Together achieving better decisions and brighter futures for Manchester families of children and young people aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

BECOME A MEMBER
Education2020-05-30T18:30:55+01:00

The government’s “Closure of educational settings: information for parents and carers” guidance contains information for parents and carers about the closure of schools and other educational settings following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The link above contains the following sections:

  1. Closures of schools, childcare and other educational settings
    1. What age groups does this cover?
    2. Will it be mandatory for all schools, colleges and registered childcare providers to remain open in some form?
    3. When will early years settings, schools and colleges open to more children and young people?
    4. Will this apply to independent schools and boarding schools and residential colleges and other providers?
  2. Holidays
    1. Are schools and colleges opening during the May half term, including the bank holiday?
  3. Early Years Settings
    1. Why is my childcare provider telling me that they will continue to charge me during coronavirus related closures?
    2. Is there any additional support available for parents who were meeting eligibility criteria for 30 hours free childcare and/or tax-free childcare before the coronavirus outbreak but are no longer working or working reduced hours?
    3. Do parents need to provide any proof to access 30 hours free childcare or tax-free childcare that they’ve been adversely affected by the coronavirus outbreak and so can still apply?
    4. Can I still get 30 hours if I or my partner have earned over the maximum threshold because we’ve had to work longer hours due to the coronavirus outbreak?
    5. I am not a critical worker and my child isn’t vulnerable. Do I still need to apply or reconfirm for the 30 hours entitlement if I’m not currently accessing a place?
    6. Is there any flexibility for parents who have missed the deadline for 30 hours codes?
  4. Exams
    1. What will happen to exams?
  5. Admissions
    1. Can parents appeal if a school has refused them a place?
  6. Transport
    1. My child is still attending school, and usually gets free transport. Will they still get this?
    2. If children are attending an alternative setting on a temporary basis, will transport be provided?
    3. How should children travel to and from their childcare, school or college?
  7. Free School Meals
    1. If my child is eligible for free school meals, will they still receive a meal or food voucher while the school is closed?
  8. Vulnerable Children and Children of Critical Workers
    1. Is my child counted as vulnerable?
    2. Is it compulsory for parents of vulnerable children to send their children to school?
    3. I am a critical worker or have a vulnerable child – can you guarantee that my child will attend their usual educational setting school or childcare provider?
    4. I am a critical worker or have a vulnerable child but my child’s educational setting has closed. What should I do?
    5. If I send my child to another school temporarily whilst their normal school is closed, will they be able to go back to their normal school once it opens to more children?
    6. Will critical workers or parents of vulnerable children be penalised if they do not send their child to school?
    7. How can I report if I am worried a child or young person might be at risk of harm?
    8. My child has an EHC plan. What support will they receive?
    9. Will I be counted as a critical worker?
    10. If only one parent or carer is a critical worker, can I send my children to school?
    11. I am a critical worker but I don’t want to send my child in to school or childcare, do I have to?
    12. What if I have to leave my children at home unattended?
    13. Does this apply to special schools or specialist post-16 providers?
  9. Resources and support
    1. What support is available to parents to help them educate their children at home and to access children’s social care services?
    2. My child qualifies for a device and connectivity at home but I don’t know how to apply for one. How can I do this?
    3. Which children and young people are eligible for a laptop or tablet and why?
    4. What resources are available for parents with children under 5 to help support their children’s early learning at home?
    5. What advice is available to parents with children aged 4 to 11, to help them support their children’s education at home?
    6. There is too much pressure on broadband connections in my area – how can my child do online learning?
    7. Is my child at additional risk while spending more time online?
    8. Where can I go to get support to help keep my child safe online?
    9. What support is available to parents to help them maintain their family’s wellbeing while their children are at home?
    10. What support is available for children/young people in receipt of SEN support?
This information was last updated on 30 May 2020, 18:30pm.
On the 10th of May, the government announced that, from 1 June at the earliest, primary schools in England may be able to welcome back children in key transition years – nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6. Secondary schools, sixth forms and colleges will also be able to provide some face-to-face support with young people in year 10 and year 12 to help them prepare for exams next year.

The government’s “Opening schools and educational settings to more pupils from 1 June: guidance for parents and carers” page contains information for parents and carers about the phased return of children and young people to nurseries, schools and colleges in line with the country’s recovery strategy.

The guidance linked above contains the following sections:

This information was last updated on 29 May 2020, 8:34pm.
The DfE have set up a helpline offering guidance for anyone with education related questions.

If you have a query about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to schools and other educational establishments, and children’s social care, in England contact our helpline.

Telephone: 0800 046 8687

Email: DfE.CoronavirusHelpline@education.gov.uk

Lines are open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm and weekends 10am to 4pm.

You can learn more about the helpline or read DfE articles at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-education

This information was last updated on 17 April 2020, 7:19pm.
The Department for Education (DfE) published on the 30th of April new guidance on temporary changes to education, health and care legislation during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

You can read more about this on: http://manchesterparentcarerforum.org.uk/changes-to-the-law-on-education-health-and-care-plans-due-to-coronavirus/

This information was last updated on 2 May 2020, 5:50pm.

Children on free school meals can still receive a meal or food voucher while schools are closed due to the coronavirus lockdown.

You can find more information here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/plans-set-out-to-support-pupils-eligible-for-free-school-meals
Or read the free school meal guidance for schools.

Manchester City Council may also be able to help you with food costs while schools are closed (click the link for eligibility criteria and more information).

Qualified Manchester residents can apply for Free School Meals here: https://www.manchester.gov.uk/info/500186/education_benefits/7355/apply_for_free_school_meals

There’s also some great advice from Bite Back 2030 – “Making Your £15 Free School Meal Voucher Go Further at Home” – on how to feed kids at home on a budget. It includes useful info on how people whose children receive free school meals can claim a £15 shopping voucher along with healthy meal ideas.

Speaking of healthy meals, Bounceback Food – a Greater Manchester-based social enterprise fighting food poverty in the region – is providing free licenses to their online Cooking & Nutrition Portal and launching free online cookery workshops as a response to the Covid-19 crisis. Visit their website and follow them on social media for more information.

This information was last updated on 17 April 2020, 7:46pm.
Here is Manchester City Council’s statement regarding the school closures:

The government has announced that all schools will be closed for the majority of students from Monday 23 March 2020 until further notice Manchester City Council has been working with schools to make sure this happens in a planned and safe manner.

All Manchester Schools will remain open for children of critical workers and vulnerable children where they can.

If you fall into this category, then you should contact the school or setting in the first instance. If they are unable to assist, please contact us via contact@manchester.gov.uk

As children and young people with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) are considered ‘vulnerable’ under the government guidance, your child may be eligible for a school place (or some form of more appropriate support) if s/he has an EHCP. Contact your school first then seek help from the city council if they are not able to help.

Isobel Booler, Manchester City Council’s Head of School Quality Assurance and Strategic SEND, has sent a letter to parents and carers of those with EHCPs, “to let them know what the local authority, health services and education settings are doing to support you and your children during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Manchester’s Local Offer also offers advice and information that are relevant to families with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND):

These include information about the IAS Manchester Helpline, Short Breaks advice for parents & carers, school closures, as well as things to do at home.

Manchester City Council may also be able to help you with food costs while schools are closed (click the link for eligibility criteria and more information).

Qualified Manchester residents can apply for Free School Meals here: https://www.manchester.gov.uk/info/500186/education_benefits/7355/apply_for_free_school_meals

This information was last updated on 2 May 2020, 5:45pm.
One Education has an Educational Psychology Helpline for parents and carers of children with autism in Manchester during this difficult time.

As from tomorrow, Thurs 23rd April, we are also providing a daily helpline (1 – 3pm) for all parents/carers of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Manchester schools and early years settings.

The helpline number is 0161 276 0118 (click the number to give them a ring), which is available 1-3pm every Monday to Friday.

One Education's poster for the helpline they are providing for Manchester's SEND parents & carers during this coronavirus situation
This information was last updated on 2 May 2020, 5:36pm.

One Education has an Educational Psychology Helpline for parents and carers of children with autism in Manchester during this difficult time.

We can offer a problem solving phone consultation relating to any aspect of educating your child at home and/or about other education issues. This might include, for example, a forthcoming transition, or another school-related issue.

Please send us an email us with your name and phone number. We will respond with a booking for an afternoon phone consultation.

Email us at autism.edpsych@oneeducation.co.uk

The offer is available to parents and carers of children with an autism diagnosis from North, Central or South Manchester CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services).

This information was last updated on 17 April 2020, 8:30pm.

Here is a statement from Information, Advice and Support Manchester (IASM):

While everyone is still in lockdown please contact us for advice/support using our e-mail parents@manchester.gov.uk or phone 0161 209 8356 between 8.30-4pm and leave your name, number and message and a member of the team will phone you back.

We also have a timetable if you wish to speak with a specific member of the team, who is your caseworker.
Please call them on the dates listed below.

Image shows a calendar of IAS Manchester's work hours for May 2020, plus IASM's logo

Source: Information, Advice and Support (IAS) Manchester https://hsm.manchester.gov.uk/kb5/manchester/directory/advice.page?id=JqDaH0QWDh8

This information was last updated on 2 May 2020, 5:41pm.
Contact has published a “Coronavirus and your child’s education” page as part of their “Important information about Covid-19 coronavirus for families with disabled children” resource on their website:

With so much out there about Covid-19 (coronavirus) and confusion about the virus and its impact on families with disabled children, we wanted to make sure we offered you somewhere to go where all the most important information you need is in the one place.

We will keep adding to this pages as and when the situation changes, so please keep checking back for additional information and resources that could be useful to you and your family.

This includes relevant news and their answers to questions such as “Will my child have to go to school if they are vulnerable?” and “Will my child’s school transport continue?” as well as information about children in alternative provision.

You can access this resource on Contact’s website: https://contact.org.uk/advice-and-support/covid-19/coronavirus-and-your-childs-education/

This information was last updated on 17 April 2020, 8:36pm.

Related News and Blog Articles

Q&A from the May Virtual Local Offer Drop-in

By |June 2nd, 2020|Categories: Information Sharing|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

We asked participating organisations/teams in last month's Virtual SEND Local Offer Drop-in to collate questions that parents asked them so we can share the information to more parents & carers. Below are the questions that

Tablets for Socially Excluded (via Manchester City Council)

By |May 26th, 2020|Categories: Information Sharing|Tags: , , , , , |

We have been informed by Manchester City Council's Adult Social Care team that there is the possibility that the city council will be able to help families have access to a tablet and internet. Eligibility Criteria

IASM Guidance on Temporary Legislative Changes to EHC Needs Assessments and Plans

By |May 25th, 2020|Categories: Information Sharing|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Earlier this month, we wrote about the temporary changes to education, health and care legislation during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-code-of-practice-0-to-25 In that article, we shared info and commentary from Contact and from

Paperbag Sensory and Activity Pack (Pilot Programme)

By |May 13th, 2020|Categories: Celebration, Parent-Carer Feedback|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Over the past couple of weeks, a few dozen families of children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disability have been getting Paperbag Sensory and Activity Packs delivered to their doorstep. (P.S. With social

“Creative Take Aways” for Neurodivergent Young People

By |May 11th, 2020|Categories: Information Sharing|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

We have recently been contacted by Starling, a charity that uses creativity and the arts to amplify the lived experience of neurodivergent young people, to bring good news about their "Creative Take Aways" project. The project,

Q&A from the April Virtual Local Offer Drop-in

By |May 9th, 2020|Categories: Information Sharing|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

We asked participating organisations/teams in last month's Virtual SEND Local Offer Drop-in to collate questions that parents asked them so we can share the information to more parents & carers.Below are the questions that parents asked

Information, Advice and Support Service Timetable During Lockdown

By |May 2nd, 2020|Categories: Information Sharing|Tags: , , , , |

Information, Advice and Support Manchester (IASM) has changed their timetable in light of Covid-19 developments and calls to their service. Please see below a message from the IAS team: Dear parents/carers/young people/professionals, While everyone is still

Related Events

Virtual SEND Parent Drop-in

June 24 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

In place of the June SEND Drop-in, which has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 crisis, we have decided to run a Virtual Drop-in from 10am-12pm on the same day. This is for the benefit of