Coronavirus (COVID-19) - SEND Information for Schools - Coping in a Crisis & Local Outbreak Control

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Information for schools on the Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

If you are looking for information for families, please visit our Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Information and support for families of children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Useful links

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

    Phone: 0800 046 8687
    Opening hours: 8am to 6pm – Monday to Friday 

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


Regional Briefing Session - 24 February 2021

Taking Stock: Meeting the needs of children and young people with SEND (Feb 2021)

André Imich, SEN and Disability Professional Adviser, DfE

Department for Education
Get help with remote education - updated January 2021
Guide for parents on what remote education should look like - January 2021

What should remote education look like? - Guide for parents  includes schools, colleges and FE providers.
Providing remote education information to parents - template - updated January 2021

Providing remote education information to parents: template 

An optional template to support schools when publishing information about their remote education provision on their websites during the spring term.
Support for teachers delivering remote education - January 2021

Dfe Update

The most recent updates to DfE guidance and new best practice examples can be found on the Get Help with Remote Education page on You can also:

  • access peer support from the Demonstrator Network, who are on hand to offer bespoke advice and training, including ways digital platforms and devices can be used to support remote education arrangements. An online library of tools, tutorials and guidance is also available
  • download example lesson plans, annotated with tips and ideas that schools have found useful when teaching remotely 
  • access support for teachers, leaders and SENCOs on ways assistive technology can be used to secure inclusive remote education arrangements through National Star’s SEND hub
  • find practical CPD on delivering remote education and best practice examples at the virtual conference, BettFest taking place on 20-22 January.

Support from other organisations

The DfE have collated a list of resources and initiatives to support schools to plan and deliver remote education. This includes a range of DfE-funded curriculum support as well as a list of DfE-approved frameworks, which schools may find helpful.

If you haven't already, explore Oak National Academy's free resources. The Teacher Hub and Online Classroom give you and your pupils access to thousands of lessons to download and personalise. Their support pages provide hints and tips on delivering remote education. 

The BBC has adapted their education support for spring term 2021 and have made educational content available on the television. This will help to ensure all children and young people can access curriculum-based learning from home, even if they don’t have access to the internet.

National Tutoring Programme: subsidised tutoring available

The National Tutoring Programme continues to support pupils through lockdown, with Tuition Partners offering online tutoring for disadvantaged pupils at home, as well as continuing to offer support to vulnerable pupils in schools.

Over 60,000 pupils have been enrolled so far and further places are available in all regions. Find tutoring for your school or book ahead for later in the year

Regional Briefing Session 12 January 2021
Department for Education
Children of critical workers and vulnerable children who can access schools or educational settings - Updated 8 January 2021
Get help with technology during the coronavirus (COVID-19) - Updated January 2021

The Department for Education (DfE) is providing a range of support to schools, colleges, academy trusts and local authorities through its Get help with technology programme.

Parents, carers and pupils cannot apply for digital devices or internet access through this scheme themselves. They should contact their school to discuss requirements for accessing remote education.

Guidance includes:

More information is available on the website.
Actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak - Updated January 2021
Children's mental health support pathway - Dec 20

Staffordshire's mental health support pathway - this shows support  available to children and young people and how to access it.

Children's mental health pathway
Minister Ford's open letter to the SEND sector - 9 November 2020

Vicky Ford MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families has written a letter to all children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, their parents/carers and families, and others who support them. It has been sent following the new national restrictions and provides information on:

  • School attendance
  • Children and young people who are clinically extremely vulnerable
  • Remote education
  • New winter package to provide further support for children and families
  • Face coverings in education settings
  • Respite
  • Health services for children and young people with SEND

Minister Ford's Letter dated 9 November 2020 

Department of Education, Minister Vicky Ford
Grants for families raising disabled children available from Family Fund - November 2020

The Department for Education has provided a further £10 million to the Family Fund which is a UK-wide charity that provides grants for essential items to families on low incomes raising disabled or seriously ill children. Families can apply for grants for a wide variety of items that they feel could help their disabled child and ease some of the everyday pressures they face. These can include kitchen appliances, computers and tablets, furniture, family breaks and day trips, sensory toys, clothing and bedding, and more. Family Fund cannot consider requests where a statutory agency has assessed a need and have a responsibility to provide the item.

Families who have previously received a grant from Family Fund before 1 April 2020 and whose circumstances have not changed can re-apply for further support. This funding is still available, and families can apply for a grant by visiting the Family Fund website

Family Fund - Helping disabled children
Coping with a Crisis at School - September 2019
Emotional well-being resources - September 2020

A range of emotional wellbeing materials are available to access to help support children and young people, parents and practitioners following the COVID-19 pandemic.

SCC & Educational Psychology Service
Learning Disabilities: A guide to health checks and coronavirus - September 2020
Health Education England - September 2020

Information and resources about coronavirus.  Sections on:

    • Accessible formats including a coronavirus picture vocabulary

    • Children and young people

    • Carers

    • Cancer and coronavirus

    • Life long conditions

    • Mental wellbeing

    • Looking after yourself. 
Local Outbreak Control Plans - Education and Early Year Settings - May 2020

The Local Outbreak and Control Plans document provides information for Education and Early Year Settings on:

  • Test and Trace
  • Local Outbreak Control Plans
  • Local Arrangements
  • Reporting Local Outbreaks
  • Staffordshire COVID-19 Local Outbreak Operational Response Procedure - Education and Early Year Settings
  • Contact Information
Local Outbreak Control Plans - Education and Early Years Settings SCC
EHCP Risk Assessment Form - May 2020
£37 million to support children with complex needs - July 2020

The multi-million-pound settlement will help low-income families with seriously ill or disabled children with the cost of equipment, goods or services.

Children with special educational needs and disabilities in England will benefit from £37.3 million of direct support in 2020-21, which is expected to help more than 75,000 families in England.

Families with children that have complex needs and disabilities will receive grants for vital equipment to make their lives easier while implementing social distancing measures, including computers, specialist equipment and educational toys.

£10 million of the total has been committed specifically in response to the unique difficulties presented by the coronavirus pandemic, helping parents educate and look after disabled or critically ill children who are staying at home more than usual.

Families can find out more and apply for a grant through the Family Fund.   

Other people that know the family well can help with the application where required; this could be a teacher or a health visitor for example. logo
New Family Hubs - Updated July 2020

Coronavirus has changed the way we live, work and learn. 

We know that family life is a little bit harder at the moment, that's why we’ve created 8 hubs of help for families across Staffordshire.

How can we help?

Contact your local Family Hub to:

Ways to connect with your Family Hub

You can connect with your local Family Hub on Facebook, by phone, text and email

Contact details and links for the Family Hubs

Local Family Hubs Facebook pages:

SCC logo
SENDIASS Coronavirus Newsletter - Helpful information for parents of children with SEND - Updated August 2020

SENDIASS Weekly Coronavirus Updates for Parents of Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Edition 9

  • On-line programme from The Prince's Trust
  • Locally-run activities
  • Keeping busy at home
  • Stay safe online this Summer 

Edition 8

  • Online education updates
  • National education catch up programme to be funded
  • Mental health support for pupils
  • An update from the CYP Autism Service
  • How you can have your say
  • The Summer Reading Challenge

Edition 7

  • Resources to help children with SEND who are returning to school
  • The latest government advice and information relating to children and young people
  • Virtual session on temporary changes to SEND law
  • SEND adapted Barclays LifeSkills lesson plans
  • Virtual activities for Staffordshire's children and young people with SEND

Edition 6

  • Government funding to support children with complex needs
  • Supporting children and young people with their mental health
  • 'Introduction to Autism' workshop online from CYP Autism Service
  • Staffordshire Libraries Services online 
  • Training and information to help you keep your child safe online

Edition 5

  • SEND children returning to school
  • new Family Hubs for each district of Staffordshire
  • new health app finder tool
  • relaxed requirements for Traineeships
  • home learning resources for children with specific SEND
  • Safe+Sound learning programme

Edition 4

  • free online lessons for children from reception to year 10

  • new helpline for parents struggling with home-schooling & difficulties arising from SEND

  • relaxed lockdown rules for those who need it due to their health needs

  • accessing health care for your children during the lockdown

  • a new service set up to support those in isolation called Help Hub

Edition 3

  • what is happening with EHC needs assessments and plans

  • financial help for families who have a child with SEND

  • how you can help to shape how SEND children are supported

  • Young Professional FREE training 

  • help available for parents/carers

  • online courses for parents of children with SEND

Edition 2

  • services providing support.

  • how you could help efforts to support the most vulnerable

  • free courses for 15 - 24 year olds

  • emotional wellbeing

  • talking to your child about coronavirus

  • keeping children and young people safe when online

Edition 1

  • the latest on what is happening with schools and other education settings for children with SEND

  • tips and ideas for staying at home

  • support services that may be able to help and support you either online or over helplines
Revised guidance on face coverings- August 2020

As a result of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) new statement on the 21 August, the government has revised its guidance on face coverings for staff and children in Year 7 or above in England: 

  • Nationwide, while the government is not recommending face coverings are necessary, schools will have the discretion to require face coverings in communal areas if they believe that is right in their particular circumstances. 

  • In areas where transmission of COVID-19 is high, face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils in secondary schools when moving around the school, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain.  

This revised approach will also apply to further education colleges and will be reflected in guidance to universities, but does not apply to children in primary schools where the risks to children are lower.  

Back to school information pack for schools - August 2020

As pupils are welcomed back to school full-time for the autumn term, a communication pack filled with materials has been created to reassure parents. The pack includes leaflets, images and videos to share with parents on the importance of regular handwashing, advice on travelling to and from school, and adaptable assets for schools to tailor accordingly. 

These resources are available to download via the PHE communications resource hub and DfE Dropbox. Versions of the parent leaflets in other languages will be available to download shortly. 

Parents are also encouraged to visit for information and practical guidance to help them plan for their children’s return to school. 

Public Health England Guidance and Correspondence - September 2020 logo
Supporting children and young people with SEND as schools and colleges prepare for full opening - July 2020

July's Briefing from André Imich, SEN and Disability Professional Adviser, DfE.


  • Feedack from children and young people about how they feel about going back to school and would would help.

  • Full return the key messages

    • The prevalence of coronavirus has decreased.

    • The NHS Test and Trace system is up and running.

    • Clarity about the measures that need to be in place to create safer environments within education settings.

    • Time out of an education setting is detrimental to social, cognitive, academic and health development, esp. for disadvantaged  children and young people.

    • The risk to children and young people themselves of becoming severely ill from coronavirus is very low.

All children and young people, in all year groups and setting types, are expected to return to education settings, full time, from the beginning of the autumn term.

  • Guidance for all schools, including special and other specialist settings.

  • System of control

  • Social Distancing

  • Risk assessments

  • Transport

  • Wider issues - Temporary legislative changes, Covid-19 LA SEND Service Data Collection, Transition – post-16, Local area inspections

Key guidance documents:

Supplementary Slides (not used in briefing):

  • Contingency planning for outbreaks

  • Local lockdowns/ The Leicester situation

  • Exams

  • Short Breaks

  • Early Year Settings

  • Further Education

  • Extending provision in a school setting for those aged 19 and over

  • Suported internships

  • Split placements

  • Summer support

  • Children who spit

  • Curriculum planning

  • Equipment and Resources

  • Teachers who teach multiple classes

  • Staff who are clinically vulnerable or extremely clinically vulnerable

  • Ofsted

  • SEND Single Route of Redress
Vicky Ford's Open Letter to the SEND Sector 30.5.20 - schools opening - May 2020

Vicky Ford MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families has written a letter to all children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, their parents/carers and families, and others who support them. It explains how the wider opening of schools and other educational settings may affect your family. It includes links to various guidance and support available. 

Minister Ford's Letter dated 30 May 2020 to the SEND Sector - Schools Opening 

Department for Education, Vicky Ford
Supporting children and young people with SEND as schools and colleges prepare for wider opening - May 2020
EHC needs assessments and plans & temporary changes in legislation May 2020

We're working hard to keep the EHC plan process moving. Assessments for an EHC plan may look different as it becomes more difficult to do our work face to face. We may need to do more by telephone or video calls where possible. Our decision-making panels are moving to online meetings. We'll continue to review this.

Temporary EHCP legislative changes relating to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The government have legislated two temporary changes with effect from 1 May 2020 relating to educational and health care provision within an EHCP and timescales:

  1. Section 42 of the CFA 2014 (duty to secure special educational provision and health care provision in accordance with EHC plan): the duty on LAs or commissioning health bodies to secure or arrange the provision is temporarily modified to a duty to use ‘reasonable endeavours’ to do so.  This temporary modification is until 30 June 2020 and will be reviewed before 1 June 2020.  It must be renewed monthly, where the Secretary of State decides it is still appropriate and proportionate.
  2. The SEND (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 amend Regs that specify timescales that principally relate to EHC needs assessments and plans. Where it is not reasonably practicable, or is impractical, to meet that time limit for a reason relating to the incidence or transmission of coronavirus, the specific time limit will not apply -  process must be completed as soon as reasonably practicable.  The timescale temporary modifications are in place until 25 September 2020.

Useful documents:

Preparing an Education Health and Care Plan
Working together to keep children safe - May 2020

Multi partners updates on Coronavirus – (Covid19) 13 May 2020

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Safeguarding Children Board have produced a roundup of partners updates around change of services due to the Coronavirus (Covid 19). Please visit the relevant agencies websites for more information.  A printable version is available in our download section to the right of the page.

Staffordshire Police

Staffordshire police have launched a new briefing document containing their protocol around engagement with children and young people during Covid-19.

The purpose of the document is for police and partners to consider the most effective way of managing children and young people during the COVID-19 pandemic. This document provides information regarding new legislative powers, the national approach by police forces and considerations for the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on children and young people.  View the document in full.

Real Service

Real Services have developed an exploitation signs and terminology toolkit for helping front line staff through coronavirus when having conversations with young people. The toolkit is by no means 100% concrete, but it has been developed using real lived experiences. 

Real Services work collaboratively with schools and agency's when targeting criminal exploitation, and the toolkit is available here

Bereavement UK

Following the tragic amount of deaths, we have seen during the Covid-19 pandemic, there will be many children and young people affected by the loss of an important person.

In anticipation for increase need for support Child Bereavement UK are holding free webinars which have been designed for and by those working within the education sector, providing an introduction to supporting a bereaved student.

There are specific webinars targeted towards nursery; primary; and secondary settings. Children's understanding and responses tend to vary according to their age and level of understanding, and the training reflects this.

The training is suitable for all staff working in schools; teachers, LSA, TAs, mentors, pastoral or welfare support, SENCO, Head Teachers/Principals and Governors.

The webinars run over half term (May 21 -28). You can register here.

NSPCC safe online webinars

The internet is an amazing place.  Kids canplay create, learn and connect - the possibilities are endless.  But there are also risks.

To help, the NSPCC and 02 are working together to offer free 30 minute webinars for groups of parents, grandparents and carers, making it easy for you to keep your family safe online.  Webinars are delivered by experienced NSPCC staff.

Topics include: 

  • Why children enjoy using the internet and how it can help them, as well as the risks.
  • Concerns that families might have about their child's use of the internet.
  • Exploring how families navigate the digital landscape together, safely.

It is free to join.  The webinars offer lots of practical tips as well as signposting to free resources and extra support for families.

If you'd like to organise a webinar on behalf of a group (community group, staff team, corporate supporter), or register your interest to attend a pre-recorded webinar, please contact 

Safeguarding Children's Board logo
Online educational resources - April 2020
  • Oak National Academy online classroom and resource hub. The Oak National Academy has launched its online classroom and resource hub. The Academy offers 180 video lessons each week for schools to use, across a broad range of subjects. The lessons cover children in Reception through to Year 10 and are free to use by both teachers and young people. 

    Can you help?  The videos on the site are not yet subtitled.  To be able to release subtitled videos they need support with proof-reading and amending the automated subtitles. If you would be interested in supporting with this to help visually-impaired children access their learning, then please register your interest through this form.

  • BBC Bitesize - The BBC has launched an education package for Year 1 to Year 10 across TV and online.  It features celebrities and teachers, helping to keep children and young people learning at home and supporting parents. 

  • Help children with SEND continue their education during coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance 

  • Online educational resources for home learning Online educational resources for schools and parents to help children to learn at home during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.  Recently updated with further resources and additional tips to help parents and carers with home education.

  • Remote education during coronavirus (COVID-19) - Information, guidance and support for teachers and leaders on educating children during the coronavirus outbreak

Autism Outreach Team - Facebook page goes live - April 2020

Check out Autism Outreach Team's New Facebook Page for support and resources.

Talking to children and young people about the Coronavirus - Updated April 2020


NHS's Top 5 Tips for maintaining mental wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak

You can view these and more tips on Every Mind Matters.

  1. Talk about your worries: it is normal to feel worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. Maintain contact with friends and family via phone and video calls to share how you are feeling.
  2. Keep a regular routine and set goals: you may need to set a new routine for now. Try writing a plan for your day with the things you can still do at home, such as watching a film, reading a book or completing a puzzle. Setting goals and achieving them gives a sense of control and purpose. Maintaining good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how you feel mentally and physically too, so it’s important to get enough (the Every Mind Matters sleep page provides practical advice).
  3. Manage your media and information intake: if 24-hour news and constant social media updates are making you worried, try to limit the time you spend watching, reading or listening to coverage of the outbreak to once or twice a day.
  4. Do things you enjoy and try something new: focusing on your favourite hobby, learning something new or simply taking time to relax indoors should give you some relief from anxious thoughts and feelings and can help boost your mood. Look online for free tutorials and courses.
  5. Look after your body: our physical health has a big impact on how we feel. At times like these it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour that end up making you feel worse. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and exercise regularly. You can leave your house, alone or with members of your household, for one form of exercise a day – like a walk, run or bike ride. But make sure you keep a safe 2-metre distance from others.'


Easy read coronavirus information - April 2020
Entrust Support - April 2020

Staffordshire County Council's commissioned delivery from Entrust will continue whereever possible via skype/teams and telephone. Entrust are also operating additional telephone support providing advice and guidance and this can be accessed via dedicated inboxes:

Mediation and Disagreement Resolution Service - April 2020

The Provider has moved to virtual meetings in all cases.  Unfortunately, the County Council’s ICT does not support the use of Zoom at this time, however Global Mediation have been asked to contact all Locality Managers to ensure alternative ways of conducting virtual meetings can be established.

SCC Logo
Update on Vulnerable Learners' Services - SCC April 2020


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