Covid 19 Information Page
Welcome to the page where we will put all the latest newsletters and information from the Local Authority and Central Government .
Information update in relation to COVID-19 for parents and carers of children with SEND – 7th April 2020
Special schools and specialist provision
Government guidance, aimed at keeping children and school staff as safe as possible, is that children should stay at home unless it is unsafe to do so. This includes children with EHC Plans.
It is expected that all of the following schools will be re-open on a limited basis as described above on Monday 20th April:-
Hampton Dene including for pupils of the Language and Communication Centre.
Westfield have been supporting their families in a variety of ways in the community but are likely to open on this date if there are families needing their children to access the school as described.
H3/Hospital Service will re-open with online teaching from 20th April but not at H3 classroom.
All schools are staying in contact with all of their families on a regular basis. However, please contact the school directly if you wish to discuss what each school is offering.
Helping each other to cope with stress of COVID-19 – Offer of Support
This pandemic is unprecedented and its on-going uncertainty is proving very stressful to all of us. We all react differently to such stress, and the resulting fear and anxiety can cause strong emotions which can at times be overwhelming. In particular, we may worry about our own health and the health of our loved ones. We may also be feeling anxious about the future and wider implications of this situation. We may be missing those people important to us, or struggling with low mood because of isolation. As the current situation unfolds, there is also a chance that someone you know might be seriously ill or die.
In these difficult and uncertain times, you may feel a need for guidance or support to help you, or someone in your family respond to someone experiencing low mood, anxiety or in responding to a bereavement. The Educational Psychology Service are able to offer guidance on a range of issues relating to bereavement, anxiety and mental health. In order to access this support, please contact a professional who you work with e.g. school, social worker, family support worker. They will contact the Educational Psychology Service with your permission.
The Educational Psychology Service has also identified a range of resources to help with resilience, a wide range of web-links for educating at home, as well as techniques for talking to children about coronavirus and responding to anxiety in children. As well as this, there are ideas to improve wellbeing (e.g. relaxation and breathing) and activity scheduling to foster good mood and health, and guidance on particular issues (e.g. children with autism and learning difficulties).
Short Breaks for children with a disability and their families
Herefordshire Council have recognised that the current situation requires a more flexible approach to the targeted short breaks (TSB) allowance. A letter will be sent to all families currently accessing TSBs in the next few days explaining the changes during this period which we hope will be helpful.
For families who have short breaks that are assessed by the Children with Disabilities Team, we recognise that some providers of are likely to have staffing or other difficulties which mean that it is not possible to provide the breaks upon which families rely. The Children with Disabilities Team (social workers and family support workers) are working hard to explore any alternatives that might be possible when families experience their usual service being temporarily withdrawn because of the current situation. Please contact the team via DutyChildrenwithDisabilitiesTeam@herefordshire.gov.uk if you find that you cannot access your usual short breaks and have not yet discussed the matter with your social worker or family support worker.
Children with Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans and those undergoing an EHC assessment
The Coronavirus Act 2020,which was passed by Parliament last week. This means that the Local Authority (LA) will not be penalised if it is not possible to deliver the provisions in the EHC Plan as it would under normal circumstances. The LA does need to work with schools to make ‘best endeavours’ to deliver the provision although the Government advice as described above is that most children, including those with EHC Plans, are safest at home. Where children are at home, it is clearly going to be difficult to deliver provision that is usually school-based which is why the law has been temporarily changed. The Government have stated that this change will last for the minimum period of time that it is required.
For those children undergoing an EHC assessment, the SEN Team have written to those families explaining that the process is likely to be delayed as children are not in schools and many professionals might not be able to work in the usual way. Again, the legal timescales for completing the assessment and issuing EHC Plans are likely to be relaxed until the current position changes. If you have any questions relating to EHC Plans or assessments, please contact the SEN team firstname.lastname@example.org .