COVID-19 Guidance for Children with Additional Needs

This page is designed to provide you with resources, useful links and information around covid-19 and children with additional needs. This page covers a wide range of information from mental health support, to easy read guides and changes to EHCP assessments.

Particular teams at CYC have updated their pages with resources and links specific to certain needs, such as:

COVID-19 Support Line: A confidential Support line, staffed by the Educational Psychologist Team open Thursday Mornings 8-11:30am.  01904 553055

Open to all parents and carers who live in the City of York and practitioners who work with children and young people who live in the City of York. To talk through questions or concerns about children and young peoples well-being or during the pandemic.

Call slots of up to 30 minutes are available, Thursday Mornings 8am-11:30am. From May 28th - July 16th 2020.


Useful Links

Parent Support

 

For the latest information on Coronavirus (COVID-19), covering all other areas, including information for children and young people with SEND, visit the City of York Council Website

FAQS

 

The Council for Disabled Children

The Council for Disabled Children (CDC), at the Minister’s request, has launched two new email inboxes aimed to answer questions, collate resources and share information on Coronavirus and the impact on children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). They are designed to be used by professionals, practitioners, parent carers and families of children and young people with SEND.

The new ‘CDC questions’ inbox, CDCquestions@ncb.org.uk, provides the opportunity to ask questions about how coronavirus will impact on children and young people with SEND as well as other questions relating to the impact on families; the education, health, social care sectors; and the voluntary and community sector. We will collate Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and share them with the Department for Education and Ministers as appropriate, in order to publish an FAQs newsflash each Friday. To receive the FAQs newsflash please sign up to our mailing list, selecting the ‘CDC Digest’ option.

The ‘CDC resources’ inbox, CDCresources@ncb.org.uk, is designed to enable parent carers, sector professionals and practitioners to share resources, to support families of children and young people with SEND and practitioners across the disabled children’s sector. We will add these resources to our COVID-19 Support and Guidance webpage. The webpage is kept under continuous review.


You can ask your questions by emailing: CDCquestions@ncb.org.uk

You can send resources to: CDCresources@ncb.org.uk

 

Since the launch of the CDC Questions inbox on Monday CDC has received several questions and are in the process of engaging with the DfE and other sector experts to raise issues and develop responses. These will be shared in our FAQ next week along with any further questions that we receive. In the meantime please find below information from a range of sources that can support you in the meantime:

If you are a parent carer with a question about your individual circumstances you may be able to find an answer here:
•    Contact
•    Disabled Children's Partnership


For up-to-date Government guidance and information for practitioners on supporting disabled children during the Coronavirus outbreak please visit our website:

•      Council for Disabled Children - Supporting Disabled Children
 
NHS England have produced a Frequently Asked Questions document which they are updating weekly, you can find this here:

•      Council for Disabled Children - NHS

 

Changes to Education, Health and Care Plans During Covid-19

Updates on temporary changes to SEND Laws and Statutory duties

Updated on 01.05.20


On the 30 April 2020 the DfE announced some temporary changes that have been announced about the way that we support children and young people with Education Health and Care Plans from 1st May 2020. The main points of this guidance are summarised below but the full guidance is available to read in full in by following the link -guidance from the DfE.


All other statutory duties are the same as before. Co-production with families remains an important aspect of the way that we work.


We are committed to working in co-production with families wherever possible. With that in mind, I have included some further details of the changes below:
1.    Provision
• The council and health services are required to use ‘reasonable endeavours’ to provide what is in an EHCP.
• This means that we will consider for every individual child/young person what support should be provided at this time.
• For most children and young people, the support described in their EHCP will be different during the current coronavirus crisis. .
• Your child’s school or educational setting will have contacted you already to carry out a risk assessment with you. We will use this information to decide what support should be provided. We will review this if the situation changes.


2.    Timescales
• It may be necessary for professionals to carry out assessments for EHCPs in different ways, due to the need for social distancing. There may also be occasions where there are delays to assessments being completed due to the current coronavirus crisis.
• If your child’s assessment is delayed, we will keep you informed.
• Even when there is a delay, we will ensure the assessment is completed as soon as it is possible to do so.


3.    Annual Reviews
• Educational settings are making every effort to continue to hold annual reviews remotely for children with EHC Plans; however some may need to postpone annual review meetings due to take place in the summer term.


We will continue to work closely in partnership with families to ensure that children and young people receive the support they need in these unusual times. If you are struggling to support your child or young person at home, please discuss this with your child or young person’s SENCo in the first instance. If you need any more information or advice, please contact us on SENdept@york.gov.uk or send a message via the local offer website.


What does this guidance mean in York?

Decision-making
Whilst we are adhering to the social distancing requirements, there will be some changes to how decisions are made within City of York Council.
The SEN designated Officers will still meet to have a weekly discussion with the SEN Manager as part of their case work management and the majority of decisions, including requests for Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment, and issuing an Education, Health and Care Plan at the end of an assessment,  will be made through this process. When it is required, a virtual EHC Panel will be held fortnightly to seek further information and/or views from appropriate Education, Health and Care professionals.


Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments
City of York Council is following the most recent guidance from the DfE regarding the current Covid-19 pandemic. This has meant some changes to the way we are working.
We will continue to prioritise completing EHC Needs Assessments and producing EHC plans in a timely manner, particularly for children and young people who are starting or moving school in September 2020.


Professionals will continue to provide information and advice towards EHC needs assessment. They will do this using their knowledge of the children or young person and any information that is already available, and may contact you by telephone. They may also speak with other professionals, including nursery or school staff, about your children or young persons. Reports will continue to be sent to the SEN Team to SENdept@york.gov.uk.


Please be mindful that our Education, Health and Social Care partners who are ordinarily expected to contribute to EHC needs assessments are currently under significant pressure to manage the demand on the local authority and health bodies to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak. In view of this we have been advised that the Department for Education has amended regulations on the timescales for the EHC needs assessment process where this is appropriate because of Covid-19.


Our aim is to maintain ‘business as usual’ wherever possible; however, the unprecedented situation nationally around Covid-19 may have an impact on our ability to complete assessments within the required timescales. City of York local authority will ensure we use all reasonable endeavours to progress any agreed assessments and seek the required information and advice with a view to minimising the impact on this process. Our aim is to complete assessments within 20 weeks wherever possible.


Co-production of EHC Plans
As it is not possible to hold face to face meetings until further notice, Co-ordinated Assessment meetings (CAMs) will not take place, however this will not delay the assessment.
The SEN Designated Officer responsible for overseeing the assessment will ensure that they gather the views of the child or young person and their parent or carer though a phone call. This information, together with the information and advice provided by professionals, will be used to produce a plan for consideration by SEN Managers. If it is agreed that an EHC plan is required, a draft plan will be issued to parents, school and professionals. There will be opportunities for parents and professionals to discuss the contents of the plan, any queries they may have and any suggested amendments, with the SEN Designated Officer via telephone or email.


We will consider all amendments requested as we ordinarily would. Agreed amendments will be made and the final EHC plan will be issued. If any requested amendments have not been agreed an explanation of the reasons for this will be given.

Maintaining Education, Health and Care Plans
During the Covid-19 crisis, many children and young people with EHC plans can safely remain at home. Schools, colleges, other training providers and local authorities will consider the needs of all children and young people with an EHC plan, alongside the views of their parents, and make a risk assessment for each child or young person. All children and young people with EHC plans who need to be in school will be supported to do so or alternative arrangements made.


The Coronavirus Act 2020 allows the Secretary of State, where appropriate, to temporarily lift the statutory duty on local authorities to maintain the precise provision in EHC plans; with local authorities needing instead to apply ‘reasonable endeavours’ to support these children and their families.


Annual Review meetings
Educational settings are making every effort to continue to hold annual reviews remotely for children with EHC Plans; however some may need to postpone annual review meetings due to take place in the summer term.


Any annual review reports received by the SEN Co-ordination Team will be considered in the usual way and local authority recommendations will be communicated to parents and schools by phone call and email in the usual way.


Annual Reviews can either be completed on the old EHC Plan format or on the new Annual Review paperwork. Although the new paperwork launch has been put on hold during the Covid-19 pandemic, we still plan to launch the new paperwork in September 2020.

If you have any concerns or questions about the assessment or review process or provision for a child or young person with an EHC Plan, please email us on SENdept@ork.gov.uk.