need to use their reasonable endeavours to do this, but won’t be penalised for failing to meet the existing duty as set out in the Children and Families Act 2014. These emergency powers will only be exercised for the shortest period and where necessary, and will be regularly reviewed. We will also be seeking to amend regulations on the timescales for EHC plan processes where this is appropriate because of COVID19. I want to reiterate that these decisions are not taken lightly but I believe strike the right balance in these difficult times.

I encourage you to keep up to date by regularly checking the gov.uk webpages, and raise awareness of the DfE Coronavirus helpline we have established for local authorities, providers and parents to get information on the latest Government advice. The number is 0800 046 8687, and lines are open 8am-6pm (Monday – Friday), and 10am – 4pm (Saturday and Sunday).

I realise that the impact of these extraordinary circumstances on this group of children and young people can be particularly acute. This is why I have asked the Council for Disabled Children, in partnership with Contact, to ensure that their websites and forums regularly update both families and services on information, which is available to support them. I have also asked them to collate any questions and queries from stakeholders so that we can maintain as many routes of contact as possible into Government to ensure our actions continue to be focused on prioritising where help is most needed.

The challenges we are now facing serve to further highlight the importance of ensuring the system of support for children and young people with SEND is as effective as possible in the future. Rest assured that completing our review of the SEND system remains a priority for me and for the Government. In light of the current situation, we will think carefully about the right way and timescale to do this. Right now my focus, like yours, is on managing the current situation and keeping vulnerable children safe and supported.

I know that by working together, we can ensure that children and young people with SEND receive the support they need during this difficult time.

Yours sincerely,

Vicky Ford MP

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families

 

Ofsted commented;

“You care deeply about the pupils and are determined to make sure that your school provides the nurturing environment that they need.”

“Pupils are happy at your school, they say that there is always someone to talk to and that their views are valued. Parents and carers praise the improvements in their children’s behaviour and attitudes to learning.”

“You and your team are acutely aware of the importance of ensuring that every pupil is safeguarded from harm.”

Results

 

Student Outcomes 2018-19

The Staff and Management Committee are delighted to celebrate the results of our 2018-2019 cohort.

Foundry College is more than a school where staff deliver the curriculum.  We are an environment where pupils are able to learn for life through a wealth of different experiences and enrichment opportunities. Staff support our pupils not only as highly qualified experts in their different curriculum fields, but also as daily mentors. Our educational expertise,  personal commitment and dedication to improving the life experiences of  vulnerable young people make significant contributions to building pupils' resilience and fostering a culture of mutual respect and co-operation.

Our primary focus is to work hard with pupils to help them secure the best outcomes they can and to improve their chance of success in further education, training or employment.

Year 2

One student was eligible for KS1 SATs and was assessed to be at the National standard.

Year 6

One of two students eligible for KS2 SATs was assessed to be at the National standard.  The second student was disapplied by their home school.

Year 11

The summer 2019 cohort once again exceeded realistic expectation with 15 of 19 students achieving at least one level 2 qualification.

All 19 students were entered for a qualification in both English and Maths, with 9 students achieving GCSE passes in each subject and 7 students achieving passes in both GCSE English and GCSE Maths.  8 students were entered for double Science, with 7 students achieving at least one grade 4 and 4 students achieving passes in both GCSEs.

Qualifications were also obtained in a further thirteen other subjects, including a range of traditional academic GCSEs and a selection of vocational options.

Thank you to everyone involved in the partnership without which these excellent outcomes for our pupils would not have been possible.

Miss Jay Blundell— Headteacher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Useful Links

Headteacher: Miss Jay Blundell

Foundry College

Budges Gardens

Wokingham

Berkshire

RG40 1PX

Tel: 0118 334 1510

admin@foundry.wokingham.sch.uk

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