The local offer and coronavirus

Resources for SEND families during the COVID-19 outbreak and returning to school.

A message from SEND and children's disability services - 20 July

We are aware there have been changes at government guidance on coronavirus restrictions. At the moment the information on this page remains relevant but we will be reviewing this with all SEND Teams during July and August so that updated information is available to you once schools open in September. 

General information about COVID-19.

SENSS support update

Under risk assessment, SENSS staff can deliver services in-person as usual, in schools and settings, and in family homes.

In order to reduce potential transmission, some actions may be undertaken remotely where it is possible to do this effectively e.g. meetings with other adults and some training.

In the event that children are isolating and accessing education remotely, any SENSS staff members involved in supporting individual children and young people with SEND will liaise with the school or setting and family to offer support as appropriate.

School transport update 

Supported Transport has managed a high level of requests for transport changes following recent changes in government guidance. For us to maintain this, it is important that any changes to transport requirements, for example, cancellations, come directly from the schools to Supported Transport and not from the parent to the provider.

Where Supported Transport has been informed by your child’s school that they will be attending, your eligibility will continue and transport will continue to be arranged.  If you wish to confirm this arrangement, you can check with your school who will notify the Supported Transport Hub. 

Where possible, the service provider for your child’s transport will remain the same but in some cases, it may need to be adjusted. We continue to use only DBS checked and Safeguard Trained operators. 

If you have any questions, contact the Supported Transport Hub:

Social care update

Social care is providing support, and while most of our support has to be virtual, we are contactable and will respond. If your child has a social worker, please contact them in the usual way, if there is no social worker for your child, please contact the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) who will be able to make a referral (you can telephone on 0345 050 766 or use the online form.

If you are worried about your child or the support they are receiving, speak to your child’s school or other relevant professionals involved in your child’s care. They will work with you to identify the best way to support your child in these.

  • Self-referrals from families can go to LCSS (or MASH if immediate).

  • If you think you have low-level safeguarding concerns (those that are a 1 or 2 on the Threshold of Needs , pg.10) you can call LCSS.

  • Immediate concerns must be reported to MASH on 0345 050 7666.  

Educational Psychology Service support update

In the current lockdown, there have been some changes to the way support is provided.

All work that can be completed remotely through the use of Microsoft Teams or phone calls will be completed in this way. If there are exceptional circumstances, and educational psychologists need to visit the school this will be subject to a risk assessment to keep everyone safe.  

Parents and schools can continue to contact educational psychologists they are already working with using the same phone numbers and email addresses.

If general advice is needed then schools or parents can contact the email address below and request a call from one of the EPs. General information about the EPS is available on the local offer.

SEND Casework Team update

The SEND Casework Team's service is 'business as usual'. There has been no relaxation of statutory timeframes or delivery of provision relating to education, health and care plans (EHCPs).

Children and young people with EHCPs are strongly encouraged to continue to attend their school or setting unless they are self-isolating or shielding.

For more information, email SENCentralTeam@Oxfordshire.gov.uk

Early Years SEN Team support for families update

Early years settings and nurseries are currently open. We are linking closely with all families with whom we are actively involved to establish whether their children are attending or not.

If there are children, whose families have chosen not to send their children to nursery, we will aim to work closely with them to understand the reasons why and, if necessary, provide remote support to help with home learning and emotional wellbeing.

We continue to support early years settings to identify children with SEND and to meet their learning and emotional needs. We are mainly doing this remotely but face-to-face visits are happening when necessary.

SENSS Resource Bases update

  • Our resource bases are open as usual and all pupils are expected to attend.
  • We work hard to keep bases safe by following government guidance on the spread of infection and working within the host school risk assessment controls.
  • In the event that children are isolating and accessing education remotely, Base staff will work with the school and family to offer support as appropriate to ensure that students continue to engage with their learning and to check on their wellbeing.
  • If attendance of base staff is affected by sickness and isolation to the extent that we cannot maintain the staffing levels required to safely accommodate all pupils, contingency plans may need to be actioned. (Any decision to close or partially close a base will be made by the headteacher in consultation with SENSS managers and we will only do this if necessary and for the shortest possible time)

SENSS Sensory, Physical and Complex Needs Service update

  • Advisory teams continue to support children and young people who are attending their place of education. Specialist teachers can visit in person - this is subject to risk assessment to keep everyone as safe as possible. Involvement may be virtual if appropriate e.g. for meetings with other adults.
  • Please see above for support available if children or young people are self-isolating.

SENSS Communication and Interaction Support Service update

  • Our teams continue to provide specialist advisory support to schools and to children and young people who are attending their place of education. Involvement may be virtual if appropriate e.g. for meetings with other adults.
  • Virtual training can still be delivered to school staff in line with our usual training offer but we are mindful that staff in schools are working very hard just to manage teaching and learning under the current arrangements, so we expect that the take up of training may be less than usual.
  • Please see above for support available if children or young people are self-isolating.
  • Virtual training can still be delivered to school staff in line with our usual training offer but we are mindful that staff in schools are working very hard just to manage teaching and learning under the current arrangements, so we understand that the take up of training may be affected.

SEND community health support and coronavirus

Read information on Oxfordshire Community Health support and services (pdf format, 195Kb)  

Online resources for families and disabled children and young people

  • Disabled Children's Partnership (DCP) - a range of information, activities and condition-specific advice. 
  • Contact - Coronavirus - information for families with disabled children which includes children with health needs, coping at home, coronavirus, welfare benefits and money. 
  • Family Fund - a collection of links from organisations that provide services, advice and other help to families raising disabled or seriously ill children.

Online resources for family activities (pdf format, 45Kb)

Learning resources to support home schooling

  • University College London - Homeschooling children with SEND: a series of information resources to help parents, carers and families support pupils with SEND at home during the period of school closures.
  • Topmarks -  educational activities and resources for all school subjects and key stages. 
  • Save the Children - web page includes family learning activities and guidance on how to talk to children about coronavirus. 

Resources for online learning (pdf format, 67Kb)