Lack of Consistency about Educational Support after Covid-19

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Sarah Woosey

Interim Head of Education Law

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When we began to see some schools opening for some year groups after covid-19 closures, our Education Law Solicitors were seen growing concerns from parents who wanted to make sure that their children were getting the support they needed. Especially from parents who have children with SEND or EHCPs in place.   Funding and other resource issues have continued into the longer term.

As one of the largest teams of Education Law specialists in the UK, we’ve helped parents and children across England and Wales secure the right provisions.

How Covid-19 Impacted Children with Special Needs

A SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinators) report revealed that the Covid-19 pandemic had a large impact on pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. The report uncovered the growing concerns surrounding the provision of specialist support for children and young people with SEND.

Here are some of the key findings from the report:

  • 73% of SENCOs states that their school struggled providing virtual support for children with SEND
  • 8 in 10 found it difficult to provide individualised learning online
  • 72% of SENCOs felt their schools had challenges supporting children and young people with a EHCP
  • 1 in 10 SENCOs were happy with the level of support that they received during lockdown
  • 64.4% of SENCOs stated that they required more guidance and support from the Government

While the report focused its findings on SENCOs within schools, it highlights just how much they were struggling to offer the support that children with SEND needed. 

Out of the parents who were approached to recall their experiences during the pandemic, most parents expressed that they felt they had to push hard for statutory services. Demand for support and specialist services continues to outweigh the supply despite legal entitlements to such support. 

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Ofsted Report

In addition to the SENCO report, Ofsted also carried out their own report on the impact of the pandemic. The report discovered that the pandemic had made the already long-standing issues much worse for children with SEND.

The Ofsted report provided an overview of the disruption that was caused to the education and development of children with Special Educational Needs. It further describes just how negative the experiences were for both children and their families.

Here’s an example of some of the things that children and families experienced:

  • Missed education and learning
  • Reduced learning
  • Lack of essential services, such as speech and language support
  • Increased waiting times for assessments
  • Delays in treatment

Covid-19 Revealed Issues in the System

The already strained system buckled under the pressure of the Covid-19 pandemic. It became clear that the system hasn’t been managed how it should in order to help offer the necessary support to children and young people with SEND.

Here are some of the issues that the pandemic revealed to us:

  • Weaknesses within the educational system and health services
  • Lack of accountability within the local SEND systems
  • Not enough support for children with SEND in relation to learning essential skills

What We Can Do to Help

What is most concerning for the families we are working with currently is the lack of consistency and clear plans for the future. The world has, in most respects, returned to normal following the pandemic but children are still feeling the consequences. There are many children who missed out on their start or end of their compulsory education and have not been able to recover lost time. There are some people who missed out on essential social opportunities and parents and teachers are still seeing the impact of this. Furthermore, there are a lot of families who were impacted by losing one or more loved ones over the pandemic which may require ongoing support to deal with. 

We are seeing consistently that children and parents have found themselves in places of uncertainty, which can be difficult for many children to adapt to and places parents in a position where they are unable to plan.

If you’re concerned about the changes and uncertainty around your child’s education, talk to one of our Education Law Solicitors today.

Tips on Helping Your Children Get the Right Support

With the Covid-19 pandemic well and truly over, systems can start re-building for a better future. But as a parent with a SEND child, there are some things you can focus on to help get you and your child access to the best support.

To start, it’s important to understand that identifying that your child needs support as early as possible is the most effective way. The sooner you start on the pathway, the better.

When it comes to requesting an EHCP, you should sit back and think about what the day looks like with your child. In fact, focus on what the worst day looks like. This is an important thing to think about, as it’ll help you get the right support and implement provisions.

If your local authority refuses to assess your child or they assess but refuse to issue an EHCP, you have the right to appeal this decision

Before an EHCP is implemented, you will be given a draft version to comment on. Be ready to check this through so that you can send it back with appropriate requests for any amendments.

Speak with us about your concerns

If you have any worries or concerns about the way that your SEND child is being treated, you can come to us. Our Educational Law specialists are ready to listen to your case to see how we can help support you.

We’ll always communicate with you in plain English, so you don’t have to worry about over complicated legal jargon.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team. Wherever you are in England and Wales, we can offer you the support and advice that you need.


Nasen. (2021). Flagship SENCO report reveals the impact of Covid-19 on pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and warns of a growing divide during the third lockdown. [online] Available at:

Beth (2022). Children and young people with SEND adversely affected by COVID-19. [online] Edge Hill University. Available at:

GOV.UK. (n.d.). Children and young people with SEND disproportionately affected by pandemic. [online] Available at:

Sarah Woosey Profile Picture

Sarah Woosey

Interim Head of Education Law

Areas of Expertise:
Education Law

Sarah re-joined Simpson Millar in 2018 having previously trained at the firm before spending a number of years working for a different national firm. She has a number of years’ experience in a range of Education Law and Social Care issues and has focused particularly on getting suitable education and/or services for children and young adults with a wide range of Special Educational Needs and/or disabilities.

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