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COVID-19 (Coronavirus): Frequently Asked Questions for parents and carers

We are committed to maintaining and supporting our community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Do not hesitate to get in touch if you need further information or support.

These questions will be reviewed and updated regularly. 

Access to the internet and devices

Question

What about families with no internet access?  What kind of support can they be given at home?

Schools have been providing a range of resources and packs for the children and young people in a range of formats. If you have no internet access then contact your school.

Schools are aware of challenges to home learning faced by families without access to laptops or the internet. To help, so they have made alternative arrangements to address this. This includes lending laptops, or sending paper copies of home learning tasks.

Schools are also offering resource packs with supplies like exercise books, scissors and colouring pencils.

Some schools like St. Giles Special School  are delivering toys to families to support and engage children with complex needs.

My child had access to technical equipment (iPad/laptop etc.) at schools.  How can we access these for home?

For help with this, contact your school for advice.

Care concerns

Question

What do I do if I become ill and cannot look after my child? 

If you have a social worker you should contact them in the first instance.

Parents, carers and professionals can contact the Single Point of Contact (SPOC) if you want to make a referral to Children Social Care. All referrals in Children Social Care come through SPOC and are directed to different teams according to the individual's situation.

Contact SPOC by email at childreferrals@croydon.gov.uk or by telephone on 020 8726 6400.

Are my benefits affected during this time?

No. Your benefits are not affected.

Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs)

Question

Who is completing the risk assessments for children and young person with an EHCP, as promised by the government? How many have been done to date in Croydon?

Risk assessments for Croydon children and young people with an EHCP are being completed by those who know the children best.

Schools have been completing risk assessments. The Council is receiving the risk assessments for Croydon children with an EHCP. Some schools have risk assessed groups of children and completed more in depth risk assessments for vulnerable children.

Every school or college at which a Croydon child or young person with an EHCP attends has been contacted by the Council to discuss the risk assessments and general information.

Can we still expect the same process and timeframe for completing an assessment of need for an EHCP?

The Council is awaiting updates from the Department for Education about any changes to the current process, as signalled in the Coronavirus Act.

As at the time of writing (6th April 2020) there has been no change to our legal duties, and Croydon Council’s SEN Service continues to address them as best as possible in the current circumstances.

Are social care assessments still taking place?

Yes. Assessments are being undertaken.

How will year 5 annual reviews be undertaken and selection of secondary school placements be supported for the July submission?

EHCP secondary transfers are managed in accordance with SEN legislation by the SEN Service through the secondary and post 16 transfer processes. The date for EHC Plan secondary transitions is set in legislation (15th Feb) and for post 16 transfers by 31st March. We don’t anticipate these dates will change.

We are expecting updates from the DfE about SEN legislation under current COVID-19 arrangements. We will update these FAQs to let you know about important changes.

Staying in touch with children and young people and their families

Question

How will Croydon Council be capturing the views of the children and young people during this time?

We are in touch with our schools and settings, where the views and well-being of the children and young people are being shared.

Children and young people known to social care are being contacted by their social workers, including including face to face where necessary. For such meetings safeguarding and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is used to protect everyone.

Schools and settings

Question

When will nurseries, schools and colleges be opening again?

We don't know yet. We will led by central Government on when to re-open.

How can I appeal about the school we were offered for September 2020?

The tribunal process remains the same. Appeal rights through the SEN Tribunal are explained in the letter you will have received. Find out more about the process

My child was excluded from school just before schools closed. How will their education be provided?

A child’s school is responsible for providing education when a child has a fixed term exclusion. The Council has commissioned Alternative Provision for children who are permanently excluded. Alternative Provision is being provided by outreach support and over the internet in the current context.

How will annual reviews be undertaken?

Schools co-ordinate annual reviews.  Each school has its own arrangements for managing meetings in current circumstances. It may be that meetings are offered through a virtual format (like Microsoft Teams or Zoom) if parents and their children/young people are able to access these.

The SEN team will be writing to parents and schools about annual reviews due this term during the first week of the summer term (the week beginning 20 April).

Specialist support

Question

Is there any outreach for behavioural support?

The first place to go for support is your child's school.

For general advice contact the Educational Psychology Service on edpsychology@octavopartnership.org.

How can my child access speech and language therapy during this time? 

Routine clinic-based appointments, home visits and new assessments for education needs have temporarily been paused. In many cases, support for children speech, language and communication needs would have been provided by teaching staff, following the advice and guidance from the speech and language team. We are working hard to deliver this support in other ways.

Find out more about speech and language therapy and other health services

My child can be very challenging and there is currently no respite. I'm worried about my mental health with the pressure of being home 24/7. What kind of support is there for families like us?

Children already open to the Children with Disabilities and Transition services continue in many cases to receive support packages. This is through direct payments and also through care agencies.

In circumstances where carers are unable to provide support, you should contact your social worker to discuss other ways to get support.

Children who are not currently receiving a support package from Children Social Care whose families feel they need support should contact the Single Point of Contact (SPOC).

My child’s siblings are in danger of being hurt by my son with challenging behaviour. Is there any support for them?

Your first place to go for advice is your school. They will know your child and be able to offer informed advice and guidance.

For general help and guidance contact the Educational Psychology Service on: edpsychology@octavopartnership.org.

Families can contact the Children with Disabilities and Transition services for advice on: 0208 726 6100 extension 61974.

If you have an immediate worry concerning safeguarding or should any family find themselves struggling to keep their children safe from harm during this difficult time they should make contact with SPOC. 


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