Education, Health and Care (EHC) Assessments, Plans and Annual Reviews
Can I still apply for an EHC Assessment?

Yes parents and carers can still apply for EHC Assessments. However, it may be difficult for the school/college, the Education Psychology Team and health colleagues to complete the assessments required to be submitted with the application due to capacity issues whilst services are focussing on the frontline response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

However, we are expecting that as children return to school from September more assessments of children will be able to take place.

Where it is not possible for the EHC Team to reach a decision about whether to proceed with an assessment because of missing assessment information or any other reason associated with the outbreak, temporary changes to the law means that the we will complete the process as soon as reasonably practicable.

These changes to the law remain in place until the 25 September 2020:

If you would like to discuss any aspect of this process, please contact the EHC Team on 01925 442175 and for the latest advice, visit the gov.uk website.

What will happen if my child's EHC Assessment is under way?

The council's EHC Team are continuing to complete EHC Assessments and produce EHC Plans as best they can.

The temporary changes to the law means that where it is not possible for the EHC Team to complete the assessment within the statutory timescale, because they are waiting on advice from health colleagues or any other reason associated with the outbreak, then the council is required to complete the process as soon as reasonably practicable.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of this process, please contact the EHC Team on 01925 442175.

The latest government guidance is the gov.uk website.

Will my child's EHC Plan still be issued?

Where it is possible for the EHC Team to complete the EHC Plan then it will be issued. In some cases, with your agreement, your child’s EHC Plan may be finalised and then any missing information will be inserted once it is available.

The temporary changes to the law means that where it is not possible for the EHC Team to issue your child's EHC Plan, because of any reason associated with the outbreak, then the Council will issue it as soon as reasonably practicable.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of this process, please contact the EHC Team on 01925 442175.

These changes to the law remain in place until the 25 September 2020.

Read the latest government guidance on the gov.uk website.

Will my child still have an Annual Review?

We are working with schools/colleges, health colleagues and care providers to complete as many Annual Reviews as possible. However, due to the availability of staff it is not always possible to complete the Annual Reviews in a meaningful way. This means that your child's school/college may contact you to either postpone the Annual Review meeting and/or discuss with you on the phone your child's progress.

The temporary changes to the law means that partners will try to reconvene the meeting as soon as reasonably practicable if it is postponed, in line with the changes to the law.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of this process, please contact the EHC Team on 01925 442175.

These changes to the law remain in place until the 25 September 2020.

The latest government guidance is on the gov.uk website.

If I am involved in a mediation will the meeting still go ahead?

Mediation meetings will still go ahead either by telephone and where technology allows by video conferencing.

If I have an appeal in progress with the SEND Tribunal, will this still go ahead?

The SEND Tribunal has confirmed that hearings will be on paper or by telephone (and, where the technology permits, by video) starting on Monday 23 March 2020.  

With these measures, it is expected that there should be no need to adjourn hearings if the parties are ready to go ahead, even though they may not be able to take place in person. 

Read further guidance on how telephone and video hearings will be used during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Education
Is my child expected to go back to school in September?

From September, we expect all pupils including those with SEND and/or an EHC Plan to return to school.

Schools have completed their whole School Risk Assessments in line with government guidance and are ready to safely welcome back all of their pupils including those with medical needs.

Schools have been advised to update pupil’s individual Risk Assessments if they have any underlying health conditions to identify any additional support they may require so that they can return back to school safely. You should have been consulted about this.

If you are not planning to send your child back to school in September it is important that you contact your child’s school as soon as possible to let them know and please email education@warrington.gov.uk to notify us, too.

The latest government guidance on Risk Assessments for pupils with EHC Plans can be found on the gov.uk website.

Do I have to send my child to school/ college?

The advice from government is clear that now the circumstances have changed, it is vital for all children to return to nursery/school/college to support their education, wellbeing and wider development.

We know that children who do not attend school are at risk of falling further behind. This means that the usual rules on attendance will apply from September:

  • Parents’ are expected to make sure that their child attends regularly
  • Schools and colleges are expected to record attendance and follow up on absence
  • Schools and colleges are able to issue sanctions, including fixed penalty notices in line with the Council’s code of conduct.

If you are worried about sending your child back to school please contact your child’s school and email education@warrington.gov.uk to notify the council, too.

The latest government guidance on attendance can be found on the gov.uk website.

What if my child has an underlying health condition?

Shielding advice for all people with underlying health conditions paused on 1 August 2020 as a result of the decline in the rates of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). Therefore it is expected that children previously shielding will return to school in September 2020.

Those children who remain under the care of a specialist health professional may need to discuss their care with their health professional before returning to school in September (usually at their next planned clinical appointment).

If rates of the virus rise in Warrington, children and young people (or family members) living here will be advised to shield again whilst rates are high and therefore we understand that under these circumstances they may be temporarily absent from school.

Where a pupil is unable to attend nursery/school/college because they are complying with clinical or public health advice, we expect our schools in Warrington to offer your child access to remote education.

Where children and young people are not able to attend their setting as parents are following clinical or public health advice, absence will not be penalised.

What support will I get from my school/college if my child stays at home?

The learning support your child receives will depend on the school/college they attend. Some schools/colleges in Warrington are providing an online offer and others will have sent home learning resource packs. Some schools/colleges are offering a mix of the two.

Oak Academy have developed resources for SEND pupils and have targeted support at pupils attending SLD and MLD schools.

If you need to discuss your child's home learning and any additional support you need please contact your child's school/college.

Will the provision described in my child's EHC Plan still be delivered?

The changes to the law mean that where the Council is, because of the outbreak, unable to put in place what is described in your child's EHC Plan we must now use our 'reasonable endeavours' to support their needs.

This may result in your child's provision being different from what is set out in their current EHC Plan. For example, the school/college may provide home learning resource packs, online learning and/or telephone support. This legal change has initially been put in place until the 25 September 2020.

We expect that as pupils return to school from September that their provision should return to normal, if this is not the case, please contact the EHC Team on 01925 442175.

Visit the gov.uk website for further guidance.

My child is due to move school/college in September 2020, what will happen?

If your child is due to start in Reception or move from primary to secondary school they should have received a letter from Warrington Borough Council naming the school. The school should also be named in your child's EHC Plan.

For those moving from secondary school to college, the college should have been in touch confirming their enrolment day – this usual takes place once they have received their GCSE results on the 20 August 2020. We know that the colleges in Warrington are offering specific dates and time slots to individual pupils to ensure that social distancing measures can be maintained.

If you child has an EHC Plan and their school place has not been finalised for September please notify the Council by emailing EHCmessages@warrington.gov.uk

Transport for pupils with SEND

The council's Specialist Transport Team is working with a large number of partners across the sector to ensure that appropriate transport is in place to enable students to return to school from the start of the new academic year.

Please note: UK government guidance on the provision of school transport is in place, this statement is current as of 1 September, but may change in line with updated guidance.

Taxi and minibus operations
  • The government has advised that the 'student bubbles' introduced by the schools can be extended to school transport provision. We are communicating with schools on the most appropriate manner in which to transport students
  • All transport operators will be advised of seating plans to be used so that students in the same bubble can travel together.
  • Some routes, which had many students travelling via before the pandemic, will be double-running, as there are not enough vehicles/drivers/passenger assistants in the area to provide ‘on-time’ arrivals for everyone. This will mean that the morning pick up and afternoon drop off times will be different to the last school year for some students
  • All vehicles will be cleaned down with a bleach based product before each journey, and between journeys where they are double-running. The products used are not harmful to health but will be suitable for effective cleaning of surfaces.
Drivers/passenger assistants
  • Staff on the vehicles may be wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), typically rubber gloves and face coverings – students need to be warned of this wherever possible, so that it is not a surprise
  • Staff on the vehicle will be avoiding unnecessary contact with students
Students
  • Students should not travel on school transport if they are unwell, if they are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has it, it is the parent/carers responsibility to follow government guidance, which can be found on the gov.uk website.
  • Students do not have to wear face coverings but if parents/carers feel that they could, then that would be encouraged. Face coverings do not need to be masks, they can take the form of scarves or any other similar garment which cover the nose and mouth.
  • Students will be asked to use the seats in the rear of the vehicle first with the last students to join each run using the front seats. At the school, the vehicle will be emptied of students from front to back, the reverse process will occur in the afternoon. This is designed to limit exposure of students to each other.
  • Parents and carers will be expected to accompany their student to the vehicle in the morning and to collect from the vehicle in the afternoon

Colleagues from the Specialist Transport Team will be in touch with many parents/carers prior to the start of the new academic year, to advise what the arrangements will be – particularly where the arrangements have changed.

In some cases, this will just be to advise who the operator is and to set up a ‘meet and greet’ so that students meet the driver and personal assistant before the first school day. Approximate times of collection and return will also be given at this point, noting that these can vary according to traffic conditions on any given day.

This is the message that will be shared in letters advising parents/carers or students that apply and are awarded transport from September 2020:

“You will be contacted by a member of the Specialist Transport Team when transport arrangements have been made. Please note that, during the current pandemic, the provision that we will put in place will be following the latest government guidance on social distancing in order to restrict the spreading of the virus. Arrangements will consist of staff on board the vehicle potentially wearing PPE, whilst children do not have to they will not be discouraged from wearing a face covering. The vehicle will also be carrying less passengers than it is licensed for, this may mean that pick-up and drop off times may be earlier and/or later than you would normally expect. Specialist transport colleagues will be on hand to explain how these arrangements will affect your child/ren”.

Health services
How do I get my child/young person’s prescription from the Child Development Centre? Am I allowed to go to the Child Development Centre?

You can call the Child Development Centre on 01925 867853 to request a prescription. This line has been set up for taking prescription requests.

The prescription will be posted to your home address.

The prescriptions are usually completed daily at CDC, however the standard process is continuing which is ideally 7 days’ notice for all prescription requests made.

CDC is open and face to face appointments are being offered. This varies from service to service and you will be contacted by the relevant team when an appointment becomes available.  Measures have been put in place at CDC to ensure everyone’s safety. These measures will be explained to you when you receive your appointment letter. 

What will happen to my child’s appointments for their therapies such as Speech and Language, Occupational Therapy and Physio?

The Speech and Language service is keeping in touch with schools and families over the phone and they are offering video consultations. High priority patients will be seen face-to-face by OT and Physio, other patients will be contacted via telephone for reviews. Those children who require assessment for their EHCP are being prioritised along with those children and young people who have identified needs in their EHCP. We encourage you to call the Child Development Centre on 01925 867853 if you have any concerns or worries and need to get in touch with the teams. We are actively keeping in touch with schools to ensure children’s needs are being met.

Can I access mental health support for my child/young person?

Yes, please visit the North West Boroughs Healthcare website. North West Boroughs healthcare have also published a specific resource area for children and young people.

Warrington’s Happy, Ok, Sad website has a wide range of tools to support both parents/carers and children/young people experiencing mental health difficulties.  

 

If my child/young person is under CAMHS and was receiving mental health support before the lockdown, what will happen to that service now?

All open cases will be reviewed, and interventions offered by the CAMHS practitioner where possible. Duty can also be contacted during this time.

People living in Halton, Knowsley, St Helens and Warrington who are experiencing a mental health crisis can now access mental health support via a new 24/7 dedicated mental health crisis line on 01925 275 309.

If my child/young person is struggling to cope at home, where can I get advice/support for strategies to help them?

If your child is known to the Specialist Nursing Team there is daily access to the team during Monday – Friday on 01925 867843. There is at least one member of the team answering the phone and many parents can contact via email.

You can also contact ADDvanced Solutions who provide support in Warrington.

If your child is known to Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services, you can seek support from duty or the allocated practitioner from North West Boroughs Healthcare. Call 01925 575904.

What is being done for those who are waiting for medical input in order to progress with an EHCP?

EHCP requests are still being responded to within the statutory time frame.

What is the COVID -19 hospital passport?

The COVID-19 hospital passport is to enable hospital staff to understand how your child likes to be cared for and how they communicate.

Every parent who has a child with complex needs or communication difficulties can fill in the COVID-19 hospital passport. If your child is known to the Children’s Community Nursing Team, they may have additional information they may like to add about the medical needs of your child so they will be in contact with you about it. The COVID-19 hospital passport can be filled in now.

Are community paediatricians still assessing children?

The Community Paediatricians have been doing review telephone clinics including first review feedback to parents with their agreement. 

 Face-to-face appointments are being made for new patients. This is being carried out at a reduced level to ensure all patients and their families remain safe and we minimise any risk to patients. 

The paediatricians are actively going through their waiting lists; they are also reviewing ADOS lists and carrying out additional MDT’s to ensure patients can be seen in a timely fashion.

They are actively transferring ASD children (with no medical needs) to specialist nursing team to ensure they will be reviewed by ASD nurse.

They are continuing to work on the neurodevelopmental pathway and the referral form.

For those children who have recently received a diagnosis, the Specialist Nursing Team are sending out packs to parents about ADHD and ASD providing information which would normally have been covered in group meetings. Face to face appointments are being offered if clinically indicated.

The phone number for this service is the Child Development Centre number on 01925 867843. The information packs include emails for the three specialist nurses.

Is my child still able to access their Speech and Language Therapy?

Speech and Language Therapy will be working with schools to arrange visits where possible and parents will be informed of the arrangements for their child's reviews when we have this information.

Home programmes will be provided where appropriate if a child is not in school.

Assessments requiring a class based observation, such as those for children undergoing assessment by the Additional Health Needs Panel, may be affected if schools are not able to allow visitors into the classrooms.

To contact the service please call 01924 251389.

Early Help
Are the children's centres open?

At the moment children’s centres continue to be closed to the public whilst we complete our planning to support the safe reopening of our buildings.

Our staff in our children’s centres have developed some activities for you to do with your child/ren - hopefully it won't be too long before you can attend your favourite sessions at your local Children's Centre!

To find out when children centres will be back open keep an eye on My Life Warrington.

Will I still get access to Family Support?

Our Family Support Workers have continued to work to support families in need of early help via the telephone / video conferencing and they have begun to meet with families in the communities.

At this time it is not possible for Family Support Worker to visit your home, but this is being kept under review.

What do I do if I need additional help or family support?

Please call the Early Help Support Team on 01925 443136

What should I do if I need access to food?

If you are struggling to provide adequate food for you or your children you can get food parcels from Warrington’s Food Bank on 07583080521

You can contact your local Children Centre where they will be able to support with food vouchers:

  • 07583143624 for Westy, Sunshine Children’s Centres & Youth Café
  • 07780494230 for The Orchard, Sandy Lane Children’s Centres & Orford Youth Base
  • 07775024920 for Great Sankey & Little Stars Children’s Centres
Direct payments/ personal budget
Can my direct payment/personal budget be used to pay family members or other activities during this period?

Families can use their payments more flexibly during this time. This includes using family members as personal assistants.

You should inform us that you are planning to do this so that it can be agreed. If you have a named worker then please make them aware to support you or contact the Care Arrangers and Direct Payments Teams on 01925 443314.

If your family member receives benefit payments it would be advisable that they receive advice from a service like Citizens Advice or a specialist charity as to what if any impact this may have on them.

Check gov.uk for the latest national advice.

 

Short breaks
What activities are in place over the summer holidays to support children with SEND?

Because of the current situation the short break activities available are more limited than they normally would be, but for more information on things to do please visit My Life Warrington, which provides further detail on summer activities including virtual sessions.

The Families Information Service will be promoting activities, events and children’s centre sessions via their Facebook page.

 

Is the Aspire Holiday Club still going ahead?

The Aspire Holiday Club is taking referrals for the October half term.

To find out more information about future Aspire Holiday Clubs, please contact 01925 442883 or email sensorycentre@warrington.gov.uk.

Referrals are being accepted until the 2 October 2020: