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This month we hosted a socially distanced meet up for parent carers at Project Art Works whilst their children took part in Art Breaks. We also welcomed other parents to the group via Zoom.

At school and at home

Although school places have been offered, several parents have decided to keep their children off school during the current lockdown whilst other children are on reduced timetables at school or college.

We began by discussing some of the anxiety surrounding returning to school. Some families were offered a day or two of school provision but decided that this would be too different or unsettling for their children. One parent said that their child would struggle with the change and confusion that one day at school would present and that this would impact on their wellbeing over subsequent days at home. The uncertainty and change to routine for some would prove too distressing. Every parent carer had a different experience to share but what brought people together was a collective feeling of exhaustion and uncertainty. We await the government’s announcement on week commencing 22nd February on the reopening of schools.

Homeschool EHCP provision

One parent shared how their child is receiving minimal input from their school to support homeschooling and that their child is not able to engage with online learning. One parent shared how the EHCP is a legally binding document and the local authority have a statutory duty to meet children’s needs.

If your child or young person’s setting is not using their best endeavours during the national lockdown you can complain. This model letter from IPSEA may help.

Covid grant scheme

As a result of the campaign run by footballer Marcus Rashford, schools and charities working with families have received funding through the Government’s Covid Winter Grant scheme, via East Sussex County Council, to help families feed hungry children and young people.

If you, or your family, is struggling financially, you can apply for a grant which will pay £50 per child or young person with SEND, to help cover the cost of food or fuel at this difficult time

The fund will close to new applications on 31st March 2021, or whenever the funds run out if this is earlier.

Visit: https://amazesussex.org.uk/covid-grants/

Useful resources:

Books Beyond Words have created a series of social stories that may be useful in approaching some of the complex issues surrounding the pandemic with children and young people. https://booksbeyondwords.co.uk

IPSEA update on Covid-19 and SEN provision and FAQ: https://www.ipsea.org.uk/news/ipsea-update-on-covid-19-school-closures-and-sen-provision

Template letter for Complaining when the school is not using their best endeavours to secure special educational provision for a child with SEN during the COVID-19 pandemic: COVID-19: click to download

Ofsted guide to remote education: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/whats-working-well-in-remote-education/whats-working-well-in-remote-education

Civil Legal Advice: If you care for a child with SEN you may be eligible for civil legal advice as part of legal aid to help you secure the right provision for your child. https://www.gov.uk/civil-legal-advice

PohWER –  Serevice offering advocacy support dependent on your individual needs. Call  0300 456 2370 to find out how an advocate could support. https://www.pohwer.net/east-sussex

Next online meet-up: Thursday 18th March, 11am -12pm

For a Zoom link to join, email [email protected]

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