COVID-19 Support for Schools, Settings, Parents and Pupils

Back to School - wider reopening | Latest Guidance | Transitions

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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Welcome to our sixth Vlog (transcript of vlog #6) which we have put together to give you a weekly update of the resources available to support you as you start to welcome learners back into your settings. 

In this issue:

Leading SEND: Full Opening

What settings need to consider : Sept 2020

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:

20th March 2020 - SEN Update EHCP Reviews

Devon EHC Hub Update 1

Devon EHC Hub Update 2

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
  • 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 – – 07896421943
  • Lara Stead – – 07734979190
  • Caroline Pinsent – – 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

Recording Absences

Recording attendance in the school attendance register during the coronavirus outbreak

(A summary of recent DfE guidance issued and updated on 28th May 2020).

Note: It is intended that this guidance takes effect (and should be followed) from the time when schools open their doors wider and to pupils other than just the Key Worker children and Vulnerable Pupils (for many schools this is June 1st, some schools may be later)

Having now reviewed the most recent DfE guidance with regard to coding attendance and absence, a summary of the advice to schools is as follows:

A) For all pupils who are not eligible to attend a session then they should be recorded as Code X

B) For pupils who are eligible to attend a session but do not:

  1. where a pupil is shielding, self-isolating (for further details, follow the DfE Guidance link below and see note 1), or the pupil has an education, health and care plan (EHCP) and their risk assessment says that their needs cannot be safely met in school, they should be recorded as Code Y
  2. where a pupil cannot attend school due to illness, as would normally be the case, the pupil should be recorded as Code I (illness)
  3. In any other case where no other authorised absence code is appropriate, the record using Code C.


C) For pupils who are attending other schools:

  1. at which they are registered (for example, a pupil referral unit (PRU), as would normally be the case, use Code D,
  2. If attending a host school on a temporary basis because their home school cannot accommodate them, the pupil will not be registered at the host school. The home school should record the pupil as attending an approved education activity using Code B (off-site educational activity) - the host school does not need to add this child to their attendance register but should keep a record of their attendance for safeguarding purposes and include the child in their daily totals for the educational setting status form - schools should put in place arrangements whereby the host school notifies the home school of any absences.


D) Where other specific authorised absence and attendance codes are more appropriate schools may want to use these as usual, such as Code M (medical appointment).

Reminder: Schools in Devon should continue to complete the DCC daily returns using the Devon Online Portal.

The full DfE guidance can be found at:

List of Key Workers

The Department for Education has published a list of “key workers” whose children will be prioritised for schooling during general closures because of coronavirus. Schools are being asked to continue to provide care for a number of children but will be closed to the majority from Monday 23 March.

Health and social care

Frontline health and social care staff such as doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, as well as support and specialist staff in the health and social care sector. In addition it includes those working in supply chains including producers and distributors of medicines and personal protective equipment.

Education and childcare

Nursery, teaching staff and social workers.

Key public services

Those required to run the justice system, religious staff, as well as those responsible for managing the deceased, and journalists providing public service broadcasting.

Local and national government

Administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the Covid-19 response or delivering essential public services, including payment of benefits.

Food and other necessary goods

Those involved in the production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery of food.

Public safety and national security

Police, support staff, Ministry of Defence civilian staff and armed forces personnel, fire and rescue staff, and those responsible for border security, prisons and probation.


Those who will keep air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the Covid-19 response.

Utilities, communication and financial services

Staff required to keep oil, gas, electricity, water and sewerage operations running. Staff in the civil nuclear, chemical and telecommunications sectors. Those in postal services and those working to provide essential financial services

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.

Please see the Critical Incident pack, specific to COVID-19 for guidance with your planning.

Download the covering letter.

Guidance for Staff contacting Children using Online Devices

Strategic Contacts List

Local Learning Communities, DCC and Babcock LDP - Link Officer Contact Database

Download Strategic Contacts List

Safer Devon Partnership Service Updates

COVID 19: Update on Community Safety Trends/Risks and Support Service Offers

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