Coronavirus Vital Education, Training and Childcare Provisions: Remote Education
The latest from our Coronavirus Campaign including a legal update, plus temporary continuity directions from the Government around remote education, training and childcare provisions.
Welcome to ALLFIE’s Coronavirus Campaign update for October covering:
- Coronavirus Act amendments
- What does the law say?
- Specific guidance around remote education for Disabled students
Coronavirus Act amendments
We are pleased to report that the Coronavirus Act’s directions have been amended so that schools will be under a statutory duty to provide remote education for compulsory school-aged children affected by Covid-19 from October 22nd. The direction will be in place until the end of the school academic year 2020-21. This is a fundamental change because the Secretary of State for Education will have the legal power to force schools to provide remote education for their pupils.
What does the law say?
The Covid-19 temporary continuity directions surrounding education, training and childcare provisions state that:
- State funded schools must provide remote education for classes, groups of pupils and individual pupils who are self-isolating due to Covid-19 or are not in school in accordance to Covid-19 secure guidance.
- State funded schools must provide remote education for school registered pupils during local and national lockdown restrictions.
- State funded schools must consider any guidance given by the Secretary of State for Education relating to the provision of remote education in accordance with this direction.
- The Secretary of State can make an application to the high or county courts for an injunction to force schools to comply with their duty to provide remote education for their pupils because of Covid-19.
- Schools have been provided with financial support to provide school-registered pupils from financially disadvantaged backgrounds online devices and internet connections.
The regulation does not impose a duty upon further and higher education institutions to arrange remote education when on-site education cannot be provided for their registered students.
The Department for Education have published their own guidance that includes good practice, online resources and case studies alongside financial assistance to support online learning, including distributing devices to individual students
The Disabled Students Allowance scheme has also published guidance on making an application for support during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Secretary of State for Education’s remote education direction is available here.
Specific guidance around remote education for Disabled students
There appears to be minimum specific guidance regarding disabled students, including good practice around making remote learning accessible and inclusive of disabled students within schools, further education (including apprenticeships) and higher education institutions.
We have called for the following:
- The same duty for all education institutions to arrange remote education under the revised Secretary of State for Education’s direction that is inclusive of all disabled students.
- The courses that disabled students have enrolled onto will be provided in a different manner if remote education is an unsuitable method of learning for them.
- The Department for Education’s statutory guidance clearly setting out who is responsible for making various aspects of remote education inclusive of disabled students under both the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018,and Equality Act provisions. This would cover local authorities, education institutions, virtual learning platforms and online lesson providers.
- Greater Government enforcement regarding education institutions with websites and virtual online platforms that fail to comply with the requirements under The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018.
- OFSTED and Office for Students and other inspection bodies must have the power to inspect remote education arranged by education providers.
- The Department for Education must clearly set out that remote education should complement rather than replace face-to-face learning.
- The Department for Education must publish inclusive remote education good practice guidance.
For all Covid-19 news and updates see our Coronavirus Campaign homepage