Shropshire Council

Resources and support

Resources and support

Children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities have faced lots of changes in their day to day lives because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  Their routines, regular support and the people they see regularly may have changed. This may be a confusing time for them and as a parent you may be worried about your child returning to school in September. 

We recognise that children and families will have had a varied experience of their time during ‘lockdown’ and will also have a varied response to the latest announcements from the government that schools will open for all children in September.  Many children will be looking forward to seeing their friends again and re-establishing the routine and structure provided by school, whilst others may be feeling anxious and concerned about the return.  Shropshire education settings are working in close partnership with a range of services, agencies and practitioners to provide the necessary support and guidance to children and families to facilitate a safe and positive re-integration back into school or college and to respond to any concern’s families may encounter.

The closure of schools has had a significant impact on many children and it is now recognised that, following the change in circumstances, it is vital for all children to return to school to minimise, as far as possible, the longer-term impact of the pandemic on children’s education, wellbeing and wider development.

Explaining coronavirus

Easy read materials are an accessible information format for people with a learning disability, using pictures alongside simple text to make things easier to understand.

The virtual Speak out  Stay Safe Assembly will help children understand what’s currently happening, why they may be feeling anxious or worried, and where to get help if they need it.

This short video uses images and Makaton signing to explain coronavirus to children and young people.

This short video is a lovely resource featuring cartoon animals which is great for helping to explain social distancing to children.

This online game is aimed at primary school aged children to teach them the importance of social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Home schooling

The impact of the pandemic has left many of us juggling the new responsibility of homeschooling alongside our normal day to day duties which can feel overwhelming, so we've complied a vast list of home schooling educational resources and activities for families, children and young people and teaching staff to use during these unprecedented times.

SEND Newsletter for parents/carers and families

Shropshire Council, the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the Parent and Carer Council (PACC) have jointly come together to produce this SEND Newsletter which is aimed at supporting parent/carers of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. We hope you find it useful.

Support for parents/carers and families

Support for other parent carers has always been recognised as really important for SEND families and it has never been more important to stay in touch with each other. Locally there are a number of parent carer run support groups where parent carer can chat with each other and share experiences and information. While these groups can’t meet face to face currently, they are offering online support.

Shropshire Parent & Carer Council (PACC) have written a supporting article - 'Surviving Lockdown'.

Shropshire Parent & Carer Council (PACC) have written the following article as SEND families are preparing to return to school after lockdown - 'Taking the Next Step - Thoughts from PACC'.

Shropshire Parent & Carer Council (PACC) have written a blog post (August 2020) which give parents/carers lots of information and advice as we look to children and young people returning to school in September.

Parents/carers share their experience

We have been interested to learn more and gather feedback from parent carers in Shropshire on their experiences of home schooling and school support during lockdown.  The SEN Team have phoned a selection of parents of children with EHCPs to find out how school have been supporting the family and if reasonable endeavours have been made to meet needs using other alternative methods where possible. 

The SEN Team would also like to share this video where you can hear Mark, a Shropshire pupil, and his mum's experience of a Shropshire Secondary School's support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Parent Carer Council (PACC) have also gathered the following parent carer articles:

Making a difficult decision
We had a huge amount of questions
The importance of a personalised approach
A different but better experience

If you are a parent or young person and you would like to share your experiences please email local.offer@shropshire.gov.uk

Information Advice & Support Service (IASS)

Shropshire Information, Advice and Support Service (IASS), provides free, confidential and impartial information, advice and support around Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, including health and social care. Support is offered from initial concerns about a possible SEN and disability, through to complex information and advice.

IASS continues to be available, 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. If you would like further independent information, advice and support, email them on iass@cabshropshire.org.uk.  Alternatively, a message can be left on 01743 280019. They aim to respond within 3 working days.

This leaflet provides further details about the service. Parents can also connect with them on their Facebook page. The IASS Youth Worker wants to hear from young people. They can offer support, including signposting, around education, health and social care issues. Aged 16 to 25? Connect with them on the Young People Facebook page.

For further information visit their website.

Mental Health Support

Gov.uk: Guidance for parents and carers on supporting Children and Young People’s mental health, including an easy read guide for looking after your feelings and your body.

BEAM: Since April 2020, Beam have been offering a call-back telephone service for children and young people who want support for their emotional health and well-being.

The telephone support replaces the Beam drop in sessions and is available for those aged 0-25 years who need some advice, a listening ear or just want to get some more information on how to feel better about themselves.

If you feel your child(ren)/young person would benefit from their support, please take a look at their website. For young people aged 13+ please ask them to contact BEAM via AskBeam@childrenssociety.org.uk. For young people who are aged 13 and under, you will need to contact BEAM on their behalf via AskBeam@childrenssociety.org.uk.

BEAM have produced a number of useful resources during this period:
Talking to your child about coronavirus
Responding to reassurance seeking
Ways to reduce feelings of anxiety
A guide for coping with social anxiety
Transitions during and beyond lockdown

Togetherall: Free online anonymous community offering mental health support service for young people and adults across Shropshire. The 24/7 online support service is a collaboration between Shropshire Council’s Public Health Team and Togetherallan online service provider which offers free access and support for people with anxiety, depression and other common mental health issues. 

The service includes: 

  • Access 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
  • Clinically managed with trained professionals available 24/7 to keep the community safe
  • Self-assessments and recommended resources
  • Creative tools to help express how you’re feeling
  • Wide range of self-guided courses to do at your own pace

Kooth: Free safe and anonymous online support for young people 

Shout Crisis text line: Text 85258
A free 24/7 text service for anyone worried about their mental health
available at any time, any place and need immediate help.

The Mix Young people chat line: 0808 808 4994 ( 7 days a week, 4pm - 11pm).
Free support for children and young people aged 13-25.
Online articles, blogs, as well as telephone helpline, 1-2-1 chat and crisis messenger.

Young Minds Parents Hotline: 0808 8025544 (9.30am – 4.00pm) Free, confidential online and telephone support including information and advice to any adult worried about the emotional problems, behaviour or mental health of a child or young person up to the age of 25.

Childline: A listening and support emotional health and wellbeing service for children and young people under 25: Call 0800 1111.

Healios, ThinkNinja app: Empowering children and young people to build resilience, manage their emotional health and to fulfil their potential.

Information for supporting young people's mental health during periods of disruption: https://www.annafreud.org/what-we-do/anna-freud-learning-network/coronavirus/

Covibook - An interactive resource designed to support and reassure children aged 7 and under during the pandemic. https://www.mindheart.co/descargables

Physical Health & Mobility

Physical Health and mobility with schools and leisure facilities closed and many of us spending more time at home, it is more important than ever that we keep moving and stay healthy and positive. The resources below can help us with exercise which in turn can make us feel happier, more energised and more optimistic.

Cosmic Kids Yoga Youtube video: Yoga, mindfulness and relaxation designed specifically for kids aged 3+, used in schools and homes all over the world.

Joe Wicks – P.E. with Joe, Youtube Video: Join Joe Wicks the bodycoach every day for a home workout aimed at kids Monday to Friday 9am on Youtube The Body Coach TV

Les Mills on Demand At Home Workouts (free resource): Temporary free site with over 100 workouts to do at home to keep fit and healthy while gym and exercise facilities are closed Includes a range of video classes from mindfulness, dance fitness, martial arts inspired bodycombat and high intensity training for improving strength and fitness

Energize – Movement, learning, active blasts and wellbeing resources: Links to a wide range of free resources which can be used at home to improve our physical and mental wellbeing In addition to helping families with active learning, there are a range of website with information which everyone can benefit from

AOC Sport – Resources to keep active during the coronavirus: Links to organisations, including some colleges who have collated free online content suitable for students and staff while at home

Bereavement Support

Hope Again: The youth website of Cruse Bereavement Care. It is a safe place where you can learn from other young people, how to cope with grief, and feel less alone.

Shropshire Council have put together a booklet called Bereavement & grief during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Returning to school

Research suggests that many children and young people can find the transition between schools unsettling and stressful. Following the current public health crisis (Covid-19) it is likely that many children and young people will experience similar feelings when they return to school once social isolation ends, especially those who are vulnerable, have special educational needs, or are moving to a new school.  

Returning to school after time at home due to coronavirus can be a worrying time for children and parents as they wonder what to expect.  This short video will help explain to them - and to you - what may have changed, and why. Check your settings website / social media page to see if they have a video specific to your setting as we have seen many excellent examples in Shropshire.

Advice from Autism West Midlands - Returning to School 
Advice from IASS - Returning to School
Letter to parents from the SEN Team - Returning to School
BEAM - Ways to reduce feelings of anxiety
BEAM - A guide for coping with social anxiety

As school attendance becomes compulsory from September 2020, Shropshire Council have set up a helpline for parents and carers to offer support and guidance to ensure a successful return to school. See flyer below. 

Returning to college

To support transition, colleges will be working with young people their families and schools to discuss ways to support transition from school to college. Have a look at this document for more information: Post 16 transition from school to college.

Transport From September 2020

As the Coronavirus (Covid-19) emergency continues, Shropshire Council is working to re-activate all its home to school transport for entitled pupils from September 2020.

The Government has decided that all schools will re-open in September 2020 and all pupils will return to school. They have issued advice (e.g. Department for Education Transport to School and other places of education; Autumn Term 2020, published 11 August 2020) about how this will be achieved, and the Council is following this guidance as it re-activates the school transport network.

To keep everyone as safe as possible, we will rely on stakeholders’ full cooperation in following this guidance – this includes operators, staff, parents, pupils and schools.  Only by all of us working together will we keep everyone safe as they can be. This offer of Covid-19 safe school transport is made by the local authority to parents/pupils, but if parents/pupils do not wish to accept the offer, they can make their own alternative arrangements for transport to and from school.

Guidance for school transport and other council passenger transport - From September 2020
https://shropshire.gov.uk/school-transport/coronavirus-covid-19-emergency-guidance-for-school-transport-other-council-passenger-transport-from-september-2020/

Getting to school safely leaflet - From September 2020
https://shropshire.gov.uk/media/15963/send-return-to-school-leaflet-2020.pdf

Myth-Buster Sheets

Shropshire Carer and Parent Council (PACC) have produced a series of Myth-buster sheets to provide families with a clear explanation of some of the most asked questions they have received.

What is a risk assessment and what should it include?
Can my child/yp return to school/college?
Will my child/yp still have the provision delivered within their EHCP?
When will PPE and face coverings be used?

Resources for settings

Resources for settings can be found in the Practitioner > Resources section.