Covid 19 Updates
We will update this page as soon as we receive information - please do call or email us if you need any support and we will try to help
Update 5.6.2020 Letter from Vicky Ford MP Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families
To all children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), their parents/carers and families, and others who support them
Educational Psychology Community Call Back Service
We are pleased to share that we have just been informed of a new service, by Nicholas English, Principal Educational Psychologist, that may be very helpful for parent/carers at the moment:
"Following feedback from headteachers, school staff and parents we are providing an Educational Psychology Community Call Back Service. We recognise the unprecedented circumstances that the COVID-19 outbreak has presented to our schools, children and their families and would welcome calls on any concerns or themes that have emerged during the pandemic period.
The Cognus Educational Psychology Service Community Callback is open to all parents and carers who live in Sutton and school staff who work in Sutton. We hope to be able to offer you a safe and reflective space in which you can share any questions you have or anxieties you may be experiencing during this time.
Calls are available on: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during the school and setting closure period with some evening slots available.
Here is the link to the form to book a slot "Educational Psychology Service - Phone discussions for parents & school staff":
We hope you find this useful and would welcome any feedback from your experience of using our Call Back Service."
May 2020 Direct Payments Update
We asked Luke Addams, Assistant Director of Social Care, if families can use their Direct Payments more flexibly in the current emergency situation. Luke has agreed and we have worked with Social Care and Liam Roberts from Commissioning on some guidelines in the form of Frequently asked Questions to explain what they can be used for during this period; these have now been updated to include weekly spending guidelines
12.5.2020 Changes (temporary) to the SEND law re Education, Health and Care Plans
The Department for Education have issued guidance for parent carers, young people and parent carer forums to explain the key changes that are allowed on a temporary basis due to Covid 19. You can download the Powerpoint presentation here or as a PDF document here
6.4.2020 WARNING FREE SCHOOL MEAL VOUCHER SCAM
Cognus have asked us to let families know that there is a scam email being circulated which states:
'as schools will be closing, if you are entitled to free school meals please send your bank details and we will make sure you are supported'
Cognus are confirming that no bank details are required for this scheme and if parents/carers receive any such request to ignore it and treat it as a scam email. LBS will be putting out some social media posts to alert families also.
In addition, those eligible should contact their school if they have not already heard from them.
The Government has today published its emergency Coronavirus Bill. The bill has sweeping measures aimed at enabling the country to respond to the crisis to every aspect of people's lives caused by caused by COVID-19.
The Bill contains several measures impacting on existing legislation protecting disabled children, and also on The Care Act 2014. They have given public law Barrister Steve Broach much cause for concern about the removal of disabled children's and vulnerable adults rights.
The petition is below and the page also has links to the vlog by Steve Broach which he has recorded for Special Needs Jungle which includes this statement '...what we are talking about here is eroding the hard-fought-for rights of disabled children and young people, children young people with special educational needs and their families......'
Steve's vlog can be accessed here
21.3.2020 Sutton update re vulnerable children and young people attending educational settings from Monday 23.3.2020 can be downloaded here
21.3.2020 Cognus letter that will be sent to all families currently in the process of applying for an Education, Health and Care Assessment can be downloaded here
Education Bulletin extracts - Sutton is responding to the announcements made by the Education Secretary, Gavin Williams yesterday evening.
Schools/educational settings will be closed from Monday 23 March for the majority of pupils until further notice but will need to remain open for children of key workers and for vulnerable children. Vulnerable pupils are defined as any pupil with a social worker or with an EHCP. Whilst we are expecting guidance on the definition of a key worker to be issued by the Cabinet Office shortly, we believe that these places are intended to ensure staff from NHS, public and vital private sector services are able to keep the country running. Educational settings are also being asked to remain open, where possible, for these pupils during the Easter holiday period.
This is a challenging ask in extraordinary circumstances. It is very encouraging to see how well prepared our schools and education settings have been for such an eventuality. Many schools have set up online learning opportunities for pupils, have been arranging work to be sent home with pupils and are putting in place measures to stay in touch with their more vulnerable pupils to ensure that they are OK through these unsettling times. Sutton Council has been working closely with schools, education and childcare settings to plan and implement contingency plans as well as coordinate our own efforts to support young people and families throughout the Borough.
Some brief updates:
1. Local Area Coordination - we will be setting up a coordination group between LA officers and representatives from schools and education settings to help coordinate activities and share information about our collective response as the situation develops.
2. Volunteering - we know that there are going to be a lot of people wishing to volunteer to help out in these challenging circumstances. We are coordinating all volunteering activity through Sutton's Volunteer Centre - anyone wishing to put themselves forward to volunteer can use the webform below. It may be possible for schools/educational settings to access volunteers (they will be coordinating DBS checks) - we are in the process of identifying how organisations can request help from volunteers and will update shortly
Volunteer Centre Sutton
020 8661 5900
It should be noted that volunteering opportunities are separate from opportunities to redeploy our existing workforce (including LBS, Cognus, educational settings and across other public sector partner organisations).
3. SEN Transport - in order to provide SEN transport we are going to need to know which pupils we are providing transport for. Our expectation is that schools/educational settings will be coordinating with their families on who will be attending schools/educational settings. Colin Hagreen in the SEN transport team will be contacting schools/educational settings today and tomorrow to gather this information where it is available. Colin can be contacted via the following email address SEN.Transport@cognus.org.uk
4. Free School Meals guidance has been published today. This guidance explains what schools should do to make sure eligible pupils have continued access to free school meals where:
(i) the pupil has to stay at home because they and/or wider family members are displaying coronavirus (COVID-19) related symptoms
(ii) the school is only open for certain groups or is closed temporarily
Schools that have their own in house catering team or private catering provider will need to coordinate their own activity, LBS has written to schools who are part of the Caterlink contract to see how these arrangements can work.
5. Children’s social care staff have met with key school representatives from the Local Safeguarding Children’s Partnership (LSCP) to discuss collaborative working arrangements over the next couple of weeks. A school representative will attend the daily children’s services daily meetings and will feedback to schools and education settings. In principle we are seeking ways in which social care staff can support schools and vice versa to meet the need of our most vulnerable children and young people.
Education and Health Care Plan Needs Assessments - in the near future Cognus will send a letter to parents and carers where the EHCNA process has commenced and to those with existing EHCPs. This will also include a reference to travel assistance (SEN Transport). Our aim is to support schools and to make sure we are clear with parents and pupils about the impacts on process and the timeframes as a result of the current unprecedented circumstances and availability of all professionals at this time. We will engage with Sutton Parent Carers Forum to support this and get the messages out through as many routes as possible.