Almost a fifth of pupils with special education needs are absent from school, according to government figures, as parents find their children shut out by rigid coronavirus rules.
According to data published last week, 81% of children in England with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) at state-funded schools were in attendance on 24 September, compared with 88% of all children.
Parents and campaigners have told the Observer that children with special education needs and disabilities (Send) are missing out on school due to problems with infection control, timetables and transport. “We’re hearing from families of disabled children who have not been permitted to return or have been put on part-time timetables,” said Gillian Doherty of Send Action. “Other children have had the provision they rely on to access education reduced or removed. The gap between rhetoric and reality needs to be acknowledged so it can be addressed.”