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Covid-19 / Coronavirus - SEND resources and information (WCC)

We have created this page on the SEND Local Offer to share resources and information that may be useful to families and those working with children and young people who have special educational needs and disabilities.

We will also add any relevant updates from specific services as they become available.

For general information from the Council regarding the Coronavirus (Covid-19) please follow this link:

https://www.westminster.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

IMPORTANT UPDATE

Please click this link to view an open letter from Vicky Ford MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, regarding the Coronavirus Bill and how this will relate to support for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.


Please click the sections below for more information / resources relating specifically to SEND.




Information for SENCOs and School Staff (including Government Guidance)

Government Guidance

We are aware that guidence for schools has been released rapidly and is chaging regularly. This document provides a summary of all guidence issued to schools and local authorities by the DfE and is up-to-date as of 24 March. We will endevour to provide updates as and when they are avalable

Handwashing advice

The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and whenever you return home.

Department for Education coronavirus helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

  • Phone: 0800 046 8687
  • Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday), 10am to 4pm (Saturday to Sunday)

If you work in a school, please have your unique reference number (URN or UKPRN) available when calling the hotline.


Provisions for vulnerable children and young people

The government have issued guidance around provisions being made for vulnerable children and young people.

The starting point for all pupils with an EHCP is stay at home if you can and it is safe to do so

This particular point emphasised in the guidance

"1. Many children and people with EHCP can remain safely at home”. 

  • You should stay at home if you are unwell or your household is self-isolating because someone in the home is symptomatic
  • You should also stay at home if you have underlying health conditions (referred to as ‘shielding’)
  • The offer is there for those (who are not symptomatic) because they can’t stay at home
    Families who appear to be going into crisis will be flagged to social care

Special schools, colleges and local authorities are advised to make case by case basis risk assessments of pupils and students with EHCPs. For some children, a daily risk assessment may be appropriate.

  • Some pupils have significant underlying health needs, such as significant respiratory conditions for whom the virus presents a life-threatening risk, and others may not able to adopt self-care hygiene strategies as defined by Public Health England. Some pupils may need ‘hand-to-hand’ contact to access provision or require intimate care. A key risk is that staff could, unwittingly, pass on the virus because of the close physical proximity that is necessary with that child.

Template risk assessments

With the above in mind, the Local Authority have developed a template risk assessement which has been tested by some local schools. Please see links below to access this:

Useful SEND resources for parents and SENCOs

Below are some resources that have been collated from various sources and that you may find useful for discussing coronavirus with children and young people with SEND.

As a starting point - website The Sensory Projects, has collated a range of resources aimed as supporting children and young people with a range of special educational needs and disabilities.

Posters / leaflets / information

Talking to young people with SEND

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Tutorials

General resources

  • The British Psychological Society have issued this document providing support and advice for schools and parents / carers following school closures.
  • Our Qualified Teacher for Visual Impairment has produced this useful list of apps that your child might enjoy.

Local Update - SEN Outreach Support

Our SEN Outreach Services are continuing to provide support to schools and families. This includes the support of autism advisory teachers; qualified teachers of the deaf; qualified teachers for vision impairment; SEN occupational therapy, and the support of our speech, language and communication needs advisory teacher.

The teams will be flexible in their approach so that they can provide remote support to school staff and families as well as support in any local settings that vulnerable children and young people are continuing to attend.

The Service Offers for these teams are available via the links below. 

During this period, we are operating the following points of contact for queries to these services. Please use the general mailboxes where indicated, as this will enable us to manage capacity and allocate resource centrally: 

Local update - Autism Support

Our Autism Outreach Services are continuing to provide support to schools and families.

The team will be flexible in their approach so that they can provide remote support to school staff and families as well as support in any local settings that vulnerable children and young people are continuing to attend.

The Service Offers for the team is available via the link below.

During this period, we are operating the following points of contact for queries to the service. Please use the general mailbox where indicated, as this will enable us to manage capacity and allocate resource centrally:

The following resources may also be useful for supporting children and young people with autism:

Local update - Sensory Impairment

Our Sensory Impairment Teams are continuing to provide support to schools and families. This includes the support qualified teachers of the deaf and qualified teachers for vision impairment.

The teams will be flexible in their approach so that they can provide remote support to school staff and families as well as support in any local settings that vulnerable children and young people are continuing to attend.

The Service Offers for these teams are available via the links below.

During this period, we are operating the following points of contact for queries to these services. Please use the general mailboxes where indicated, as this will enable us to manage capacity and allocate resource centrally:

More details regarding the Sensory Impairment Offer following school closures can be found in the team’s Spring Newsletter, which has just been published, and further useful resources that have been produced by the team are as follows:

Furthermore, the National Deaf Children's Society have also produced a page dedicated to providing information for families following the school closures.

Local update - SEND Health Services

As a local area we continue to work closely with NHS colleagues who support CYP with SEND.

At this time the NHS is working to respond to the Covid 19 Pandemic, which means that some services will be re-directed to support with these efforts. We recognise that this will mean a change to some SEND services received by CYP and, for this reason, we are staying in close contact so that we understand any implications as soon as possible.

We will endeavour to keep you updated on the currently available SEND health offer. 

Local update - Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health

We know that the uncertainty and significant changes taking place currently will have an impact on the emotional wellbeing and mental health of many children and young people in the borough.

It is critical that all children, young people and their families are aware of the available support and are able to access this over the coming weeks and months.

There is a wide range of support available that can be accessed online, by phone and by text. In addition to this, our usual face-to-face services are adapting their approaches, so as to be able to continue to provide support remotely.

Please follow this link for a leaflet that sets out available support for children and young people ‘Knowing your mental health’


Free online counselling support for Children and Adults

Kooth  Kooth is an online counselling and emotional wellbeing platform for children and young people, accessible through mobile, tablet and desktop and free at the point of use.  Students can chat online to professionally accredited counsellors.  It provides services for the NHS and is part-funded by the National Lottery.
 
Relate   Support, guidance and counselling services for families and young people, through private online chat rooms and phone calls.  When families are going through a tough time, Relate offers support to help everyone settle.
 
Childline  Childline is yours – a free, private and confidential service where you can talk about anything. Whatever your worry, whenever you need help, they are there for you online, on the phone, anytime.


The Social Emotional Learning Programme - MindUP - have released some free resources that can be accessed from any device and printed.

Local update - Early Years and Childcare

For the latest information regarding Early Years and Childcare support, please visit our Family Information Service website

Last Updated 01/04/2020

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