Vulnerable groups update for headteachers and safeguarding leads

14 Jan 2022

Update for headteachers and safeguarding leads

The government is looking closely at the daily data relating to the Omicron variant impact on schools although there are no current plans to introduce new restrictions at the moment.

In Ealing, pupil attendance is currently:

  • 91% primary
  • 87% high
  • 84% special

However, attendance is lower amongst pupils with EHCP (86%) and children with social workers (83%).

All schools are experiencing some adverse impact on staffing levels with half of all schools experiencing absence levels of over 10% last week and a small number of schools experiencing absences of over 20% in both teaching and non-teaching staff. However, data returns this week indicate an improving picture.

Vulnerable pupils

In the event of attendance restrictions, we ask schools and settings once again to prioritise vulnerable pupils and to ensure face to face teaching and support wherever possible. Please note the DfE expanded definition of vulnerability updated on 2 January as:

Vulnerable children and young people include those who:

  • are assessed as being in need under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, including children and young people who have a child in need plan, a child protection plan or who are a looked-after child
  • have an education, health and care (EHC) plan
  • have been identified as otherwise vulnerable by educational providers or local authorities (including children’s social care services), and who could therefore benefit from continued full-time attendance. This might include:
    • children and young people on the edge of receiving support from children’s social care services or in the process of being referred to children’s services or who have previously received support from children’s social care services (as identified by local authorities)
    • adopted children or children on a special guardianship order
    • those at risk of becoming NEET (‘not in employment, education or training’)
    • those living in temporary accommodation
    • those who are young carers
    • those who may have difficulty engaging with remote education at home (for example due to a lack of devices or quiet space to study)
    • care leavers
    • children and young people in a family circumstance presenting challenges for them, such as drug and alcohol misuse, parental offending, adult mental health issues and domestic abuse
    • others at the provider and local authority’s discretion including pupils and students who need to attend to receive support or manage risks to their mental health

We ask that schools continue to maintain strong safeguarding systems including:

  • Identification of all vulnerable pupils
  • Assessment and monitoring systems for these pupils in the event of attendance restrictions
  • Proportionate monitoring of any increased vulnerability due to any covid-related pressures
  • Assurance that all children have re-engaged in full-time education following the Christmas holiday

The following Ealing resources developed from best practices in earlier phases of the pandemic. They are designed to support and strengthen schools’ current safeguarding procedures. *You must log in to EGfL to view some information:

Any attendance concerns should be raised with the school attendance team on 020 8825 5040.

Social workers and SEN case workers should also be notified where applicable.

Finally, please note the following key dates for designated safeguarding leads and contact Sinead Galbraith for further details.

  • 2 February 2022
  • 30 March 2022
  • 18 May 2022
  • 22 June 2022

Lightning briefings every Wednesday from 9.30 – 9.45am

Kind regards

Julie Lewis, Director Learning, Standards and School Partnerships

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020 8825 8333/07545 412 221
Last updated: 14 Jan 2022

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