Special Needs Assessment Service (SNAS)- Coronavirus
Wandsworth Special Needs Assessment Service (SNAS): COVID-19 update
This guidance note should be read in conjunction with the government’s latest guidance on Education, health and care needs assessments and plans: guidance on temporary legislative changes relating to coronavirus (COVID-19), published 30 April 2020
Also the previous official guidance on vulnerable children and young people.
As a service, we are committed to ensuring that our children with special educational needs and disabilities continue to be supported during the current circumstances as a result of the virus outbreak.
Following the government’s advice to socially distance, the team are working remotely until further notice. We are successfully using a range of technology to hold virtual meetings and access information and reports to inform our work.
If you have an enquiry, or would like to speak with a member of the Service over the phone please email to SNASparents@richmondandwandsworth.gov.uk .
Please email with your child’s school in the subject bar and in the content of the email your child’s name, your contact details and brief details of your enquiry. We can then ensure the right member of the team gets back to you as soon as possible.
If your child does not have a school place currently, please write ‘no school place’ in the subject bar.
Our other email addresses continue as usual:
EHC Needs Assessment requests: EHCArequests@richmondandwandsworth.gov.uk
EHCP Annual reviews: AnnualReviews@richmondandwandsworth.gov.uk
New requests for statutory assessment of a young person’s Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs.
During these challenging times, we will be following government advice and continuing to process requests for EHC assessments.
Schools and parents should email requests and accompanying evidence to the EHCArequests email above. We will not be able to access hard copies received by post.
For the period from 1st May to 25th September, the government has temporarily modified the regulations related to the statutory timescales for EHC needs assessments.
This change in the law can only be applied where, in a particular case, it is not reasonably practicable or impractical for the local authority, health commissioning body or other body to carry out what is required due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The guidance provides examples of exceptions:
- The local authority is unable to meet the initial 6 week deadline because of a reason related to coronavirus (ie a high level of staff sickness), then it must instead reach that decision as soon as practicable.
- A reason related coronavirus may make it impractical to complete the next stage of the process on time eg if medical advice is required but the practitioner providing that advice has been moved to another part of the health service.
In all cases the LA needs to proceed as soon as we can rather must still secure all of the required advice and information in order to be able to issue a plan.
EHC assessments currently in progress
Where a child’s or young person’s assessment has already been agreed we will endeavour to complete the process within the 20 week timeframe where we have already received the necessary information and with any further reports received.
School attendance for children and young people with EHC Plans
All pupils with an EHC Plan are eligible to attend school, however parents/carers may decide that it is in the child’s best interests for them to remain at home given the government’s advice on social distancing and shielding, especially for children and young people with medical needs. If you are keeping your child at home for their wellbeing or concerns about potential exposure to infection, then your child's school place will be maintained.
Schools are carrying out risk assessments for all children and young people who have an EHC plan. The risk assessment will decide whether they are able to have their needs met at home, and be safer there, or whether they need to be in an educational setting. Risk assessments should include consulting with the nursery, school or college and with the parents and carers, and should also capture and consider the views of the child or young person. If the risk assessment decides that a child or young person with an EHC plan will be safer at home, the Department for Education (DfE) recommends they stay at home. The majority of children and young people with EHC plans have been at home, and we expect that this will continue until schools are allowed to open up more.
Provision for children and young people with EHCPs
The expectation is that the provision described in a child’s EHC Plan will continue to be delivered as far as is possible and practicable. However, on the 30th April the government modified section 42 of the Children and Families Act 2014, which means that the duty to secure or arrange provision in an EHC Plan is temporarily modified to using ‘reasonable endeavours’ under the current restrictions and circumstances. Currently this modification is in place from May 1st to the 31st.
This means that where an education or health provider cannot fulfil the provision in a young person's EHC Plan during this time, they must instead seek to support their needs in a different way, for example, therapists might offer support virtually rather than face to face. We are currently working in collaboration with schools and other partners and providers across the local area to support them to consider reasonable endeavours as best they can in collaboration with families. For example, schools are doing their best to ensure that children are supported, and that impact is minimised. Many schools are setting online work, delivering virtual lessons and have resources and guidance available on their websites. We recommend discussing appropriate home learning resources with your child’s school.
Any changes or reductions to a child’s or young person’s provision during the outbreak will not be considered as a permanent change to what is described in their EHC Plan.
SNAS depends on information from schools and professionals in order to review and amend EHC Plans. The government has not suspended the duty for LAs to annually review EHCPs but has legislated to provide extra flexibility over the timing of these reviews. Where it is impractical for a local authority to complete an annual review of a plan within the prescribed timescales due to coronavirus, then the we must complete it as soon as reasonably practicable.
We are encouraging schools to electronically gather and share reports and views amongst the family and professionals and to hold a virtual team around the child meeting where this is possible. We appreciate that some schools and families are better skilled and equipped to do this than others and acknowledge that some reviews will need to be delayed. While meetings might take a different format, they should still involve all the key professionals wherever possible and continue to ensure that the child or young person is at the centre of the process. We will ask schools to prioritise reviews where there is a forthcoming transition eg for children in their nursery year, in year 5 and year 11.
The Special Needs Assessment Service (SNAS) is responsible for carrying out the statutory assessment process for individual children and young people with special educational needs to find out what their needs are, and what help they can be offered.
The service is for Wandsworth residents.
This service provides:
- information about your child's additional needs;
- extra support for your child's additional needs; and
- methods of improving your child's ability to learn.
Typically, a professional, such as a teacher, health worker or educational psychologist collects information about your child and completes a report about the support needed. Parents should discuss the process with the school SENCO/Learning Support where applicable. Parents and the child or young person will be invited to express their views.
You will be required to submit any other professionals' reports you may have to assist in the assessment.
Parents and carers can also request an Education Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment.
The attached SNAS Caseload and School Allocation documents, give the names and emails of the Case Managers along with which primary schools and nurseries, or secondary schools and colleges are in their allocations. They also list the Case Work Assistants and their telephone numbers. For general SNAS enquiries please email firstname.lastname@example.org
For EHC Needs Assessment requests EHCArequests@richmondandwandsworth.gov.uk
For EHCP Annual reviews please email AnnualReviews@richmondandwandsworth.gov.uk
For complaints please email SNAScomplaints@richmondandwandsworth.gov.uk
Who to contact
- 020 8871 8061
Where to go
- Town Hall
Wandsworth High Street
- SW18 2PU
- Get directions
Time / Date Details
- When is it on
- Monday - Friday: 9am - 5pm
- Age Ranges
- From 0 years to 24 years
To use this service you can request an EHC Needs assessment for your child or young person. If possible, consult the Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator (SENCO) at the child's school.
Last updated: 10 Jul 2020