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SEND information and support during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

During these unprecedented times there have been many changes made to the way we go about our lives. We have collected a lot of this information in one place as an easy go-to for you.

This section has information and advice, as well as things for you to do with your family. We will be adding to it as and when we recieve or find any new information.

Schools and educational settings re-opening

The beginning of term is always an exciting time for all children and young people although it can also bring anxieties about new schools, classes, friends, and routines.  This can be especially relevant to children and young people with SEND and particularly this year, given we remain in a pandemic situation.   

As all children and young people are individual, we appreciate that some will have found the recent period of change particularly difficult and others will have embraced new ways of learning.  Equally, we recognise the impact the pandemic has had, and continues to have, on families and home life.   

The whole of the children and young people’s sector, including early years, schools, colleges, health, and social care services, has had to adapt and respond to the pandemic.  Over the last months, there has been a great deal of learning, as reflected in evolving delivery models for all services involved in supporting children and young people and their families.   

Despite the difficulties, there have also been opportunities to re-evaluate what is important and how traditional ways of working can be adapted to meet the needs of children and young people in the current situation and in future.   

As we are now entering a new period of schools and education settings re-opening, including working within a huge amount of rapidly changing Government guidance, the links below are particularly important for further advice and information.   

For any specific information related to individual early years, school and college settings the best source of information will be their own websites.  Many settings have also created Twitter and Facebook pages to give parents and carers the most up to date and accurate information too.  Please access these pages (if they are available) as many schools and settings use alternative methods to provide information.  On visiting some of these, it is clear there has been an enormous amount of planning for recovery, re-connection and safety as the re-opening of schools, colleges and early years settings begins.  Much of this has taken place within the summer holidays and continues at pace.   

We would like our colleagues in education settings to know that their contribution has been valued and appreciated and we recognise the work that this has entailed to ensure a smooth and safe transition back into education for the September start.   

We would also like to thank children, young people and parents/carers for their continued efforts to access education, remain connected to their schools and education settings and for the way they have risen to the challenges of the last six months.  We hope you have a successful and smooth return to education. 

Thank you! 

 

Useful links about schools and education settings re-opening

 

  • You can Download: the open letter from Vicky Ford, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, to children and young people with special educational needs (SEND), their families and carers and those who work to support them.  It is available in the downloads section of the page on the right.
  •  The letter provides advice and guidance on several issues, including behaviour, risk assessments, face coverings, specialist and visiting practitioners, mental health and wellbeing, aerosol generating procedures and hospital schools, as well as linking to some of the support available to help. 

 

Amber Burton

SEND Strategy & Service Manager

Barnsley Education Inclusion Services

Government advice and contacts

The following links will be of particular interest for the families of children with SEND:

• The Department for Education has a Coronavirus helpline for education and children's social care related queries, which is available to anyone working in the sector, as well as parents. Their number is 0800 046 8687, there are advisers responding to questions between 8am-6pm Monday-Friday, and 10am-4pm on Saturday and Sunday.

• There are a number of frequently asked questions for different educational settings and for local authorities at this link:

• Guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable can be found here:

and here is the link for special schools:

. • Frequently asked questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found here:

 • Public Health England (PHE) has published easy-read guidance on how to keep yourself safe during the pandemic. A copy of their guidance can be found here:

• Also, there is an easy-read version of the shielding guidance for people whose physical health conditions mean that they are at the greatest risk from coronavirus. The easy read version of this guidance can be found here:

• Books Beyond Words have published resources about coronavirus that can be used to support those who find pictures easier to understand than words which can be found here


Other support includes:

• The charity Contact provide information and advice for families of disabled children, with support available via their Freephone Helpline (0800 808 3555) and website: 

CDC have been asked to pull together resources and to respond to frequently asked questions, the link is here:

• The Information Advice and Support Services Network can provide further help:

Press release 19/05/20

£37 million to support children with complex needs

The multi-million-pound settlement will help low-income families with seriously ill or disabled children with the cost of equipment, goods or services, read the full press release by clicking here

NHS Advice

Guidance on handwashing.

Current advice on the virus.

How to stay fit at home.

Click the following link to visit the Change for Life website for lots of information and tips on how to stay healthy https://www.nhs.uk/change4life?fbclid=IwAR2ZKlqb5PhHnrEnrtEKt8gQ--3TqCEyPZOP84NUKtUn2JrXHbDQRBypAD8

Some families may find this useful if you do need to visit hospital - important new clinical guidance for frontline staff has been published in relation to dealing with coronavirus in autistic people and people with learning disabilitiesl

. • The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health have provided an overview of when to seek medical advice on coronavirus (COVID-19). For information regarding 111 and what to do if your child is unwell, see: https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/sites/default/files/202004/covid19_advice_for_parents_when_child_unwell_or_injured_poster.pdf.

Government Whatsapp

Government advise on how you may be affected by the corona virus.

Specific advise for vulnerable groups

Do's and Dont's

How to use the Government WhatsApp chat bot 

The GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service is an automated ‘chatbot’ service which will allow the British public to get answers to the most common questions about coronavirus direct from government.

The service will provide information on topics such as coronavirus prevention and symptoms, the latest number of cases in the UK, advice on staying at home, travel advice and myth busting.

The service will also allow the government to send messages to all opted-in users if required.

To use the free GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.

A set of menu options is then presented which the user can choose from and then be sent relevant guidance from GOV.UK pages as well as links to GOV.UK for further information.

Guidance on supporting children and young peoples mental health and wellbeing/guidance for parents and carers during the Corona Virus Outbreak

The Department for Education (DfE) helpline offers guidance for anyone with education-related questions on coronavirus – from early years up to universities, plus parents.

BMBC Advice

BMBC have provided advice and important information including emergency contacts here.

You will find information on how to protect yourself, health and well being, disruption to services, finance and housing, schools and travel.

What is the Coronavirus

There are many sites offering explanations of the virus In this section we focus on how to explain it to children or adults, in an easy accesible way. For a more detailed description try the WHO site.

Save the Children description and advice on explaining it.

Child mind site includes a video to help.

YouTube has many great videos to help describe and advise about Corona Virus. Just be aware that sites like youtube need careful scrutiny to make sure content is suitable.

Doctors of the world.org.uk have shared the coronavirus information in 43 different languages

Mencap.org.uk have created this easy read guide to give advice and suppor around the coronavirus-covid-19

How this impacts on EHCPs

The advice from Government from section 21 onwards sets out the expectations on Local Authorities and other with regard to children and young people with an EHCP> It also contains information on many other areas.

The Special needs Jungle have lots of useful information here are some documents you may find useful :

https://www.specialneedsjungle.com/send-info/coronavirus-and-send-law/

https://www.specialneedsjungle.com/coronavirus-and-send-law-part-4/

IPSEA also have lots of information you may find the following document useful:

https://www.ipsea.org.uk/news/ipsea-update-on-covid-19-school-closures-and-sen-provision?fbclid=IwAR2StFoygq5O4qQIcxUGM956fr45z_qjOSjugfMeG3aufhgAJlMlQ_dZEdw&utm_source=

Supporting vulnerable children and young people during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

Please click the following link Coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people with EHC plans

This document outlines what the Government are asking Local Authorities and Education providers to offer in realtion to children and young people with EHC plans whose needs cannot be met safely in the home environment.

'Local authorities are asked to work with educational providers, families and the child or young person to carry out a risk assessment to judge whether the child or young person’s needs cannot be met safely at home.

Where the risk assessment determines a child or young person with an EHC plan will be as safe or safer at an educational setting, it may be more appropriate for them to attend the educational setting.'

Tips to keep young people busy

WE are constantly adding to our local offer page on things to do. Keep checking back, and if you have any great ideas then contact us on the Facebook page.

Supportive Apps

These are apps recommended by health professionals to support with mental health issues including low mood, anxiety, sleep issues etc. There are apps for children, teens and adults. We may be social distancing, but there is still support available; contact us, your GP, Barnsley’s mental health team / IAPT tel: 01226 644900 if you need someone to talk to.


Keep reading for more information about these apps:

Headspace


Headspace is a meditation app to help even the most distracted minds relax. You can use Headspace any time of the day, but if you have trouble sleeping it can help you nod off if you use it at bedtime. You can get the first 10 sessions for free, but need to pay for the app once you’ve completed all 10. https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app

Calm


Calm is an app to help you manage anxiety, lower stress and sleep by:
•Meditate - Learn the life-changing skill of meditation
•Sleep - Get more restful sleep and wake up feeling refreshed
•Body - Video lessons on mindful movement and gentle stretching
•Music - Exclusive music to help you focus, relax, and sleep
Calm is the perfect mindfulness app for beginners, but also includes hundreds of programs for intermediate and advanced users. Following a free trial, you have to pay for the app. https://www.calm.com/…

Wysa


Wysa is your private reflective space for when you need to get your head straight. Sometimes we get all tangled up inside our heads, unable to move on. Wysa is great at helping you get unstuck. Co-designed by therapists, coaches, users and AI folk, Wysa lets you set the pace, helps when it can, and never judges. Nothing can match the privacy of an anonymous conversation with an AI bot. Think of it as an interactive journal meets life coach. Wysa is good at asking the right probing questions, and helping you untangle and unwind after a hard day. It is free and anonymous. https://www.wysa.io/


Sleepio

Sleepio is a digital sleep-improvement program featuring cognitive behavioral therapy which delivers tailored and engaging advice, 24/7. It is clinically proven to improve sleep, mental wellbeing and productivity. Only available from the Apple Store. https://www.sleepio.com/work/nhs/#/welcome?_k=mse6c2

Worrinots
The Worrinots is an app which allows children to share their worries and fears in a fun, safe and controlled environment. The app features engaging characters, Rip, Stomp, Shakey and Chomp – who through fun and encouragement, enable children to share their worries and concerns. The Worrinots exist to urge children to speak out and manage their emotions and feelings whilst being exposed in a fun way to coping mechanisms.
The four fun characters, each with their own individual personalities and guidance styles, ‘respond’ to the children, with instructions of next steps or follow up whilst whilst ‘ripping up’, ‘chewing’ and ‘stomping on their worries!’. These character conversations are managed by a unique dual platform whereby the Worrinots App is downloaded in two parts – one which is managed by the parent / guardian and the other which is to be put in kids’ hands as a fun app. The app is free. https://www.worrinots.com/

The Zones of Regulation


The Zones of Regulation is a digital, interactive learning tool designed to help players successfully recognize and regulate their emotions and responses. The Zones of Regulation app categorizes emotions into four color-coded zones: the green zone (content, calm, focused); the red zone (anger, terror, “out of control”); the yellow zone (excited, anxious, silly); and the blue zone (sad, tired, bored). The app allows players to choose a character, and then sets them down in a town square, where they begin to learn about the four different zones. The app is heavily text-based, which means that it is not appropriate for pre-readers, and early level readers will at times struggle with the level of the language used. The app costs £5.49 on the Android Play Store.
Reach Out Worry Time
Everyone has worries pop into their head from time to time, but sometimes they won't go away and start to impact your everyday life. https://www.zonesofregulation.com/exploring-emotions-app.ht…

ReachOut WorryTime interrupts this repetitive thinking by setting aside your worries until later, so you don't get caught up in them and can get on with your day. This means you can deal with worries once a day, rather than carrying them around with you 24/7. The app is free. https://au.reachout.com/tools-and-apps/reachout-worrytime

Lincus Companion


Lincus allows you to track and improve your health and wellbeing, to get the most out of life. Lincus has been designed with you in mind, whether you are fit and healthy or have complex health needs. Lincus helps you track your life and learn what works for you (and what doesn’t) in an easy to use, accessible app. The app is free. https://lincus.rescontechnologies.com/

MeeTwo


MeeTwo is a free fully moderated app for teenagers, which provides peer support, expert help, inbuilt educational and creative resources as well as in app links to UK charities and helplines. MeeTwo is a neutral space which allows young people to experiment with what it feels like to open up without drawing attention to themselves while positive feedback and social support builds confidence, increases wellbeing and promotes emotional resilience.
Why is it different? 100% Moderation: Every post and reply is checked before it reaches the app to eliminate all bullying, judgment or humiliation. Positive feedback and support is curated into the app. https://www.meetwo.co.uk/

Mindshift CBT Canada


Free Evidence-Based Mental Health Relief
MindShift™ CBT uses scientifically proven strategies based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help you to learn to relax and be mindful, develop more effective ways of thinking, and use active steps to take charge of your anxiety.
Get the tools to tackle:
• Worry
• Panic
• Perfectionism
• Social Anxiety
• Phobias
The app is free. https://www.anxietycanada.com/resources/mindshift-cbt/

Stay Alive


The Stay Alive app is a suicide prevention resource for the UK, packed full of useful information and tools to help you stay safe in crisis. You can use it if you are having thoughts of suicide or if you are concerned about someone else who may be considering suicide.
In addition to the resources, the app includes a safety plan, customisable reasons for living, and a LifeBox where you can store photos and memories that are important to you.
You can also read the strategies for staying safe, explore the tips on how to stay grounded when you’re feeling overwhelmed, try the guided-breathing exercises and support your own wellness by creating your own interactive Wellness Plan.
The app links you directly to local and national crisis resources, so you won't need to carry around slips of paper with contact details on, it's all stored there within the app. If the resource isn't listed, simply add in your own. The app is free. https://www.hpft.nhs.uk/information-and-r…/…/stay-alive-app/

This personal guide to meditation and mindfulness fits right in your pocket!

 

Coronavirus (COVID 19):List of online educational resources for home education

Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

This initial list of SEND resources has been developed with a focus on accessibility and inclusivity and is based on the recommendations of:

  • trusted organisations
  • charities
  • multi-academy trusts
  • special education headteachers

We encourage parents, teachers and schools to explore beyond this list to identify what support is best for their children and pupils with SEND.

SEND: apps and games

(Apps must be downloaded onto a compatible device)

Brain Parade

Website: http://www.brainparade.com/products/see-touch-learn-free/

Description: a visual instruction app, including flash cards and picture-choosing games, for children with autism and special needs.

HelpKidzLearn

Website: https://www.helpkidzlearn.com/

Description: a collection of games and resources designed for a range of educational needs and stages. It includes provision for school closure.

Sensory App House Ltd

Website: https://www.sensoryapphouse.com/

Description: a range of apps are available for pupils with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) or Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD). All are interactive and many do not require significant coordination abilities.

Visuals2Go

Website: https://www.visuals2go.com/

Description: an all-in-one app created to support people with communication and learning difficulties. For verbal and non-verbal learners.

SEND: resources for teachers

Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families

Website: https://www.annafreud.org/media/11160/supporting-schools-and-colleges.pdf

Description: a downloadable guide to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of pupils and students during periods of disruption.

Registration: not required

Do2Learn (USA)

Website: https://do2learn.com/

Description: a range of downloadable resources grouped by theme. Themes include: social skills, songs and games, and picture cards.

Registration: not required

Inclusive Teach

Website: https://inclusiveteach.com/free-printable-sen-teaching-resources/

Description: downloadable teaching resources to support pupils with SEND.

Registration: not required

PMLD thematic units – from the Northern Ireland Curriculum

Website: http://www.nicurriculum.org.uk/curriculum_microsite/SEN_PMLD_thematic_units/index.asp

Description: comprehensive guidance on themed activities for learners with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD). A full sensory curriculum is offered.

Registration: not required

Priory Woods School

Website: http://www.priorywoods.middlesbrough.sch.uk/page/?title=Resources&pid=3

Description: resources from an award-winning, innovative school, rated by Ofsted as outstanding and put together by SEND teachers. The resources include apps and programmes.

Registration: not required

SEND Gateway

Website: https://www.sendgateway.org.uk/whole-school-send/find-wss-resources/nqt-videos.html

Description: A range of SEND guidance videos created in collaboration with the Centre for Education and Youth (CfEY) in addition to many other experts within the sector. Aimed at Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs).

Registration: not required

SENict Activities

Website: https://www.ianbean.co.uk/senict-members-resource-portal

Description: downloadable activities aimed particularly at Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) and Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD) learners.

Registration: not required

SEN Teacher

Website: https://www.senteacher.org/

Description: downloadable resources that can be adapted to suit the needs of pupils. Resources are aimed at a range of abilities.

Registration: not required

Speech and Language Kids

Website: https://www.speechandlanguagekids.com/free-speech-language-resources/

Description: a range of education and therapy resources for speech and language problems. A podcast is also available on iTunes for verbal and non-verbal children.

Registration: not required

Teaching Students with Visual Impairments

Website: https://www.teachingvisuallyimpaired.com/

Description: a range of downloadable resources to support blind and visually impaired pupils.

Registration: is required

UCL Centre for Inclusive Education

Website: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ioe/departments-and-centres/centres/centre-inclusive-education/homeschooling-children-send/managing-transition-home-schooling

Description: a guide to help parents adjust to remote learning by providing advice and links to resources.

Registration: not required

Ministerial Statement on changes to EHCP process during Coronavirus

Open letter from Vicky Ford, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families
Below Vicky Ford, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families writes an open letter outlining how Government plan to meet the needs of children and young people with SEND during this challenging time.

To all children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), their parents/carers and families, and others who support them

I would like to express my sincere thanks for everything you are doing at this challenging time. I also wanted to explain how the wider opening of schools and other educational settings may affect your family. This letter has been distributed through as many of our partner organisations as possible. I would be grateful if you could also circulate it widely.

I realise that this is a particularly difficult time for children and young people with SEND and their families, and I’m sure that you have lots of questions. As you will be aware, on 28 May the Prime Minister announced that the Government’s five tests had been met and, based on all the evidence, primary schools and early years’ settings will be opening to more children and young people from the week commencing the 1 June. Secondary schools and colleges will begin to offer some face-to-face support to Year 10 and 12 students and 16-19 learners taking key exams next year.

On 26 May, the Department for Education (DfE) published guidance to help colleagues working in local authorities and educational settings to support the needs of children and young people with SEND through the process of wider opening to more children and young people. The full guidance is available at this link.

We have produced this guidance with help from SEND sector organisations, including parent carer forums and representatives, to outline pragmatic approaches that local authorities, educational settings, and parents or carers may wish to take to support children and young people with SEND throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

This guidance updates our existing advice to local authorities on risk assessments to determine which children and young people should be attending their education setting. It now also includes advice on how to approach the phased return to face-to-face education for children and young people with SEND.

I want to assure you that safety will always be our primary concern. Local authorities and educational settings should work with families to bring children and young people back to face-to-face education to ensure they receive the support that every child or young person deserves.

This new guidance sets out that children and young people with SEND in mainstream and Alternative Provision settings who have not been attending and are in eligible year groups should experience the same return to their school/college or contact with their teachers as their peers without SEND in the same year group.

We recognise that each individual child with SEND has their own needs, so decisions should be based on each child’s risk assessment with families and schools working together.

Special schools, special post-16 institutions and hospital schools should work towards welcoming back as many children and young people as can be safely catered for in their setting based on risk assessments but not using their year group as a primary deciding factor. Educational settings and local authorities should keep risk assessments up to date, to ensure they are able to offer places to pupils and students, whatever year group they are in, where circumstances have changed.

I know that there has been a huge amount of change at this time, so if you want more details, you may also wish to read further guidance including:

I realise that whilst the coronavirus pandemic has affected us all, children and young people with SEND and their families have often faced particularly acute challenges. This is why I was happy to announce on 19 May that the Family Fund will receive funding of £37.3 million in 2020-21.

The Family Fund provides grants to families on low incomes who have children with disabilities or severe medical conditions, and this funding includes £10 million which has been allocated to help families in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. More details can be found here.

You can also keep up to date by regularly checking the gov.uk webpages and if you want to speak to an advisor from the DfE, please do call the DfE Coronavirus helpline which we have established for local authorities, providers and parents. The number is 0800 046 8687, and lines are open 8am-6pm (Monday – Friday), and 10am – 4pm (Saturday and Sunday).

The Council for Disabled Children has also pulled together a wide set of resources to respond to frequently asked questions.

Finally, I would like to express my personal gratitude towards all those in the SEND sector for continuing to care for, teach and support vulnerable children and young people in these difficult times.

Yours sincerely,

Vicky Ford MP Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families


The government’s updated guidance can be viewed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings?fbclid=IwAR1o7VCP841WoJMj3SLdce1UBqGE4_Hmr2ZtIHZoWlgsHvu7g-EMS_dMfhw

The following statemnet was released on the 30th of April. The document can be downloaded in the downloads section.

To all children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), their parents/carers and families, and others who support them

As Ministers responsible for children and young people with SEND and their health needs, we wanted to write to let you know that we are committed to doing everything possible to support you during this difficult time.

None of us have faced a challenge like this in our lifetimes. Our response to the pandemic has different impacts on different people, but we know that these have been particularly hard for those children and young people with complex health needs, learning disabilities, autism and behaviour that challenges, and their families.

Supporting the most vulnerable children, young people and adults is a priority for us at this time. We want to ensure that children and young people with SEND are supported as well as possible in these difficult circumstances and want to update you on some changes to the law and other actions we are taking in order to enable this.

Changes to the law We are temporarily changing the law regarding Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans in two key ways. Firstly, we have issued a notice under the Coronavirus Act 2020 confirming that local authorities and health commissioning bodies (e.g. Clinical Commissioning Groups) must now use their reasonable endeavours to secure the provision set out within a child or young person’s EHC plan. This means that local authorities and health bodies must consider, for each child and young person with an EHC plan, what they need to provide during the period of the notice. This may result in a child or young person’s provision being different from that which is set out in their EHC plan, but local authorities and health services will still seek to support the needs of the child or young person in the new circumstances we find ourselves in. For example, they may offer support virtually rather than face to face. This legal change will be in force from 1st to 31st May 2020 and may be extended.

Secondly, where a reason relating to the incidence or transmission of coronavirus applies, the usual timescales in regulations for various EHC processes will be replaced by requirements on local authorities, health care professionals and others to act as soon as reasonably practicable (or in line with any other timing


requirement in the regulations being amended). These changes will be in force from 1st May to 25th September 2020 and we will be keeping this under review.

We have published detailed guidance alongside these temporary changes.

A link to this guidance can be found at:

We know that as parents and others involved in the care of this vulnerable group, your primary concern is their health and wellbeing. As the Ministers for SEND and Care, we share those concerns and want to reassure you that these changes are temporary and all other requirements of the EHC process remain unchanged. The changes are designed to balance the needs of children and young people with the ability of local authorities and health services to respond to the outbreak.

Our aim is that, as far as practicable during this difficult period, EHC processes continue so that children and young people still get help and support whilst accepting that this may have to be done differently. We expect commissioning bodies – and the services they commission – to maintain education, health and care provision for vulnerable children, and also to extend extra support, where possible, to families in most need – recognising that home isolation is extremely hard for many children and young people with SEND and their families.

In addition, we want to emphasise that co-production, partnership and communication remain critical.

Keeping children and young people with EHC plans in education For those with EHC plans, we are asking local authorities and educational providers to work with families and the child or young person to carry out an individual risk assessment to judge whether the child or young person’s needs can be more safely met at home or at their educational setting. We recognise that some children and young people may be better off with the greater continuity and structure that education brings and that some of those with the most complex needs may need access to support that cannot be provided at home.

We have provided new guidance to help with that risk assessment process:



For parents whose children are not in school, the Department for Education has published the guidance and an initial list of resources to support access to high quality remote education during school closures:

Funding Local authorities across England will receive a further £1.6 billion to help them to deal with the immediate impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19). This takes the total funding to support councils to respond to the pandemic to over £3.2 billion. Local authorities are best placed to decide how to meet service pressures in their local


area, including within SEND and children’s social care.

We have confirmed that schools and colleges will continue to receive their usual fundingincluding from the high needs block, to support them through this period of disruption:


We are also providing financial support to schools to meet additional costs arising from Covid-19:

We hope that this letter has been helpful in setting out what we are doing at this time to support children with SEND. At the end of this letter, there are some key resources that may be helpful. Right now, our focus, like yours, is on the current situation and keeping you and your children safe and supported. We know that by working together, we can ensure that children and young people with SEND receive the support they need during this difficult time.


Yours faithfully,





Helen Whately MP Minister of State for Care






Vicky Ford MP Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families

 

Apply now for Family Fund emergency funding for families on low income

Family Fund has received extra funding worth £10 million from the Department for Education to provide grants for families on low incomes raising disabled or seriously ill children in England this year.

This emergency funding has been provided in response to the crisis presented by the Coronavirus pandemic and will help more parents and carers to look after their children. Families can apply for grants to make their lives easier while implementing social distancing measures, including computers and tablets, outdoor play equipment and sensory toys.

The multi-million-pound settlement was announced by Children and Families Minister Vicky Ford, who said “Our first priority remains the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable children, including those with special educational needs and disabilities. I know that these unprecedented times may put additional pressure on families, particularly those whose children have the most complex needs, and these parents deserve some extra help to look after and educate them at home.

“From computers and tablets to household items that many of us take for granted, this new funding will directly benefit tens of thousands of families, making sure parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities get the support they need at this difficult time and beyond.”

Cheryl Ward, Chief Executive of Family Fund, said “Family Fund welcomes this commitment of an additional £10 million in emergency funding. It will make an incredible difference to thousands of families in England during this crisis, providing practical and essential grant support to help improve the quality of life and ease some of the additional daily pressures faced in these difficult times by many disabled children and their families.”

Wondering if you could be eligible? Click here to find out more about how to apply to Family Fund.

Things to do at Home During the Corona Virus Situation

Please visit the SEND things to do section by clicking the following link

https://fsd.barnsley.gov.uk/kb5/barnsley/fisd/site.page?id=WGzTs0nwfpY

Here you will find useful resources for helping explain the current health crisis as well as offering ideas for things to do.

The section will be updated regularly, so keep checking back.

SEND specific service updates from BMBC

The follwoing updates have been sent from BMBC to update families on the impact of COVID -19 on services and the plans that are in place during this period, please click the links to view the full information:

Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments and Plans: Guidance on Temporary Legislative Changes Relating to Coronavirus (COVID-19) click the following link 

https://fsd.barnsley.gov.uk/kb5/barnsley/fisd/site.page?id=vGFeIqjtXaM

Terms of Reference of the Barnsley Alliance for Schools and the draft Education Improvement Strategy approved, click the following link 

https://fsd.barnsley.gov.uk/kb5/barnsley/fisd/site.page?id=pZ3ULwJA3fo

SEND Briefing from Barnsley Schools Alliance in Relation to COVID-19 Period clcik the following link 

https://fsd.barnsley.gov.uk/kb5/barnsley/fisd/site.page?id=OjJT6k7is50

*UPDATED BMBC GUIDANCE* Education, health and care needs assessments and plans: Guidance on temporary legislative changes relating to Coronavirus (COVID-19) and re-opening of schools and educational settings from June 1st 2020, click the following link 

https://fsd.barnsley.gov.uk/kb5/barnsley/fisd/site.page?id=%20lEDCNMHZhyI

Guidance for Supporting children and young people with SEND as schools and colleges prepare for wider opening

The Government have provided updated guidance to include new information on the recommended approaches that parents, special schools, specialist colleges, local authorities and any other settings managing children and young people with complex special educational needs and disability should follow for the return of children and young people with EHC plans, or those with complex needs but who do not have an EHC plan, to educational settings from 1 June 2020.

From 1st June the Government is asking special schools to work towards a phased return of more children and young people, without a focus on specific year groups and informed by risk assessments. From 15 June, they will be asking specialist post-16 institutions to work towards a phased return of young people, without a focus on specific year groups or proportion of learners and informed by risk assessments. This guidance outlines approaches that local authorities, educational settings, and parents or carers may wish to take.

The guidance includes:

Updating risk assessments

Phased return to educational settings

Supporting children with EHC plans in mainstream schools

Colleges and AP settings Supporting children in special schools and specialist post-16 institutions

Supporting children and young people in hospital schools Questions and answers

Copies of the documents text are available in the downloads section.

To read the full guidance click the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-send-risk-assessment-guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-send-risk-assessment-guidance

SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS AND DISABILITY (SEND) TRIBUNAL TRIAL

There has been an update on the timeframe for the 

SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS AND DISABILITY (SEND) TRIBUNAL TRIAL

The revised information is contained in the ministerial Letter in the downloads section. But what it basically says is that for a number of outlined reasons, and after discussion with involved parties, the trial has had its timeframe  extended from its original completion date of 31st August 2020 to 31st August 2021 at the earliest.

Online science, PE, wellbeing and SEND resources for home education

New activites and links to useful websites and organisations that are offering  help with home learning .

Online science, PE, wellbeing and SEND resources for home education

 

Guidance for parents and carers of children attending out-of-school settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

The government have published new advice for parents and carers. 

Guidance for parents and carers of children attending out-of-school settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

You can access the advice on the govenment site.

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