Social distancing is "almost impossible" for SEN children

Social distancing in schools can be difficult at the best of times, but social distancing amongst children with special educational needs is "almost impossible".

The official government guidance is that school staff should follow good hygiene routines and obey social distancing and in doing so they will not require PPE.

However, the teachers at Birchwood Special school in Melton Mowbray have all been wearing masks, gloves and gowns and say they're extremely grateful for it- despite feeling a bit uncomfortable in the hot weather.

Head teacher Rosalind Hopkins decided she was taking no chances when it came to the safety of her staff and pupils in an environment where social distancing seemed unachievable.

Special Educational Needs (SEN) teacher Robbie Hesketh admits he was concerned about how the children would react to their teachers wearing masks. He says that not seeing teachers' faces could have easily been a barrier to the children's learning and he was expecting a detrimental impact.

But instead he says the children in his class have adapted to the change and have shown "phenomenal resilience".

Robbie says that the children have now learnt to focus on different aspects of body language and concentrate more on the words that the teachers are telling them.

He added: "I've never been so proud to work with these children, they are super beings, incredible, it's humbling to be able to work with them".

Staying at home can be more disruptive to the lives and routines of children with special educational needs and disabilities, and parents can also miss out on valuable respite care.

Birchwood school- like so many others throughout the country- are trying to help parents home school their children, but its hard to replicate the specialist facilities at the school.

Every day school activities such as physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, rebound therapy, and music therapy are hard to emulate at home without specially trained teachers on hand.

At Homefield Special Needs College in Loughborough they don't have PPE but are using social distancing and technology to help their pupils learn.

They are using external work placements so that students can still attend college during the coronavirus outbreak.

Tom says staying at home and not being allowed out was causing him to feel depressed. He said he really missed his friends and the staff and he is now delighted to be back at the college.

He had a special message for NHS workers:

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