1. The NEU thinks that all parents of children in special schools and in PRUs, as in other settings, should be asked whether they can make arrangements at home, where possible.
  2. Students with SEN should only be coming into special schools or PRUs where absolutely necessary. Where a special school head deems a child or family to be at significant risk because of challenges in the home environment, the head should  consider the feasibility of offering some days' respite in school, or seek advice from the Local Authority. The head should discuss this with the parent and carer. 
  3. The DfE guidance sets out that students with EHC plans should be considered for continuing school places, “where possible” but the overall goal is to have less than 10% of students in school. The NEU does not think that every child with an EHC plan can or should remain in school.
  4. Many students with particular SEN have underlying health conditions which will mean that it is necessary for these young people to be at home and many parents fully support this. 
  5. Social distancing is now an essential part of the national UK strategy to slow the rate of infections and so the NEU advises that special schools where students won’t be able to understand (or cope with) social distancing and handwashing routines should not open, or re- open.
  6. Special schools for students with profound and multiple learning difficulties are unlikely to be able to remain open, or will only be able to take very small numbers of children of key workers or particularly vulnerable students. 
  7. Many PRUs are asking students to stay at home and are switching to telephone contact to provide ongoing nurture, emotional and safeguarding support, remotely. 
  8. Staff to pupil ratios in specialist settings exist to support student and staff safety and this means that many special schools just won’t be able to open safely because of levels of staff absence
  9. Head teachers should negotiate with their staff team about appropriate arrangements for providing remote support to parents at home, including publishing contact numbers where parents can access information and emotional support.
  10. No special school or PRU should or can face these challenging issues alone. Every Local Authority should be working across all settings, to co-ordinate information to parents and support heads. The NEU is calling on the Government to give all necessary additional support to Local Authorities. Local Authorities are going to need to seek volunteers to develop community support and advice pathways for parents –because very many parents will face enormous pressure, isolation and anxiety.