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SEND Parent/Carer FAQs

FAQs

This information has been produced in line with the Government advice and is subject to change if further guidance is released.

How will a Child be supported with Transition into a new setting?

Schools are currently looking at how they can effectively support children through transition to a new setting. Schools are being encouraged to create videos that show children around their new classrooms, corridors and the school to help them become familiar with the environment. One example has been created by Aqueduct Primary School which can be found: HERE

For children in the process of moving to a specialist setting, what are the arrangements?

Schools will be in contact to support the transition to a specialist setting, if you have any concerns please contact the school to discuss this with them.

What will happen with annual reviews as outcomes may not have been met as a result of being off school?

Annual Review requirements remain in place, a review meeting should be held although this may be in a slightly different format. For example, annual reviews have been held ‘virtually’ using Microsoft Teams (video conferencing software) this means that parents, children, young people and professionals ‘meet’ together even if they are not in the same room. Schools in Telford & Wrekin have been requested to complete a ‘Plan on a Page’ for each student at their school with an EHC Plan, the Plan on a Page demonstrates the actions that the school is putting into place to support and provide education whether it’s in school or remotely.

Will education pay for additional support at home, through a PA?

Any support will be based on the guidelines for ‘reasonable endeavours' which give guidance on how support within the Education, Health and Care plans will be provided during this challenging time. For more information on the definition of ‘reasonable endeavours' please see the SEND Parent/Carer Briefing May.

Guidance: Education, health and care needs assessments and plans: guidance on temporary legislative changes relating to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Select the section entitled - The time limited duty to use ‘reasonable endeavours' to secure or arrange provision in an EHC plan.

Can my child attend school if we/they are struggling at home?

The National Lockdown announced on the 4 January 2021 provided guidance for school on restricting attendance during the national lockdown. In the guidance it states:

‘During the period of national lockdown, primary, secondary, alternative provision and special schools will remain open to vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers only (recognising that the characteristics of the cohorts in special schools and alternative provision will mean these settings continue to offer face to face provision for all pupils, where appropriate). All other pupils should receive remote education. Pupils who are self-isolating should not attend school. Clinically extremely vulnerable pupils are also advised not to attend school.

Schools should continue to record attendance in the register. Schools should follow up on absences of the pupils who are expected to be in school but where a parent wishes for their child to be absent, we expect schools to authorise the absence during this national lockdown period. Absence will not be penalised.

The definition of vulnerable children and young people includes children who have a social worker, an education, health and care plan (EHCP) or who may be vulnerable for another reason at local discretion (“otherwise vulnerable”).

 Schools are expected to allow and strongly encourage vulnerable children and young people to attend. Parents/carers of vulnerable children and young people are strongly encouraged to take up the place. If vulnerable children and young people do not attend, schools should:

  • Work together with the local authority and social worker (where applicable) to follow up with the parent or carer to explore the reason for absence, discussing their concerns using supporting guidance considering the child’s circumstances and their best interests
  • Work together with the local authority and social worker (where applicable) and other relevant partners to encourage the child or young person to attend educational provision, particularly where the social worker agrees that the child or young person’s attendance would be appropriate

Where schools grant a leave of absence to a vulnerable child or young person they should still speak to parents and carers, and social workers (where applicable) to explore the reasons for this and any concerns raised. The discussions should focus on the welfare of the child or young person and ensuring that the child or young person is able to access appropriate education and support while they are at home. Where providers have had to temporarily stop on-site provision on public health advice, they should inform the local authority to discuss alternative arrangements for vulnerable children and young people and work towards welcoming back pupils as soon as possible, where feasible to do so. Regardless of setting, schools are encouraged to work collaboratively with other schools and education providers and other local partners (including the local authority, social workers, police, youth services, key workers etc.) to best facilitate opportunities for face to-face provision for vulnerable children.’

(Full Guidance: Restricting attendance during the national lockdown: schools)

If you feel that your child/young person should be attending their school or setting, please speak to their school in the first instance. If your child/young person has an EHCP and you would like any further advice please contact your SEND Officer and they will be able to provide further advice.

If your child or young person has an EHCP, please contact your SEND Officer:
By email: SENDandInclusion@telford.gov.uk
Phone: 01952 381045

If your child does not have an EHCP, please contact:
By email: school.covid@telford.gov.uk

My child is not receiving appropriate work, what should I do?

You need to speak to your child’s school/teacher. There has been more guidance issued around supporting children/young people with EHC plans and schools/settings must make reasonable endeavours to support children's learning.

Can I still apply for an EHCP? What is the process for doing this?

We would advise that you speak to the SEND Officer for your locality before requesting an EHC plan, this is because there may be a delay in getting the advice needed for the plan to be written due to restrictions visiting schools/homes at this time. There are alternative ways that support can be put in place quickly for children/young people so that when they return to their school or setting there is already support in place for them. Take a look at the Inclusive School Forum and Early Years Inclusion Panel pages on the Local Offer for more information.  To speak to a member of the SEND Team you can either email: sendandinclusion@telford.gov.uk and request a call back or telephone 01952 381045.

I have just been informed that the Local Authority is carrying out an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment, how will the assessments be carried out?

The SEND Teams are still working to their statutory requirements, therefore they are still completing assessments, although the way that they are completed may look a little different than normal. We have had success in using ‘virtual’ technology such as video conferencing to talk to parents, carers, children and young people. The Educational Psychology team are working from home and they are still carrying out assessments, these assessments may be held virtually or they will be completed in school following the controls in a risk assessment. Psychological advice produced in this way will make clear the conditions under which these assessments have taken place. Other teams will be working in similar ways.

What additional support will be available for those on SEN support when they return to school?

This will be based on individual need, please contact your child's school or setting to discuss this with them.                 

What are the priorities for the transition of children going into school from nursery and children going into secondary schools and leaving school going into colleges?

We are still working within our statutory deadlines, therefore all letters and EHC Plans will be sent out in line with those deadlines. If your child is due to start school in Reception, or transition to Junior School or Secondary school in September you will receive any letters by post or by email within the normal timeframes.

If your child does not have an EHC Plan, you can still contact your child/young person’s school to talk about transition arrangements, last year some schools produced ‘virtual tours’ on their websites so that children would be able to see inside the school. Many colleges also produced ‘virtual tours’ and provided ‘virtual open evenings’ so that students could be supported through their transition.

See also: How will a Child be supported with Transition into a new setting?

What support will my child with SEND be given to prepare for their transition to reception class in September?

Transition support for children transferring to reception class in school in September will be particularly important in the current circumstances. Early Years settings and schools are encouraged to invite parents to an on-line transition meeting, to discuss the needs of individual children with SEND. Other professionals who may be involved with your child, for example an Early Years Advisory Teacher or a Speech and Language Therapist, may also be invited. The meeting should be an opportunity to make plans to ensure a smooth transition for your child, and to share successful support strategies. Parents should have the opportunity to share any concerns, and to ask questions. Some schools have prepared additional resources, such as a transition book (with photographs of the classroom environment and key people), or a virtual tour, which they will be able to share. Contact your Early Years setting SENCo to find out what transition support is available.

I am pursuing an admissions appeal,  are there any changes to timescales for appealing and knowing the outcome?

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the legal restrictions that have been implemented in respect of social distancing, the Government has made emergency legislation which temporarily amends regulations which govern the way in which schools admission authorities set up and run appeals against the allocation of school places by the admissions authority.

The temporary regulations now prevent the usual practice of face-to-face hearings. For appeals in respect of Telford & Wrekin schools the Admissions Authority has decided to make use of telephone conferencing.

For information around appeals and deadlines visit  www.telford.gov.uk/admissions

My child is on a modified timetable 3 hours a day and has still been going into school but has had this reduced even further to 1 hour a day, should this happen?

You will need to discuss this with your child/young person’s school or setting if you are unhappy with the amount of hours that your child is accessing. Schools are expected to allow and strongly encourage vulnerable children and young people to attend. If you have concerns about your child or young person’s access to education please speak to their school in the first instance.

If your child/young person has an EHCP and you would like any further advice please contact your SEND Officer and they will be able to provide further advice.

If your child or young person has an EHCP, please contact your SEND Officer:
By email: SENDandInclusion@telford.govuk
Phone: 01952 381045

If your child does not have an EHCP, please contact:
By email: school.covid@telford.gov.uk

Can I access therapies if they are not included in my child's EHC Plan?

You will need to contact the therapy services to discuss this with them. Any support will be based on the guidelines for ‘reasonable endeavours' which give guidance on how support within the Education, Health and Care plans can be provided during this challenging time. For more information on the definition of ‘reasonable endeavours' please see the SEND Parent/Carer Briefing May.

Guidance: Education, health and care needs assessments and plans: guidance on temporary legislative changes relating to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Select the section entitled - The time limited duty to use ‘reasonable endeavours' to secure or arrange provision in an EHC plan

Contact details for Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy Services are available on the Local Offer.

Select your child/young persons age range, select the dropdown list for health, links to all the health services can be found there.

MPFT are open business as usual, to contact by phone - 0300 124 0093

SHROPCOM Advice Line is open Monday - Friday 9am-5pm

Telephone: 01743 450800 (option 4) for Children’s Therapy and CDC services

Occupational Therapy/Physiotherapy/Speech and Language Therapy/CDC

My children attend different schools and both schools are requesting staggered start and finish times, I can’t be at two different locations at once – is there anything I can do?

For any direct concerns, you will need to contact the schools and/or settings that your children attend to discuss the situation and come to a resolution. Schools are being encouraged to work together with Parent/Carers to ensure that arrangements for staggered start and finish times complement each other as per the government guidance.

Guidance: What Parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges in the autumn term

Click here for more Information

How long will parents be expected to take their children to school instead of them using home to school transport?

We are currently following the government guidance: Transport to school and other places of education: 2020 to 2021 academic year. Special schools are working with the local authority to confirm transport arrangements to support the safety of children getting to and from school. We appreciate, where possible, that many parents will bring their children to and from school. If you are providing transport and cannot continue to do so (and your child would normally be accessing travel assistance) please contact the Transport team so that they can make alternative arrangements.

Guidance: Click here to download Guidance

See Section: Other considerations / Meeting the home to school transport duty in alternative ways

Contact Details of the Transport Team:

Visit Home to School Transport page

My child normally has transport provided through travel assistance but I have agreed to transport them to school in the current situation.

Will this have an impact on their eligibility for travel assistance in the future?

If your child was eligible under the travel assistance policy then previous agreements will continue and new applications will follow the normal procedures.

If you are unable to continue to transport your child to school and they would normally be accessing travel assistance, please contact the transport team so that they can make alternative arrangements.

Telford & Wrekin Home to School Transport: Visit Home to School Transport page

Guidance: Click here to download Guidance

See Section: Other considerations / Meeting the home to school transport duty in alternative ways

As a parent/carer of a clinically vulnerable child/young person when will I be eligible for the COVID Vaccination?

The local authority in Telford & Wrekin is working hard with the NHS to set up vaccination centres in the borough. However, the priority list is led by the Government, more information about vaccinations locally, nationally and the priority list can be found below.

Telford & Wrekin Council Covid-19 Vaccination

NHS Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group – Coronavirus Vaccination

Vaccine Priority List

NHS Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine

How does a ‘childcare’ bubble work during the National Lockdown?

National Lockdown – Support and childcare bubbles

Information on support and childcare bubbles is available in the National Lockdown Guidance.

Making a support bubble with another household

How you can safely expand the group of people you have close contact with during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Making a childcare bubble with another household

How you can get informal childcare for anyone under 14 from friends and family you do not live with.

Where can I find information on support for Mental Health and Wellbeing for my family?

Information on where to find support for mental health for the whole family is available on the Local Offer, the Mental Health Service Directory provides information about all the support services that are available to support families in Telford & Wrekin.

Further information, can be found under the dropdown for Supporting Mental Health on the National Lockdown Resources page. A dropdown is available showing the services provided by BEAM.

KOOTH is part of the BeeU service in Shropshire, Kooth.com is an online mental health and wellbeing community for young people. Young people across Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin can access Kooth for free from age 11-19. Kooth is available in many regions across the UK and we are a pioneer in digital mental health for young people. 

Young people have access to self-help materials, peer to peer support and also our Kooth team which consists of emotional wellbeing practitioners and counsellors. As Kooth provides free counselling, the service is BACP accredited and all of our Kooth team members are qualified and highly skilled to support young people with their mental health and wellbeing. The Kooth team is online from 12 noon until 10pm on weekdays and from 6-10pm on a weekend, every single day of the year. 

Young people can sign up themselves at Kooth.com and there is no professional referral required, or thresholds/criteria to meet. The service is anonymous and the sign up process is very simple. Kooth is a safe environment where information, advice and guidance is accessible through age appropriate, pre-moderated and clinically approved articles and forums. 

To find out more about Kooth Plc, the company that runs Kooth.com, you can find the website here: https://www.koothplc.com/

For children and young people who wish to join Kooth, you can join at https://www.kooth.com/

Samaritans are available to provide support and advice 24 hours a day 365 days a year, you can call free on 116123.

PODs Helpline – Parents Opening Doors (Parent Carer Forum) have a helpline number that you can call for advice and support.

PODs Website

My child is struggling to access remote learning due to having no access to technology, internet access or low data allowance – what can I do?

Please speak to your child or young person’s school or setting, there are many ways that support can be provided for families who do not have access to technology. Schools can access support schemes to ‘Get help with technology’ for your child, it may be to provide a 4G router, increased mobile data or a laptop.