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 at the June SEND Drop-in (click or tap a question to view the answer):

“We spoke over the needs of her son and how these were currently being supported at primary. Advised to speak to SENCo at primary to ensure information is shared and to speak to SENCo at high school to ask about support that will be put in place. We identified a few key areas of support that will be necessary.”

If you have any questions or concerns about how to support your child or young person learning, whether at home or as they transition back to school, there is support available via One Education’s educational psychology helpline for Manchester families with an EHCP.

They also have a helpline for those whose children have been diagnosed with autism via Manchester CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services).

We received the following question from a parent:

“Hello, MPCF!

We normally get a befriending service of so many hours per week for our Short Breaks package but these services have stopped because of Covid.
Since the lockdown, we haven’t received any respite from our usual provider; we don’t get direct payment so we’re not able to look for our own befriender during this time. Can we get some funding from specialist resource team so I can purchase some equipment for my child, for use at home during the lockdown?

I know of other families who have gone weeks and months without their befriending support and it’s getting quite difficult for many of us. “

We forwarded this question to the Specialist Resource Team (SRT), who replied:

A budget can be put in place to support you and your family through this time. If you have a social worker you can discuss this with them, otherwise you can make contact with the team at a virtual review morning.

We also shared the Short Breaks FAQ, which contains many answers relevant to Short Breaks provision during the lockdown.



“Advised to contact Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and also find free legal advice. Stated that mediation will probably be a good first step to agree outcomes and that legally as his son is an adult his views will be paramount in this.”
“Directed to MCC website for Local Offer Groups for Autism friendly activities, Groups, Parental Support and Contact Centre passed on should she wish to refer to Adult Services.”

We also shared information about Starling charity’s Creative Take Aways, which offers a free pack (plus virtual person-to-person support) for neurodivergent young people aged 13-25 in Manchester.

“Mother stated she has missed a call re her child’s uniform size, it was a private number so she rang my number from the drop in email. Doesn’t know who rang… doesn’t know details of the service or who called her.

Response: Advised that it might be a call from Wood St Mission as they are working through free uniform referrals. Parent can’t email so I took the child’s name/dob and parent contact details. With parental consent I emailed Wood street mission asking them to do a follow up call to this family and explained the situation. Gave parent wood street mission number for her to follow up if she doesn’t hear anything.”

“I realised that the child was from out of area so I advised the parent to call her local IAS service. Advised her to speak to school / SENDCO in the first instance to go through educational outcomes and provision. Advised that EP update in year 6 to get up to date levels before transition to HS would be a good step forward. Regardless of levels a child must be making progress and parent can challenge the school if no progress is being made.”

We also requested for IASM to refer the parent to the Rochdale Parent Carer Forum, which they kindly did.

“Explained that today’s Drop In is for advice only. Parent advised of the referral process. Gave Contact Centre Number to make referral. Also advised of Local Offer, support for parent and online activities for children with ASC.”
“Parent seeking Short breaks assessment. Help with DLA, New to Send and didn’t know about LO offer and services

Response: Gave Short Breaks contact centre number for assessment, Referred to Lifted Carers Centre for help with DLA. Explained about LO and emailed links to covid 19 stuff to do on the page and support groups, added her to the mailing list.”

You can learn more about Short Breaks and the Specialist Resource Team at https://hsm.manchester.gov.uk/kb5/manchester/directory/advice.page?id=EJP15IZ5AFs

“Referred to Lifted for help with benefits, gave short breaks contact centre number.”

If you intend to travel on a bus during this time, please remember that there’s a rule about wearing facial covering on public transportation. However, there are exemptions to this rule and you can request for a free exemption card from Transport for Greater Manchester, if needed.

“Response: sent an email and added her to the mailing list.”

Did you know that the Local Offer has a dedicated page for coronavirus? You can access that here: https://hsm.manchester.gov.uk/kb5/manchester/directory/advice.page?id=F3WlTVb4jZ0

They also produce  fantastic newsletters, which you can view here: https://hsm.manchester.gov.uk/kb5/manchester/directory/advice.page?id=uptXtrEL9fg

Please note that most of the answers above are information we pulled from various partners who participated at last month’s drop-in. We have put such answers within quotes (“”) to make it clear that the answers are not our own.

Where we put our own commentary in, we separated our answers using a horizontal line and our comments are in green text. This will be clear when you’re reading each FAQ item above.

We hope this helps. Any questions, please send us a message or contact Information, Advice and Support (IAS) Manchester or visit the SEND Local Offer.