Shropshire Council

Resources and support

Resources and support

Children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities have faced lots of changes in their day to day lives because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  Their routines, regular support and the people they see regularly may have changed. This may be a confusing time for them and as a parent/carer you may be worried about your child.

As a parent/carer you may feel overwhelmed, confused and even scared and you will not be alone in feeling this way.  This section will provide you with some useful information and resources to support you as a parent/carer during the pandemic.

Explaining coronavirus

Easy read materials are an accessible information format for people with a learning disability, using pictures alongside simple text to make things easier to understand.

The virtual Speak out  Stay Safe Assembly will help children understand what’s currently happening, why they may be feeling anxious or worried, and where to get help if they need it.

This short video uses images and Makaton signing to explain coronavirus to children and young people.

This short video is a lovely resource featuring cartoon animals which is great for helping to explain social distancing to children.

This online game is aimed at primary school aged children to teach them the importance of social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Information on the vaccine

NHS have produced an easy read guide and a short video to help explain the vaccination to children and young people with special educational needs.  The video shows a young person with a learning disability asking questions about the vaccine. The video covers what a vaccine is, how vaccines are made, why you should get a vaccine, whether a vaccine make you ill and how to decide whether to have a vaccine.

The NHS vaccination programme is underway in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin as part of the national rollout.

The NHS will contact people in the priority groups when it is their turn to receive the vaccine. People are being called forward who meet the criteria based on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s recommendations.

Vaccination started in the county on 8 December at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital Hub, which is vaccinating those aged 80 and over, as well as care home workers and frontline healthcare staff at risk, identified as priority groups for the life-saving vaccine.

However, since then other local vaccination centres within the community have started to be launched across the county. Care home residents are also now receiving the vaccine in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin with the ambition that all older person care home residents and staff will have had the vaccination by the end January. GP practices will contact care homes directly to plan the rollout as soon as they are ready. 

From the end of January, eligible patients registered at all Shropshire GP practices will be able to receive vaccinations against COVID-19 from GP-led vaccination centres.

This means more people will soon be receiving their vaccine closer to home, alongside the already operational centres which include the hospital hubs at Royal Shrewsbury and Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt in Gobowen.

In early February, two new centres, in Shrewsbury and Ludlow, will begin the delivery of the vaccines – with a further centre set to open in north Shropshire later in the month. Full details about the exact locations will be revealed at the end of January.

We are also working with our NHS colleagues to ensure that by the middle of February they have delivered the vaccine to the first four top priority groups, which are residents in care homes, over 70s, health and care workers and the clinically extremely vulnerable.

Following extensive trials two safe and effective vaccines for Covid-19 are now available. The vaccine will be offered to more people and at other locations as soon as possible. These will include local vaccine services provided by GPs and pharmacists, in people’s homes for those who are housebound and in new dedicated vaccination centres to make sure that everyone who needs a vaccine is able to get one.

Angie Wallace, the Covid-19 vaccination programme director for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, said: “We are working hard to ensure that that everyone who needs a vaccine is able to get one.

“In light of the message from the prime minister we are now working through plans to deliver the vaccine by the middle of February to the four top priority groups. These include all residents in a care home for older adults and their carers, everyone over the age of 70, all frontline health and social care workers, and everyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable.

“We expect vaccine supply to increase, particularly now a further vaccine has been approved for use. This is good news, and will help enable us to increase the number of people we can vaccinate over the coming weeks. However, it will take time to roll the programme out across the county but be assured that we are working hard to do this as quickly as is safely possible.

“I would urge the public to come forward when they are called up for the vaccine and to make sure they attend their appointments. Please do not contact your practice or the NHS for a vaccine; you will be contacted by the NHS when it is your turn.”

The public have an important part to play:

  • Please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you
  • When we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments
  • Please continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives

For more information about the Covid-19 vaccine please visit the NHS website.

Home schooling

The impact of the pandemic has left many of us juggling the new responsibility of homeschooling alongside our normal day to day duties which can feel overwhelming, so we've complied a vast list of home schooling educational resources and activities for families, children and young people and teaching staff to use during these unprecedented times.

SEND Newsletter for parents/carers and families

Shropshire Council, the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the Parent and Carer Council (PACC) have jointly come together to produce a SEND Newsletter  which is aimed at supporting parent/carers of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. We hope you find it useful.

Issue 1 - 16th June 2020
Issue 2 - 23rd July 2020
Issue 3 - 28th August 2020
Issue 4 - 5th October 2020
Issue 5 - 23rd November 2020
Issue 6 - 14th January 2021
Issue 7 - 12th February 2021

Support for parents/carers and families

Support for other parent carers has always been recognised as really important for SEND families and it has never been more important to stay in touch with each other. Locally there are a number of parent carer run support groups where parent carer can chat with each other and share experiences and information. While these groups can’t meet face to face currently, they are offering online support.

The Parent Carer Council (PACC) have written the following blogs:
'Surviving Lockdown' (June 2020)
'Taking the Next Step - Thoughts from PACC' (July 2020)
PACC Blog (August 2020)
Being well informed
Chasing our tails (February 2021)

Parents/carers share their experience

We are interested to learn more and gather feedback from parent carers in Shropshire on their experiences of accessing help and support across education, health and social care.   

The SEN Team would like to share this video where you can hear Mark, a Shropshire pupil, and his mum's experience of a Shropshire Secondary School's support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Parent Carer Council (PACC) have also gathered the following parent carer articles:

Moving Forward
Making a difficult decision
We had a huge amount of questions
The importance of a personalised approach
A different but better experience
Past and Future Journeys 
Experience of support transitioning to college 
Another Difficult Decision 
Another Difficult Decision - Part 2
It doesn't get any easier

If you are a parent or young person and you would like to share your experiences please email local.offer@shropshire.gov.uk

Information Advice & Support Service (IASS)

Shropshire Information, Advice and Support Service (IASS), provides free, confidential and impartial information, advice and support around Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, including health and social care. Support is offered from initial concerns about a possible SEN and disability, through to complex information and advice.

IASS continues to be available, 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. If you would like further independent information, advice and support, email them on iass@cabshropshire.org.uk.  Alternatively, a message can be left on 01743 280019. They aim to respond within 3 working days.

This leaflet provides further details about the service. Parents can also connect with them on their Facebook page. The IASS Youth Worker wants to hear from young people. They can offer support, including signposting, around education, health and social care issues. Aged 16 to 25? Connect with them on the Young People Facebook page.

For further information visit their website.

Mental Health Support

Gov.uk: Guidance for parents and carers on supporting Children and Young People’s mental health, including an easy read guide for looking after your feelings and your body.

BEAM: Since April 2020, Beam have been offering a call-back telephone service for children and young people who want support for their emotional health and well-being.

The telephone support replaces the Beam drop in sessions and is available for those aged 0-25 years who need some advice, a listening ear or just want to get some more information on how to feel better about themselves.

If you feel your child(ren)/young person would benefit from their support, please take a look at their website. For young people aged 13+ please ask them to contact BEAM via AskBeam@childrenssociety.org.uk. For young people who are aged 13 and under, you will need to contact BEAM on their behalf via AskBeam@childrenssociety.org.uk.

BEAM have produced a number of useful resources during this period:
Talking to your child about coronavirus
Responding to reassurance seeking
Ways to reduce feelings of anxiety
A guide for coping with social anxiety
Transitions during and beyond lockdown

Togetherall: Free online anonymous community offering mental health support service for young people and adults across Shropshire. The 24/7 online support service is a collaboration between Shropshire Council’s Public Health Team and Togetherallan online service provider which offers free access and support for people with anxiety, depression and other common mental health issues. 

The service includes: 

  • Access 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
  • Clinically managed with trained professionals available 24/7 to keep the community safe
  • Self-assessments and recommended resources
  • Creative tools to help express how you’re feeling
  • Wide range of self-guided courses to do at your own pace

Kooth: Provides a free, anonymous 24-hour online service offering peer support, self-help and have trained counsellors to talk to. Anyone aged 11-25, living in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin, can register to access this service and you don’t need to be referred or have an appointment. Whilst the website is available 24 hours, there will be someone to talk to online at the following times: 12:00 to 22:00 (Monday to Friday) and 18:00 to 22:00 (Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays).

Shout Crisis text line: Text 85258
A free 24/7 text service for anyone worried about their mental health
available at any time, any place and need immediate help.

The Mix Young people chat line: 0808 808 4994 ( 7 days a week, 4pm - 11pm).
Free support for children and young people aged 13-25.
Online articles, blogs, as well as telephone helpline, 1-2-1 chat and crisis messenger.

Young Minds Parents Hotline: 0808 8025544 (9.30am – 4.00pm) Free, confidential online and telephone support including information and advice to any adult worried about the emotional problems, behaviour or mental health of a child or young person up to the age of 25.

Childline: A listening and support emotional health and wellbeing service for children and young people under 25: Call 0800 1111.

Healios, ThinkNinja app: Empowering children and young people to build resilience, manage their emotional health and to fulfil their potential.

Information for supporting young people's mental health during periods of disruption: https://www.annafreud.org/what-we-do/anna-freud-learning-network/coronavirus/

Covibook - An interactive resource designed to support and reassure children aged 7 and under during the pandemic. https://www.mindheart.co/descargables

Physical Health & Mobility

Physical Health and mobility with schools and leisure facilities closed and many of us spending more time at home, it is more important than ever that we keep moving and stay healthy and positive. The resources below can help us with exercise which in turn can make us feel happier, more energised and more optimistic.  For local activities and opportunities for children and young people please also take a look at our All In section.

Cosmic Kids Yoga Youtube video: Yoga, mindfulness and relaxation designed specifically for kids aged 3+, used in schools and homes all over the world.

Energize – Movement, learning, active blasts and wellbeing resources: Links to a wide range of free resources which can be used at home to improve our physical and mental wellbeing In addition to helping families with active learning, there are a range of website with information which everyone can benefit from

Bereavement Support

Hope Again: The youth website of Cruse Bereavement Care. It is a safe place where you can learn from other young people, how to cope with grief, and feel less alone.

Shropshire Council have put together a booklet called Bereavement & grief during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Returning to school

Research suggests that many children and young people can find the transition between schools unsettling and stressful. Following the current public health crisis (Covid-19) it is likely that many children and young people will experience similar feelings when they return to school once social isolation ends, especially those who are vulnerable, have special educational needs, or are moving to a new school.  

Returning to school after time at home due to coronavirus can be a worrying time for children and parents as they wonder what to expect.  This short video will help explain to them - and to you - what may have changed, and why. Check your settings website / social media page to see if they have a video specific to your setting as we have seen many excellent examples in Shropshire.

Advice from Autism West Midlands - Returning to School 
Advice from IASS - Returning to School
BEAM - Ways to reduce feelings of anxiety
BEAM - A guide for coping with social anxiety

Returning to college

To support transition, colleges will be working with young people their families and schools to discuss ways to support transition from school to college. Have a look at this document for more information: Post 16 transition from school to college.

Transport From September 2020

As the Coronavirus (Covid-19) emergency continues, Shropshire Council is working to re-activate all its home to school transport for entitled pupils from September 2020.

The Government has decided that all schools will re-open in September 2020 and all pupils will return to school. They have issued advice (e.g. Department for Education Transport to School and other places of education; Autumn Term 2020, published 11 August 2020) about how this will be achieved, and the Council is following this guidance as it re-activates the school transport network.

To keep everyone as safe as possible, we will rely on stakeholders’ full cooperation in following this guidance – this includes operators, staff, parents, pupils and schools.  Only by all of us working together will we keep everyone safe as they can be. This offer of Covid-19 safe school transport is made by the local authority to parents/pupils, but if parents/pupils do not wish to accept the offer, they can make their own alternative arrangements for transport to and from school.

Guidance for school transport and other council passenger transport - From September 2020
https://shropshire.gov.uk/school-transport/coronavirus-covid-19-emergency-guidance-for-school-transport-other-council-passenger-transport-from-september-2020/

Getting to school safely leaflet - From September 2020
https://shropshire.gov.uk/media/15963/send-return-to-school-leaflet-2020.pdf

Myth-Buster Sheets

Shropshire Carer and Parent Council (PACC) have produced a series of Myth-buster sheets to provide families with a clear explanation of some of the most asked questions they have received.

What is a risk assessment and what should it include?
Can my child/yp return to school/college?
Will my child/yp still have the provision delivered within their EHCP?
When will PPE and face coverings be used?

Resources for settings

Resources for settings can be found in the Practitioner > Resources section.