COVID-19 Support for Schools, Settings, Parents and Pupils
We have created this webpage to help support schools, settings, parents/carers and pupils during the coming weeks. Many of our teams are contributing information, guidance, useful links and teaching resources to use with all pupils, pupils with a SEND and pupils for whom English is an additional language.
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*** NEW *** Leading SEND: What settings need to consider during lockdown Jan 2021
This guide aims to support schools / colleges in the planning for SEND learners during Lockdown 3. It seeks to provide advice and guidance. It is based on available Department for Education (DfE) Guidance and seeks to extract the key messages and advice. It is not a recommended substitute to reading the advice in full.
Transition Support for Reception Classes
The Babcock Early Years Consultants are able to extend their Area SENDCo role and offer support to Reception for a limited period as an outcome of COVID-19.
SEND and Inclusion
We are keenly aware that schools are experiencing particular challenges at the moment and that our most vulnerable pupils may well be struggling emotionally. We continue to support you as much as possible and will be pulling together some resources for you to consider for use at home or school for pupils with a SEND.
In the meantime, please remember that the Devon Graduated Response Tool has sections at the back for each Primary Need with suggested websites which may be of particular help during this time or be able to give ideas for supporting pupils with specific needs. The ‘Further Support’ section may also be of use which is also at the back of the Tool.
With best regards from the Specialist SEND team
Some extra SEND documents and links:
Safeguarding advice in the event of school closures
With schools coming under increasing pressure we would like to reiterate some key safeguarding messages should your school have to close for an extended period due to a local pressure such as reduced staffing levels, or as a result of National guidance. Our advice is therefore similar to that which schools would adopt prior to the summer holidays.
We recognise that in these exceptional times, a number of schools are making a wide range of manageable and appropriate measures by which they can keep in touch and support their most vulnerable children and families.
We therefore recommend that each school considers the following advice at this time:
- At the point when closures take place, external agencies working with individual children including, children on a Child Protection or Child in Need plans, should be contacted. The Safeguarding Lead (DSL) should inform those named persons involved such as social workers and ensure they have contact details for the safeguarding team in the event that they need to liaise with them during this period.
- Provide MASH with up-to-date out-of-hours contact details only if these differ from those sent within the s175 audit return for this academic year. Schools are encouraged to share additional Deputy DSL contacts as they see fit in the event that staff are recovering from any illness during this period of closure. If this is required, please email email@example.com
- Safeguarding records for all children are up-to-date to ensure that if schools are required to share information, this is as current and accurate as possible. Please also ensure that such records can be accessed by the safeguarding team, not just the DSL.
- All staff and volunteers are clear on their community responsibility to share concerns about children when not physically ‘at work’ for any period of time where they believe a child is at risk of immediate or significant harm. This would require all staff and volunteers to have access to MASH contact details.
Where possible schools utilise their website to provide information about agencies that can provide support for vulnerable children and families.
Schools may consider providing their most vulnerable pupils with specific ‘wallet size’ information cards with helpline numbers for example KOOTH, Childline, NSPCC etc.
We also ask DSLs to recognise that in the time before closures there is the possibility of MASH becoming overloaded with enquiries. We therefore ask that DSLs ensure they utilise all available tools to ensure that enquires are appropriate and timely.
Please do not hesitate to contact any of the team if we can offer any support or guidance through this challenging period. As a team we will be picking up emails or messages on a daily basis in working hours. Out of office responses will provide alternative contact details within the team:
- Jon Galling – firstname.lastname@example.org – 07896421943
- Lara Stead – email@example.com – 07734979190
- Caroline Pinsent – firstname.lastname@example.org – 07708316374
Should there be additional guidance at a later date, we will of course share this with you through email. We recognise the challenges ahead and are here to support you to the best of our ability.
Attendance: recording absences and key worker list
Please Note: Compulsory School Attendance is currently suspended.
Critical Incident Pack
Distressing though it is, all Head teachers and senior leaders are urged to consider a planned response to the inevitable bereavements and, potentially, other critical incidents which will happen in the coming weeks.
Download the covering letter.
Guidance for staff contacting children using online devices
04 May 2020 - Guidance for staff contacting children using online devices, during Covid 19 Pandemic.
Babcock staff are being asked to support children and young people during Covid 19 in a number of different ways. Due to the current social distancing measures schools and key adults working with children are only undertaking face to face visits as a last resort and if there are safeguarding concerns. The majority of social contact between children and professionals is happening online, using a number of different platforms, including FaceTime, Zoom, Skype etc. These platforms are a great way to communicate effectively with children, however it can also increase safeguarding risks for both children and professionals so any communication needs to be carefully risk assessed and where possible risks need to be mitigated.
For good practice wherever possible professionals should be contacting children with another professional present (part of the call) and this contact should take place in work building, however due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, this is not always possible.
Please consider the following when undertaking a risk assessment prior to contact with a child:
- Ensure that there is clear consent between the professional and parents /carers (and child if over 13 years old) this consent should clearly state the type of communication, frequency, purpose and other key safety factors.
- Ensure that there is a clear and robust record of the communication between the professional and child – this may include an audio recording of the meeting, however this record should be in addition to written notes.
- Be mindful of where video calls are taking place – what can be seen in the background?
- Ensure it doesn’t take place in a bedroom. Where possible the child should be taking the call in a communal area with their parent /carer aware the call is happening.
- Ensure that the platform being used is age appropriate – don’t contact children using apps that are for ages older than they are.
- Ensure that you set up professional accounts for the platforms used – don’t use personal accounts.
- Professionals should only contact children during usually office hours – in exceptional circumstances these times can be altered but must be agreed with a line manager. This must be clearly documented, including justification.
- Ensure that online calendars are up to date with who you are contacting, so there is clear evidence of which children are being contacted.
- Where possible use a parent /carers contact details to contact the child. If this is not possible be clear in records why this is not appropriate (safeguarding risk) if you are contacting the child using their own contact details where possible try to use their school email address.
If during communication with a child, you feel there are safeguarding concerns, please ensure that you follow the in house Child Protection Policy and pass these concerns on to the appropriate person.
If you feel the child is at significant risk or at immediate risk, please consider contacting MASH on 0345 155 1071 (for children living in Devon) or the police 999/101.