Our response during COVID-19
What we did
During the first and third lockdowns our specialist SEND teams made phone calls to all families of children and young people with an EHCP. Our SEND specialists offered appropriate support and signposting, as well as seeking families views.
The SEND team asked a set of questions to make sure each family got the same level of support. We also gave each family the opportunity to discuss any wider needs they had and the EHCP provision their child was receiving during the lockdown period.
We also sent emails outlining the wide range of support available locally including food banks, mental health services, support services for money and benefits, SEND educational support teams, social care and health services.
We followed up any EHCP/educational concerns with EHCP Co-ordinators and with the child or young person’s school or setting.
Where things had gone well, we fed back to schools and settings and other organisations and thanked them for all they were doing.
How did our team help you?
What you shared with us
The vast majority of the parent and carers praised the support they had received from schools. This was whether their child was attending school or learning remotely.
Those not in school had been receiving regular phone calls from both teachers and SEN staff, personalised paper packs have been delivered along with resources, one to one online sessions, facilitating support from agencies such as SALT, differentiation and an acknowledgement that flexibility is needed in meeting the needs of CYP with SEN during lockdown.
Some families told us areas they were struggling with around managing behaviours, their child’s and their own sleep, physical health, mental health difficulties and accepted the IAG offered.
Many children and young people with EHCPs were in school.
Some families shared disappointments and concerns regarding education and services which we always followed up.
Overall schools and settings had been very flexible. For example, if parent/carers changed their minds about their child attending or if they wished their child to attend part time.
Nearly all of those who had a concern either learning or pastorally, had already discussed with the educational setting who were supporting.
Parents and carers recognised that schools and settings were doing their best in very difficult circumstances.
Overall parents and carers have reported positively that they appreciated the calls and can see that the Local Authority really does care.
- In our January and February annual SEND survey we have had 107 total responses compared to just 22 last year.
- Many families have told us that they now want to work with the LA to improve services and make SEND in our local area an example of good practice.
- Since the calls were made, more parents and carers of children with SEND are directly contacting SEND services when they need support or have a question.
Parents/carers have indicated that they when they didn’t know where to get support for carers allowance, DLA etc. we were able to help.
- Our SEND team have been able to signpost families to the appropriate services for support for money and benefits.
- The Local Offer has seen an increase in users looking at useful numbers for support to families.
- From our calls we recognise the number of kinship carers who are looking after CYP with SEND who have an EHCP. There are some challenges which are unique for this group of carers, particularly around technology and wider social group support. We have added to our SEND Local Offer links to support for kinship carers and we have built into our comms plan regular updates for support to this group of carers.
- We heard how some families need support now for themselves and not just their children with SEND. This is new to them and some families were unsure where to turn to. We will make sure we regularly provide information on wider local support services such as food banks, woman’s aid, addiction support etc. on our SEND local offer and weekly parent/carer newsletter to ensure all parents and carers have easy access to services that they may find themselves needing.
Parents/carers who previously were not aware of the SEND Local Offer or our Weekly SEND newsletter have asked to be placed on the mailing list.
- We now email out the SEND Newsletter to over 400 Parents and carers.
- We also have up to date contact details for our families on our SEND database.
- Diagnostics show more parents/carers are using our new SEND Local Offer.
Families shared with us from their point of view how their child’s education and wider needs were being met.
- We were able to offer support to schools and settings where families indicated their were difficulties.
- We were able to feed back positively to educational settings who had really gone over and above to support the child and family.
- The LA were able to assure themselves as to the quality of EHCP provision being made.
Our SEND team were able to chat to young people with SEND, listen to their concerns and give information, advice and guidance.
- We talked to young people who were shared with us their concerns about return to school. We were able to signpost them to support for their anxieties.
- We talked to young people many of whom told us they preferred their annual reviews to be done virtually. We have ensured schools and colleges offer this an option to students as we come out of the covid period.
- We talked to young people with visual difficulties who where struggling with virtual learning and so we made virtual learning packs to support them.
- We have reinstated YPAG (Our SEND Young Peoples Advisory Group) it’s on line at first as so many young people told us they like communicating virtually and we will take it from there and listen to what young people want to do.
Our SEND team were able to pick up on a common theme that some students and parents carers worry about options and opportunities post 16 and preparation for adulthood.
- We have rewritten the preparation for adulthood protocol and shared this widely.
- We are developing our post 16 options in line with what young people with SEND have told us and focusing on how we communicate what is on offer to young people and their families.
Feedback from parents
A big thank you to…
All the children and young people with SEND and their families who worked hard during the three lockdowns to support each other and seek support themselves.
The families of children and young people with SEND who have an EHCP who shared their stories, views and concerns with us which has helped to shape the services we offer.
Schools, colleges and early years settings who have gone over and above to make sure their learners and their families were well supported during very difficult times.
The service providers of NE Lincs who have made calls, delivered work packs, delivered packed lunches, taught on line, checked in with families and cared about the children and young people of NE Lincs and their families.
See the NELC SEND Local Offer | COVID-19 guidance and updates (nelincs.gov.uk) page for great resources for Covid and SEND, supporting your child at home, manage change, fun activities for their wellbeing and more.