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Coronavirus SEND easements to remain in place

25 March 2021

Despite the Government’s decision to remove Care Act easements, measures which allow the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to amend parts of the Children and Families Act (CFA) 2014 to let local councils use only “reasonable endeavours” to provide named needs in Disabled children’s Education, Health and Care plans (EHC plans) will stay in place.

Under the Coronavirus Act, a school also no longer has a duty to admit a Disabled child if that school was named in the child’s EHC plan.

Disability Rights UK, The Alliance for Inclusive Education, Liberty and Inclusion London have written to the Education Secretary to ask him to remove the CFA easements from the Coronavirus Act.

DR UK Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “There is no consistency in scrapping the Care Act easements and keeping the CFA easements. It is just plain wrong that we are putting back the human rights of Disabled adults but not those of Disabled children.”

ALLFIE Policy and Campaigns Co-ordinator Simone Aspis told Disability News Service that some local authorities and schools had used the CFA easements last year when they were introduced, but: “some local authorities and schools are still acting as though those easements are still in place” even though they have not been switched on since last July.

“It is very serious in terms of the impact. It could end up with more and more children being out of school, being denied access to education and falling behind in the progress they could be making, and not having the same opportunities.

“We could be finding ourselves with a lost generation of Disabled people as a result of this.”