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Coronavirus | Updates, advice and resources for families and practitioners

Coronavirus | Guidance for families on education and childcare in Redbridge

This section provides advice for parents and carers about education and childcare. 

Please look at the 'frequently asked questions' below by clicking on each question. 

How will coronavirus affect schools and childcare?

The government decided that from Friday 20 March, schools, early years settings, colleges and childcare provision in England would close for most children.

From Monday 23 March, schools, settings, colleges and childcare providers will only open to a very small number of pupils who are identified as being vulnerable or who have at least one parent or carer whose role is considered to a ‘key worker’.

My childcare setting has closed, what can I do?

You can download a copy of the document on the right side of this page, 'Early Years & Chlidcare settings able to cater for cchildren during closures'. 

If you are unable to locate a provider from this list and need further support, or for any other related queries, please email find@redbridge.gov.uk.   

How will I know if I am a key worker?

You may be classed as a ‘key worker’ if your job is listed on a set of jobs which have been defined by government as critical for the steps being taken to tackle the impact of Coronavirus AND your employer considers your specific job to be critical

There are several roles listed in the criteria and you can check to see if your job is on the list here

If you and your employer agree that your role is a ‘key worker’ job then you should let your local school know. Schools and settings in Redbridge have all written to parents asking them to notify the school if you think you are a key worker. 

Schools and settings are likely to need evidence from your employer about your key worker role – this is usually a letter from your employer advising the school that you are a key worker AND some form of ID such as an ID Badge

If you think you should have been identified as a key worker and have been overlooked by your school or if your child’s school has rejected your application to be considered a key worker then please use the attached form (TO FOLLOW) to advise the Local Authority and e-mail it to (find@redbridge.gov.uk for queries or admissions@redbridge.gov.uk). 

If I am considered a key worker, does my child have to attend?

No. Government advice is clear that if at all possible, children should remain at home if it is safe to do so. So even though you are identified as a key worker, you do not have to take up the offer of attending if for example your spouse or partner will be at home or if there is another adult living with you who will care for the child while you are at work.

How will I know if my child is identified as being vulnerable?

Government have set clear criteria. Vulnerable children are those with a social worker and those who have an Education Health and Care Plan. If your child is considered vulnerable for one or other of these reasons you will already have been contacted by your school. If for any reason you have not been contacted and your child has a social worker or an Education Health and Care plan, then contact your school directly.

If my child is vulnerable or if I am a key worker, does my child go to the school they usually attend?

Yes. At the moment almost all of the schools in Redbridge are open for children of key workers and vulnerable pupils. We will try and keep schools open though we will need to monitor staff absence rates and ensure we can continue to have enough staff. Should we need to make any changes you will be notified in advance.

My child has been identified as vulnerable because they have an EHCP - do they have to attend school?

No. The advice from both health and education is that if it is safe and possible for your child to remain at home, then you should keep them at home if you can.

If your child has underlying health conditions then you should self-isolate your child for 12 weeks as per health advice so that they have as much protection as possible

My child has an EHCP and usually gets SEN Transport to school - will this still be available?

Yes. We are currently operating SEN transport and will endeavour to maintain a service. However, we may need to make changes to routes and pick-up drop-off times and where we need to do so, we will take all reasonable steps to inform you in advance.

My child has an EHCP but is attending a school out of borough and the school has told me they will not be open - what do I do?

We are aware that some schools outside of Redbridge have not re-opened. If this is affecting your child, please contact your child’s SEN case worker in the first instance to discuss your child’s needs.

My child has additional needs and is SEN Support but does not have an EHCP - can they attend school?

No. At this stage government have asked schools to support only those vulnerable children who have an EHCP or a Social Worker. So, there will be no school for your child until further notice and instead you can access the online/hoe learning resources made available by your child’s school

I am a key worker and my child has been offered a place at a school - do they have to attend school?

No. The advice from both health and education is that if it is safe and possible for your child to remain at home, then you should keep them at home if you can.

If my child is able to attend school because they are vulnerable or because I am a key worker, will any absence they have be recorded and followed up?

Schools will record who attends each day. If you are a key worker and you decide your child can’t or won’t attend on any particular day you should let the school know in advance. Schools will advise us of pupil attendance but we will not follow up on individual absences for children of key workers

If your child has an EHCP and your child can’t or won’t attend on any particular day, you should let the school know in advance. Schools will advise us of pupil attendance but we will not follow up on individual absences for children with an EHCP unless your child also has a Social Worker. If your child does have a Social Worker then the Council Education Welfare Service will contact you to check up on your child’s welfare

If your child has a Social Worker and your child can’t or won’t attend on any particular day, you should let the school know in advance. Schools will advise us of pupil attendance for children with a social worker and the Council Education Welfare Service will then contact you to check up on your child’s welfare

How will schools protect my child from the virus when they are at school?

Schools will take all steps they can to ensure children practice social distancing in classrooms and around the school

Children at school will be encouraged to attend normally.

Will children attending school be taught as they would be 'normally'?

No. The number of children attending most schools will be small. Most pupils will be at home. Schools are making arrangements to help supervise and support children who attend school but it will not follow the national curriculum and will not be ‘normal’ lessons.

This is because there will be changing staff available and classes will be organised around staff availability. Pupils attending schools will be able to access the learning materials that schools have provided for all pupils

What will happen if my child is unwell when they are at school?

Schools will respond to pupil illness as they would do normally. If they think the child has symptoms of a cough or a temperature, the school will contact you immediately and make arrangements for your child to go home, where you will then be able to follow health advice and self-isolate your child for 14 days.

How will schools provide support for children who are at home and not able to attend school?

Redbridge schools have made arrangements for pupils to access online learning tools and resources. Such as home learning packs. These will be updated and overseen by individual schools

Should you have difficulty accessing the online materials then you should contact your child’s school in the first instance

The advisory staff within the Council are also working to gather and prepare additional resources and materials for children and young people that you might want to use at home. These will be made available and accessible here on the FiND website

My child isn't able to attend school - how will the absence be recorded?

Schools have been advised that children not attending but schools are closed to them should not be marked as absent. Instead schools will use a different attendance code so that the days missed while schools are closed will not form part of your child’s individual attendance/absence record

My child isn't at school but attending a Redbridge Alternative Provision (RAP) or the Constance Bridgeman Centre (CBC) - should they attend?

Yes. Both RAP and CBC are open to pupils

How long will school be closed to my child?

At the moment it is not possible to say when schools will re-open to all children and so for now, the position is that schools remain closed to all children except those who are the children of key workers or are vulnerable, until further notice

Will there be support for key worker children and vulnerable children over Easter?

Yes. The Local Authority are providing support for eligible children in holiday clubs across Redbridge. 

If your child is eligible to still attend school and you require childcare between 6 April and 17 April, please contact 020 8708 8923 or email find@redbridge.gov.uk. 

Can all children access the support that will be available over the Easter holidays?

No. The support over Easter will be for the children who have a parent or carer who is a key worker or for children who are vulnerable – those with a Social Worker or an Education Health and Care Plan. All other children should remain at home over Easter and we would advise you to follow the government’s advice to the general public as a whole about what you should and should not do over the× Easter break

What will happen to free school meals?

Until Friday April 3rd many schools are open and will provide you with a packed lunch for your child. In addition, a number of schools are providing emergency vouchers that you can use at local supermarkets. In most cases these are ‘e-vouchers’ and they can be stored and shown on your phone. If you don’t have a phone of that type schools are making arrangements to provide vouchers to families who need them

We are following government guidelines to stay at home. How do we get continuing access to Free School Meals after the Easter holidays?

After the Easter holiday schools will be either: running a weekly food parcel service or some schools will be continuing to provide vouchers.

 

If your school is using the food parcel service after Easter, the Local Authority will contact you BEFORE OR DURING THE EASTER HOLIDAY and let you know when you can collect your parcel and from where.  

 

If your school is going to use food vouchers after Easter, the school will contact you BEFORE OR AFTER THE EASTER HOLIDAY and let you know what the arrangements are for providing vouchers

What if I need help with special dietary requirements for my child who gets Free School Meals?

If you are in a school that will be using weekly food parcels, then the special dietary requirements for your child will have been considered when your food parcel was made up

 

If you are in a school that will be using vouchers, then you’ll be able to use the vouchers to buy the products you need

Will I get Free School Meal support during the Easter holidays?

Schools don’t usually provide Free School Meals services during school holidays. However, for families who need extra help at this time, the Council will make urgent additional vouchers available over Easter to families who need them. We will publish information about how to request urgent emergency vouchers over Easter here on the Family Information website at the start of the Easter holiday

How can I get help for my children for their mental health and well being if they are in self-isolation or away from school?

The Council’s Education Psychology service has set up a helpdesk which can provide specific advice and guidance. You can access the helpline on 07741 331009 Monday to Friday from 10.00am to 12pm, Wednesday evening from 5.00pm to 7.00pm.

In addition, YOUNG MINDS have produced a guide for children’s well-being which you can access at https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/talking-to-your-child-about-coronavirus/
 
You can find additional advice and guidance from the Place 2 Be children’s charity to support child and family mental well being here
https://www.place2be.org.uk/about-us/news-and-blogs/2020/march/coronavirus-information-for-children/

Public Health England have also published a guide for parents and carers on supporting children and young people's mental health and wellbeing during the outbreak. Visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing/guidance-for-parents-and-carers-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

If I am a key worker or the parent/carer of a vulnerable child how can I check to see which schools are open?

The Council will maintain a list of schools which are open and closed and we will update this daily. You can access that list here

If my child is showing signs of Coronavirus what should I do?

If your child has a high temperature or a new, persistent cough, they should self-isolate at home for 14 days and the rest of the family should self-isolate with them.

If possible, you should try to keep them in a separate room from other people in the house.

All other people in the household should also stay at home and self-isolate, where possible.

If your child’s symptoms worsen, or do not improve after 7 days, you should contact NHS 111

Can I get help in talking to my child about Coronavirus?

YOU CAN FIND THE LATEST ADVICE AND GUIDANCE FROM PUBLIC HEALTH ON CORONAVIRUS HERE

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

 

YOU CAN FIND GOVERNMENT ADVICE ABOUT SELF ISOLATION HERE

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/

 

YOU WILL FIND A LINK TO A CHILD-FRIENDLY PRESENTATION ABOUT THE VIRUS IN A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT LANGUAGES HERE

https://www.mindheart.co/descargables

 

BBC NEWSROUND HAVE PUBLISHED A SHORT ONLINE VIDEO FOR CHILDREN HERE

https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/51342366

 

THE NATIONAL AUTISTIC SOCIETY HAVE PUBLISHED ADVICE FOR PARENTS WHICH YOU CAN FIND HERE

https://www.autism.org.uk/services/nas-schools/vanguard/news/2020/march/coronavirus-(covid-19)-advice.aspx

 

THE GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER HAVE PUBLISHED A SHORT GUIDE FOR PARENTS ABOUT FAMILY SELF-ISOLATION WHICH YOU CAN ACCESS HERE

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/13/the-family-lockdown-guide-how-to-emotionally-prepare-for-coronavirus-quarantine

 

MENCAP HAVE PREPARED A SHORT GUIDANCE LEAFLET ABOUT THECORONAVIRUS WHICH YOU CAN ACCESS HERE

https://www.mencap.org.uk/advice-and-support/health/coronavirus

 

THE DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION HAVE ALSO PRODUCED ADVICE FOR PARENTS AND CARERS ABOUT SCHOOLS AND CHILDCARE WHICH YOU CAN ACCESS HERE

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers

 

THE DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION HAVE ALSO SET UP A PHONE AND EMAIL HELPLINE WHICH YOU CAN ACCESS HERE

The DfE helpline number is 0800 046 8687 (open 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday)

You can email the DfE helpdesk at DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk

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