The Secretary of State for Education has issued a notice to extend the temporary changes to the law on what provision has to be made currently for those children & young people with Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans.

The temporary changes to the law have been in force since 1 May and are now extended to 30 June. Once the notice expires, the Secretary of State can issue a further notice for a period of up to a month if it would be appropriate and proportionate to do so in the context of coronavirus.

The Department for Education (DfE) will keep this under close review.

DfE has also taken the opportunity to publish an updated version of Changes to the law on education, health and care needs assessments and plans due to coronavirus.

As part of the government’s commitment to reducing the word gap, the Department for Education (DfE) and Public Health England (PHE) are leading a joint programme of work as part of the Social Mobility Action Plan (SMAP). One element of this is that the Institute of Health Visiting has been commissioned by PHE to develop training for health visitors to:

  • promote a strengths-based approach to supporting parents and carers of pre-school children with their child’s speech, language and communication development;
  • to support early identification and appropriate signposting to speech language and communication services.

We need to establish a baseline in relation to health visitors’ current knowledge of speech, language and communication. This will help us to shape the planned training and the development of resources which we will be rolling out in 2019.

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The Institute is delighted to be part of an exciting multi-million investment to support children’s early communication skills as announced by the Department of Education this week – commissioned to deliver new training for health visitors in speech, language and communication.

The government announcement launched projects to improve children’s early language and literacy, and boost parents’ confidence with home learning. It will fund educational games, apps and text message ‘tips’ for parents and carers from disadvantaged backgrounds, helping them to interact with their children when at home or out and about, making everyday activities an opportunity for learning.

It also includes funding for additional training for health visitors which the Institute has been commissioned to deliver. The new speech, language and communication training for health visitors will help to identify speech, language and communication needs early on, helping to address and support concerns when they can have the most impact.