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New ‘vulnerable children’ guidance published for schools and parents

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Guidance has been published relating to vulnerable children and young people and their attendance at school during the Covid-19 crisis.

The guidance, which has been developed by the Department of Education and its education partners, is intended to support schools and parents and act as the primary source of information in relation to vulnerable children and young people attending school.

The guidance contains a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions, focussing on areas including:

– Children with Special Educational Needs (SEN);
– Information for Parents of Vulnerable Children;
– Health and Wellbeing information and
– Useful Contacts and Information Links.

Education Minister Peter Weir said: “I recognise that these are challenging times for us all. Support for our vulnerable children and young people is central to our response to Covid-19. To be clear, my position is that all vulnerable children and young people should be facilitated to continue to attend school where it is in their best interests and safe and appropriate to do so.

“I am aware that school acts as a protective factor for vulnerable children and young people. It alleviates the pressure experienced when this routine and place of safety is not otherwise available.

“However, I am also aware that schools and parents have been voicing some concerns in relation to vulnerable children and young people and their attendance at school during the current Covid-19 crisis.

“With this in mind, I have published specific guidance for vulnerable children and young people in addition to the FAQs I issued and updated in March. The guidance will be the primary source of information, for schools and parents, in relation to vulnerable children and young people attending school and will sit alongside the existing FAQs on the Department’s website.

“These guidelines will help ensure that schools have the support required to continue to deliver a safe and welcoming ‘supervised learning’ environment.”

The guidance will be continually reviewed and updated to reflect changing UK government advice and priorities.

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