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Welcome to SEND Parent/Carer News - February 2021

Welcome to the new look electronic SEND Parent/Carer News, we do hope you enjoy the new look of the Newsletter!

This month we are happy to share with you an update on the Emotional Health and Wellbeing Panel. The panel has been a key theme in the recent communications meetings with PODs and IASS, thank you for all the feedback that has been given. In this update there is information about how the panel works, the referral processes it supports and a review of the panel provided support since it started. We would like to you continue to share your personal stories and lived experiences as we continue to develop our services.

PODs (Parent Carer Forum) have been sharing your feedback with us over the last few weeks, one of the concerns has been about accessing the Covid vaccination. We can once again only direct you to the guidance on this and the priority groups that have been published. Information has been provided on PA’s having access to the vaccine in the article below.

Please ensure to take a look at the Parent/Carer FAQ’s they have been recently updated and some new ones added, these are updated regularly so keep checking back.

Best wishes,

Natalie Bevan
Interim SEND Service Delivery Manager

February SEND Parent/Carer News includes:

  • Supporting your children’s remote education during coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Guidance for Parents and Carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic
  • Learning Disability (LD) Programme – Consultation Launch 25 February 2021
  • Emotional Health and Wellbeing Panel
  • Minister Ford – Letter 14 January 2021
  • Has your child or young person’s school spoken to you about a ‘Plan on a Page’?
  • Children’s Mental Health Week: Expressing Curiosity
  • Communication meetings with Parent Carer Forum (PODs) and Telford Information Advice and Support Service (IASS)
  • Community Children and Young People’s Health Services during the Covid-19 Pandemic – January 2021
  • My Options Lockdown Statement
  • Frontline social care workers eligible for vaccination
  • Carer’s winter wellbeing guide 2020/2021
  • Links to Government Guidance – What Parents/Carers need to know 

Updated Government Guidance

What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges

Information for parents and carers about attending schools, nurseries and colleges in the spring term 2021.

Update ‘What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges’, up to and after the full reopening on 8 March 2021.

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

Guidance for parents and carers of children attending community activities, holiday or after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school settings.

Updated the guidance to outline who can attend out-of-school settings and what precautions parents who are sending their children to these settings should take from 8 March. Added a new section on face coverings.


All students to return to school and college from 8 March and what you need to know

From Monday 8 March 2021, schools and colleges will open to all pupils with asymptomatic COVID-19 testing in place. University students on practical courses will also return on Monday 8 March 2021. The return of all pupils is a priority in the Government’s roadmap for the easing of restrictions and recovery from the impact of coronavirus pandemic.

The reopening of education settings to all is being prioritised due to the significant and proven impact caused by being out of school to the mental and physical health and wellbeing of children and young people.

We have strengthened existing protective measures in schools, colleges and universities with adults and students in year 7 and above to wear face coverings in all indoor settings, including classrooms as an extra temporary precaution.

Which education settings are opening on 8 March?

Primary school children, secondary school pupils and college students as well as university students on practical courses who need access to specialist facilities and equipment will all return on Monday 8th March 2021.

All secondary school and college students will take three COVID-19 tests as they return to the classroom from the 8 March at existing school testing facilities. Schools and colleges will have discretion on how to stagger the return of their students over that week to allow them to be tested on return. After an initial programme of three tests in school or college, students will be provided with two rapid tests to use each week at home.

What about higher education students whose courses are not practical?

We will review, by the end of the Easter holidays, the options for timing of the return of remaining students.  Students and providers will be given a week’s notice ahead of any further return.

Twice weekly testing will continue to be available for all on campus.

What about special schools and alternative provision?

Special schools, special post-16 providers, and alternative provision have remained open to vulnerable children and young people, including those with Educational Health Care Plans, and to the children of critical workers.

Because of this, many settings have continued to offer face to face provision for the vast majority, if not all, of their pupils and students.

From 8 March, we expect students in all year groups to be attending in line with the wider return to face-to-face teaching.

What about wraparound childcare, early years and nursery provision?

Wraparound childcare will be open to parents who need to access it to work, attend education or seek medical care, and to vulnerable children. Early years and nursery provision has remained open to all throughout the lockdown.

How has the approach been guided by scientific evidence?

We have and continue to take the safety of all education staff extremely seriously, and our guidance for all education settings has been based on the best medical advice.

Public Health England continues to advise that the existing range of safety measures in place in education settings remains appropriate.

We have strengthened existing protective measures and staff and students in secondary schools and colleges are advised to wear face coverings in all areas, including classrooms, where social distancing cannot be maintained as a temporary extra measure, as the twice weekly at home testing regime is set up.

What’s changed since schools were closed to most pupils in January that makes you think March is the right time to reopen them?

Schools closed to most pupils during the third lockdown to help reduce overall social contacts across the country whilst the NHS experienced significant pressure, not because schools were considered a high-risk setting to staff or pupils.

The consensus view from SAGE continues to be that missing out on classroom-based education has severe impacts for children and young people, with clear evidence that further time out of schools and colleges is detrimental for cognitive and academic development, learning, health and wellbeing.

Evidence from the Public Health England-led Schools Infection Study continues to show that infection rates in schools mirror infection rates in the wider community, suggesting schools are not the main driver of infections.

The Schools Infection Study (SIS) by PHE, ONS and LSHTM also showed that COVID-19 infection rates in schools among staff and pupils mirrored infection rates in the wider community.

PHE’s Surveillance in Schools study (sKIDS) suggests that transmission in primary schools is extremely low and outbreaks are rare.

Warwick University recently published research on school transmission rates in schools which found there is no clear evidence of schools being a ‘significant driver’ of infections. Warwick University research also suggests that cases in schools amongst teachers and students seemed to reflect and follow those in the community, rather than preceding them, suggesting it is cases in the community driving infections in schools, rather than vice versa.

The flexibility we are providing in the first week of return for secondary schools and colleges to allow testing of staff and students, alongside strengthened safety measures, should reassure families and education staff that extra measures are in place alongside the existing bubble system, enhanced hygiene and COVID-19-secure precautions.

Will attendance be mandatory?

School attendance will be mandatory for all pupils from 8 March 2021. The usual rules on school attendance apply.

Schools and colleges will have discretion on how to phase the return of their students over that week to allow them to be tested on return.

Will you provide additional funding/support to help pupils and students catch up?

The government has committed to helping children and young people recover learning lost as a result of the pandemic. We will also be outlining further measures as part of our Catch Up programme.

In June 2020 we announced a catch-up package worth £1bn, including a ‘Catch Up Premium’ worth a total of £650m to support all schools to make up for lost teaching time and £350m for the National Tutoring Programme to help disadvantaged pupils to catch-up on lost learning.

In January 2021 we also committed to a further programme of catch up which will involve £300m of new money to early years, schools and providers of 16-19 further education for high-quality tutoring.

We will work in collaboration with the education sector to develop specific initiatives for summer schools and a Covid Premium to support catch up; and to develop a long-term plan to make sure children and young people have the chance to make up their learning over the course of this Parliament.


What you need to know about testing in secondary schools and colleges

This guidance does not relate to primary schools

Why are we testing?  

Testing in schools and colleges is already well-established, as recent figures show more than four million tests have been conducted since 4 January 2021.

As many as one in three people who contract the virus show no symptoms, so could be spreading the disease unknowingly. Asymptomatic testing will help to identify positive cases more quickly and break the chains of transmission. Those who test positive will self-isolate, helping to reduce transmission of the virus.

Alongside asymptomatic testing, secondary schools and colleges should also continue to put in place a range of protective measures to minimise the risk of infection spread. No test is perfect, but the speed and convenience of Lateral Flow Device tests supports detection of the virus in asymptomatic individuals who would not otherwise be tested.

How and where will the testing happen?

  • Secondary school and college students will take COVID-19 tests as they return the classroom from the 8 March 2021.
  • Schools and colleges will have discretion on how to phase the return of their students over that week to allow them to be tested on return.
  • After an initial programme of 3 tests in school/college, students will be provided with two rapid tests to use each week at home.
  • Staff in secondary schools will also be supplied with test kits to self swab and test themselves twice a week at home.
  • Schools should offer pupils tests three to five days apart to manage the number of pupils passing through the test site at any one time.

Will testing be mandatory and will consent be needed?

Testing is voluntary but strongly encouraged. If consent is provided, pupils will be asked to self-swab at the on-site ATS and after 30 minutes they should be informed of their results.

Will testing stop outbreaks?  

As many as one in three people who contract the virus show no symptoms (they are asymptomatic), so could be spreading the disease unknowingly. Asymptomatic testing will help to identify positive cases more quickly and break the chains of transmission.

LFD tests produce results much faster than PCR tests. Testing staff and pupils twice per week, 3-4 days apart starting on Sunday evenings, will also increase confidence that positive cases are being identified quickly. Those who test positive will then self-isolate, helping to reduce transmission of the virus.

Extra testing is going to find more positive cases and close contacts, resulting in increased absences from school. How will this be managed? 

It is important that positive cases and their close contacts isolate to break the chains of transmission. Testing regularly will help keep everyone safe. Students will be able to participate in remote learning from home until they can return to the classroom.

We will continue to support the development of high quality remote education, including through The Get Help with Technology scheme, which has so far provided over a million laptops and tablets to help disadvantaged pupils and students access remote education.

What about testing for early years staff and staff and students in wider FE settings (not colleges)?

The asymptomatic testing programme in education currently covers all staff at school-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools.

We are now expanding home testing kits to staff in all private, voluntary and independent nurseries, who will start to receive deliveries of Lateral Flow Device (LFD) home testing kits to offer to all their staff for twice weekly testing from next month.

This is a significant development that will help to identify positive cases more quickly and break the chains of transmissions. Childminders continue to have access to community testing facilities for asymptomatic testing.

Home testing will be available for Independent Training Providers and Adult Community Learning Providers by the end of March.

What about vaccinations for teachers/staff?

Staff and students who are in the Phase 1 priority groups determined by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) should have been offered their first vaccination dose

The JVCI will provide advice on the next phase of the vaccine rollout. The Government is committed to offering every adult a dose of the vaccine by 31st July.


An open letter from Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to parents, carers and guardians

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has written an open letter to parents, carers and guardians following the news that all primary schools, secondary schools, special and alternative provision schools, colleges and further education settings will be opening to all pupils from 8 March as part of the Government's plans to lift the restrictions imposed on society due to COVID-19.

In it he thanks parents, carers and guardians for their sacrifices since the start of the pandemic and discusses why it is so important pupils return, the safety measures that will make it possible, and how rapid testing is key to suppressing the virus.

Dear parents, carers and guardians,

I would like to thank you for the sacrifices you have made and, where possible, for keeping your children and young people at home during this period of national restrictions. I recognise that for many of you this will have been a very challenging time. I am writing to you to set out in greater detail the easing of restrictions on face-to-face teaching announced this week.

When the Prime Minister announced this lockdown, he was clear he would review the situation in mid-February. This was dependent upon the most vulnerable adults being offered the first dose of the vaccine by 15 February, meaning they should have developed some immunity from the virus by about three weeks later, that is by 8 March.

I am pleased to say that, thanks to the efforts of the NHS, volunteers and scientists, the government has achieved this target and, following an in-depth analysis of the virus prevalence data, and the data on NHS capacity, both suggest that infection rates have fallen across all ages, including in children and young people.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister set out the next phase of the government’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19), including where restrictions on attendance at education settings can be lifted.

Return

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has made clear that the overwhelming majority of children and young people still have no symptoms or very mild illness only. We also know that returning children to face to face teaching is vital for their educational progress, for their wellbeing, and for their wider development.

If your child attends a primary, secondary, special or alternative provision school, college or further education setting they will return to their setting from 8 March – or if already attending, will be joined by their classmates. Secondary age students will be tested for Covid on their return, schools and colleges will organise the testing of groups of pupils during the first week. Since the start of term 4 million tests have been done in schools and weekly testing of pupils and staff will help keep everyone safe. If your child uses wraparound childcare, including childminders, these should also allow attendance for eligible children.

If your child attends an Early Years setting, these will continue to be open to all children, as they have throughout the period of national restrictions.

16- to 19-year olds (or 19- to 25-year olds with an EHCP) who attend further education settings will also undertake the majority of their planned hours on site.

Students in higher education undertaking practical or practice-based (including creative arts) courses who need access to specialist equipment and facilities will be able to recommence in-person teaching and learning from the 8 March. The Government will
review, by the end of the Easter holidays, the options for timing of the return of remaining students. This review will take account of the latest data and will be a key part of the wider roadmap steps. Students and providers will be given a week’s notice ahead of any further return.

Rapid testing

Since January, schools and colleges have been delivering rapid asymptomatic testing. Rapid testing remains an important part of the government’s plan to suppress the virus, in education and childcare settings and across society. This sort of testing means that people who have COVID19 but do not have any symptoms of COVID 19, who might otherwise continue to attend educational settings, can be identified and self-isolate.

If your child has attended a secondary school or college through January, they may have been offered a test, and we are now asking that secondary schools and colleges offer tests for all students across the week of the 8 March as they return. If your child attends a primary school, they will not be offered a test upon return.

Twice-weekly asymptomatic testing is already available for the secondary school, most college, primary school, school-based nursery and maintained nursery school workforce, including support staff such as teaching assistants and those supporting with wraparound childcare.

Yesterday, we announced the further expansion of this asymptomatic testing programme, asking that all secondary age pupils and students in most colleges who consent will be offered three rapid tests at school or college in the first two weeks of their return three to five days apart. This will help them to get used to swabbing themselves for the tests. Schools and colleges will then provide students with two rapid tests to use each week at home. The home test kits come with clear instructions for use and how to report the results. All secondary and college staff will also be provided with home test kits to allow them to test twice a week at home. Testing is voluntary but we would encourage as many people as possible to take part to help reduce the prevalence of the virus. If your child attends a special school, where possible they will also be offered a test. Rapid testing is already in place for those arriving or staying at university.

We will be asking HE providers to offer two tests to all students eligible to attend their university or HE institution upon their return, and twice weekly asymptomatic testing to all students eligible to attend on-site, as well as providing testing for staff.

All staff at private, voluntary and independent nurseries will have access to tests to use twice weekly at home, building on the testing already available to maintained nursery schools and school-based nurseries. Childminders can continue to access community testing, and the Department continues to work with colleagues across government to review the testing approach available for childminders.

Safety measures

We have worked closely with Public Health England to develop and refresh the system of controls that schools and colleges already have in place to reduce the risk of transmission in education and childcare settings, based on scientific rationale. The system of controls supports schools and colleges to assess risk and implement measures to mitigate risk, including ventilating occupied spaces, introducing enhanced cleaning and minimising contact and mixing. We ask all pupils, students and staff to continue to do everything they can to adhere to these measures, because it is vital that they are implemented well and consistently.

In addition to the system of controls and the expanded testing programme set out above, in schools or colleges where pupils in year 7 and above are educated, we recommend that face coverings should be worn by staff and pupils where social distancing cannot easily be maintained when moving around the premises outside of classrooms or teaching spaces, such as in corridors and communal areas. In the same settings for a limited period, we also recommend the use of face coverings in classrooms and other teaching spaces, unless wearing a face covering would impact on the ability to take part in exercise or strenuous activity, for example in PE lessons, or for those who are exempt from wearing a face covering as per government guidance.

Children in primary schools do not need to wear a face covering.

We have published further guidance for parents here. We will be setting out further measures for immediate support to children, early years settings, schools, colleges and local authorities later this week. I am very pleased that we are able to return children and young people across England to their classrooms and colleges, to allow them to spend time with their friends and teachers and get back into the rhythms of the school or college year.

Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP
Secretary of State for Education


Supporting your children’s remote education during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Information and support for parents and carers of children who are learning at home.

Extract from the Guidance: Supporting your children’s remote education during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Supporting your child during remote education

Parents and carers should not feel that they need to set work for their child.

However, the resources below can help you plan your child’s days during this period. These resources may also be useful for pupils and students to use alongside the work provided by their school or college.

If you need further support, we encourage you to speak to your child’s school or college about their remote education offer.

Engaging children at home

Watch Dr Elizabeth Kilbey’s top tips or read the video transcript (PDF, 167KB, 3 pages).

Watch Dr Elizabeth Kilbey’s top tips

The Education Endowment Fund has produced support resources for parents. These include:

  • ways to support your child’s reading at home
  • advice on how to establish a routine with your child

Mental health and wellbeing

You can read guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Guidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19) is also available.

The following organisations offer information and support on mental health and wellbeing:

Your local library can also provide access to Reading Well: books on prescription, a collection of carefully curated titles for adults, children and young people to support common mental health conditions, or deal with difficult feelings and experiences.

Telford & Wrekin Library Service

Twitter: @Telfordlibs

Facebook: Telford & Wrekin Libraries

Young people can get free, confidential support at any time from government-backed voluntary and community sector organisations by:

  • texting SHOUT to 85258
  • calling Childline on 0800 1111
  • calling the Mix on 0808 808 4994

Resources for parents of children with SEND

We have worked with a range of other organisations to create extra resources for parents of children with SEND:

Curriculum materials are also available:

Additional educational resources

Your child’s school or college may suggest resources on their website.

The following examples are used by many schools and teachers, but parents may find them useful too:


Guidance for Parents and Carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic

Advice for parents and carers on looking after the mental health and wellbeing of children or young people during the coronavirus pandemic.

What you need to know

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is having an impact on everybody’s lives. Regardless of their age, this will be a challenging time for many children and young people. How a child or young person responds to their individual situation will vary. Some may react immediately, some not at all, while others may show signs of difficulty later on. It is important to recognise that in most cases, these are normal responses to an abnormal situation.

How a child or young person responds to their individual situation may vary in different ways according to their individual characteristics and circumstances. For example, their age, physical or mental health condition, how they deal with stress, previous experiences or pre-existing mental or physical health condition.

During this time, it’s important that you support and take care of the mental health of children or young people in your care, as well as your own mental health. There are lots of things you can do, and additional support is available if you need it.

To continue reading the full guidance: Guidance for Parents and Carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

View the Easy Read guide: Coronavirus (COVID-19): an easy-read guide to looking after your feelings and your body.


Learning Disability (LD) Programme – Consultation Launch 25 February 2021

The Local Authority, Learning Disability Partnership and all the member organisations, are determined to do everything we can to make sure that all people with learning disability in Telford and Wrekin live well and enjoy a full life, with as much independence as possible.

Please view the full article in: Preparing for Adulthood (add link to article)


Emotional Health and Wellbeing Panel

Over the past few months we have received feedback from both PODs (Parents Opening Doors, Parent/Carer Forum) and IASS (Independent Advice and Support Service) about the Emotional Health and Wellbeing Panel.

In response to the feedback we would like to share some information about the panel with Parent/Carers. We would like to request that Parent/Carers, children and young people share their stories and lived experience of the panel with us, so we can continue to make improvements.

Panel Overview

The Emotional Health and Wellbeing Panel (EHWP) aims to support schools and young people, the panel performs by:

  • Providing advice to schools
  • Signposting schools to services
  • Ensuring that students with a high level of need are referred to BeeU

This means that young people get the help they need in a timely manner and that the appropriate cases are being referred to BeeU.

How does the panel work?

The panel meets on the first Wednesday of every month, the cases are heard in groups of four so that the presenters of each case can gain the experience of hearing about young people with different needs.

Who is involved in the panel?

The panel is led by representatives from:

  • Schools
  • Social care
  • Specialist nurses
  • Educational Psychologists
  • BeeU
  • Behaviour Support
  • Student Engagement Programme
  • Clinical Commissioning Group

The Emotional Health and Wellbeing Panel works in partnership with the Inclusive School Forum and the Fair Access Panel. Your child/young person’s school will discuss with you which panel would provide the most appropriate support.

How can my child/young person be referred to the panel?

Your child or young person’s school will discuss the referral with you. A referral can be made by the school to request support and advice in the first instance, a second referral can be made to request more specific support.

Schools are expected to demonstrate the support they have provided through a graduated response to the needs of the young person. Where this isn’t evident, the panel will signpost some of the elements of this. As part of this graduated response, schools should consider whether an assessment by an Educational Psychologist, Occupational Therapist or Speech and Language Therapist would be appropriate. Evidence from referrals to these agencies will make it easier for the panel to decide whether a BeeU referral is appropriate.

If as a parent/carer you feel that your child would benefit from a referral to the panel, the first step would be to speak to their school. If you feel that your child is displaying behaviour at home you can still request a referral to the panel, the school would complete the referral form with parental input.

Parental permission is needed for any referrals to take place, your child or young person’s school would always ensure to discuss these with parent/carers. Children and young people also have the opportunity to share their views as part of the referral process.

How has the panel worked since it started?

(Taken from: Emotional Health and Wellbeing Review Published 2020)

Started: November 2019

10 Panel Meetings
82 Cases Heard

Primary

56

Secondary

26

Total

82

Referrals to BeeU from the Panel

Referred to BeeU

Number of Cases

Percentage of total

No

57

70%

Yes

25

30%

Grand Total

82

100%

All referrals into the BeeU service will undergo assessment, so at the stage of referral, it isn’t possible to say precisely which pathway each young person referred will be on. However, we have recorded the panel’s initial thoughts as to which pathway might be the most appropriate.

If you would like more information on the Emotional Health and Wellbeing Panel please take a look at the Local Offer page: Emotional Health and Wellbeing Panel

If you would like to ask a question or share your lived experience of the panel please email us at: SENDandInclusion@telford.gov.uk


Has your child or young person’s school spoken to you about a ‘Plan on a Page’?

Telford & Wrekin SEND have requested that all schools refresh the ‘Plan on a Page’ documents that were created for all their children and young people with EHCP’s during the March lockdown.  Schools have a legal duty to use their best endeavours to meet the special educational needs of their students during this time, this includes children who are being supported through SEN support. The ‘Plan on a Page’ demonstrates the endeavours that are being used to provide education, whether this is face to face in school or remotely.

If you have any questions or would like to know more please contact us by email: SENDandInclusion@telford.gov.uk or share your feedback with PODs (Parent Carer Forum)


Children’s Mental Health Week: Expressing Curiosity

I followed an online discussion between parents last week titled ‘Are we exaggerating the impact on our children’s mental health?’ The mother who started the discussion suggested that historically children have endured worse situations that the current one of lockdown, where they are safe and with their families. In the past they have experienced war and separation from their families and were resilient enough to cope with this.

The responses from other parents were interesting, as what they described did not necessarily fit into what we think of when we talk about children’s ‘mental health’, but did capture the effect that is occurring on children’s well-being. One parent described her child as a ‘shadow’ of her former self and others described children and young people who had just lost their ‘spark’ and vitality. Only a few described children and young people presenting with ‘mental health’ needs that would require referral to services, but still, many parents sensed their children were not expressing the energy and vitality for life that maybe before seemed so natural.

So maybe this year in Children’s Mental Health week, more than any other year before, we need to remember we want our children to thrive and not just ‘not have mental health problems’.

We know through our links and discussions with PODS (our Telford Parent Carer Forum) that many families are reporting difficulties managing the behaviours of their children when the routine of a school day is not there, and we know this is particularly difficult for those families who have children with additional needs.

Children will express their level of well-being to us not just in what they say but in how they behave and what their parents can see and report: a lack of energy, a disinterest in activities offered, bad moods, generalised anger, withdrawn, not looking forward, things being hopeless or pointless, resistance to help from their parents. These are all ways our children may be expressing themselves.

It can feel hard as parents and carers after months of lockdown to keep thinking of ways to support our children and ensure they have what they need, but maybe this week is a good week to just revisit one thing we know, and psychology tells us, about what children and young people need to thrive and how we can help them find it even in the current situation.

The best way to think about what children need is to think about what they are like naturally:

They are curious.

It is both the why, and how, they naturally learn. After months of lockdown and the natural stimulation of curiosity from being out in the world not being available, this natural curiosity may seem to have gone missing in your child.

Help them to find it:

  • Remind them of things they had previously been interested in, ask questions about topics you know will spark their interest.
  • Research yourself an area of interest to them (and amaze them with your sudden knowledge!).
  • Start a ‘project’ together, spend time listening to them when they excitedly want to tell you about what they are discovering.
  • Spend time each day in conversation about what they learned in self-discovery (you will learn something!).
  • Plan with them what they can do next to further their knowledge and find out more.

The curiosity can be sparked by anything, and the variety of interests we would find would I predict be extensive; from black holes to the Mariana trench, from how to create horror film make up to anime drawing, from how the vaccine was created to watching all the Disney films in order… you know your child, you’ll know ‘their thing’ help them find or re-find it, and watch as the natural and innate curiosity restores some of that vitality and energy.

If your child has discovered an interest and followed their curiosity during the lock down ask them to send their name, the name of their school, and their topic of interest to Claire.mcguiggan@telford.gov.uk  and we will compile and share the curious, wonderful variety and vitality our Telford children during Children’s Mental Health Week.

(Claire is the Principal Educational Psychologist in Telford and Wrekin. Her interests are around supporting families, promoting social inclusion for children with SEND, and using positive psychology for the well-being of all children)


Community Children and Young Peoples Health Services during the Covid-19 Pandemic January 2021

Available to download is the NHS Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust January Newsletter, find out how services are being delivered during the Covid 19.

Including:

  • How are we going to keep everyone safe?
  • Immunisation and vaccination service
  • Community Children’s Nursing Team and Paediatric Diabetes Nursing Team
  • Children’s Community Audiology
  • Children’s Therapies (Occupations Therapy, Physiotherapy and Speech and Language Therapy)
  • Child Development Centres
  • Community Dental Teams
  • Community Paediatric Service
  • 0-19 Service – Leading on the Healthy Child Programme
  • The Wheelchair and Posture Service
  • The Paediatric Psychology Service

Community Children and Young People’s Health Service during the Covid-19 Pandemic - January


My Options Lockdown Statement

My Options Young People’s Services continue to follow Government and Public Health England guidance in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic and changing lockdown restrictions, so we can ensure the safety of our customers and staff in the activities the service provides.

Telford & Wrekin Council will continue to work with families who have significant needs through their allocated Case Workers or Social Workers. The guidelines and advice remain in place about minimising contacts and social distancing, and in addition, the Council’s Public Health team are also advising against providing care and support in a group setting.

Therefore, Telford & Wrekin will not be able to offer the usual Sports & Leisure, Arts and Youth Club activities due to the current restrictions.

We will however, continue to be able to offer our My Options, Young People’s Services, PA service where we can support at 1:1 or a 2:1 basis.

Telford & Wrekin Council understand that many families many find this lockdown period challenging. If you find yourself in this position please contact your allocated worker from the Children with Disabilities Team. If you do not have an allocated worker, contact Family Connect on 01952 385383.

We remain committed to supporting children and families. We thank families for their continued understanding of the complexities and that provisions have to be based on a social care needs led risk assessment. 

My Options Website

If you or someone you know would like to find out more about My Options and our wide range of services, our friendly team are waiting and available to help.
Please contact us by telephone on 01952 381317 or you can email us at myoptions@telford.gov.uk.


Frontline social care workers eligible for vaccination

A letter will shortly be sent to Social Care Direct Payment users in respect of Personal Assistants eligibility for vaccination. 

In summary:

Chapter 14a of Public Health England’s "Green Book"1 for immunisation against infectious disease details the priority groups for COVID vaccination as defined by the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). This includes JCVI cohort 2b: ‘Frontline Health and social care workers’.

Frontline care workers include:

All frontline social care workers directly working, and in regular and close contact with, people clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 who need care and support irrespective of where they work (for example in people’s own homes, day centres, care homes for working age adults or supported housing); whether they care for clinically vulnerable adults or children; or who they are employed by (for example local government, NHS private sector or third sector employees)

The Standard Operating Procedure2 produced to support identification of individuals includes frontline social care workers who provide care closely and regularly to those who are clinically vulnerable to COVID. Those clinically vulnerable to COVID are defined as:

  1. the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable
  2. those who have underlying health conditions leading to greater risk of disease or mortality,
  3. those of advanced age

The letter also includes instructions to Personal Assistants about how to access their vaccination.


Carer’s winter wellbeing guide 2020/2021

A new guide has been launched, the carer’s winter wellbeing guide 2020 – 2021 recognises the vital role carers play in looking after loved ones and the impact of their own wellbeing. This booklet will offer a one-stop guide to information, advice, guidance and contacts to support carers through the winter period. 2020 was an unprecedented year with many challenges faced by most of the population and it was particularly true for our carers.

The booklet has been co-produced with organisations across Telford and Wrekin, coming together with the purpose of supporting carers in their caring roles.  

View the carer’s winter wellbeing guide 2020 - 2021


Communication meetings with Parent Carer Forum (PODs) and Telford Information Advice and Support Service

Communication meetings between the Local Authority (LA), PODs (Parents Opening Doors) and Telford IASS (Information Advice and Support Service) have continued to be held on a regular basis. These meetings are vital for the local authority to discuss service developments and talk about key themes that are being heard from parent/carers. Please keep sharing your feedback with PODs and IASS so that we can ensure that the Parent/Carer FAQ’s are kept up to date.

Parent/Carer FAQs

PODS Parent/Carer Newsletters


Minister Ford – Letter 14 January 2021

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

Download the letter here