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Coronavirus - SEND information and resources...

We know that during this time when we have to stay home much more and services are working remotely where required to it is important to:

  • keep informed
  • stay active
  • keep learning
  • look after ourselves and others 

Hackney Council and Public Health are providing free, factual, frequent updates on national and local arrangements and changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To make sure any information comes from a reliable source, sign up for Hackney Council's and Public Health updates.

If you have coronavirus symptoms, even mild ones, please isolate yourself from other people for 10 days and get a test. If you are asked to self isolate, regardless of symptoms, you must do so to keep from possibly passing it onto others.

Coronavirus symptoms are:

  • A high temperature
  • A new, continuous cough
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

In Hackney there are two testing sites:

  • Bentley Road car park, Dalston, N1 4DB (open 8am – 8pm, seven days a week)
  • Yesodey Hatorah School Egerton Road, N16 6UB (open 10.30am-3.30pm on Sundays)

You can book a test online or call 119.

If you are unable to book a test at a local site, you can also order a home test kit, or you can attend the Bentley Road test site, where walk-up tests are available seven days a week, 8am-8pm.

As of 15th September Walk in appointments are not available. This is a national issue and has been raised with central government by Hackney's Mayor. 

Get tested - Easy Read Guide

Special Educational Needs and Disability updates

We will share relevant information and resources here so you can come back to them when you need them. 

Services ARE still running and advice and support is available if needed.

Updated information on SEND services who work with families including current contact details and amended ways of working can be found here: Contact SEND specialist teams...

During the pandemic we have been sharing information about relevant updates and opportunities. You can find these  in SEND Newsletters listed here.  

Explaining things are different and re-enforcing new or changing messages can be difficult. 

This short animation from Reaching Families may help explain Coronavirus and the New Normal to some children and young people. 

Hands, Face, Space

As we head into winter The Government and Public Health England have reissued messages to remind people of the simple everyday steps we can all take to help stop the virus spreading. Watch the new capingn titled "Hands, Face, Space": 


Resources to help reinforce washing hands regularly 

This NHS video show a good handwashing routine and has a song to remind you how to wash every bit of you hands. 

Eleanor, an Occupational Therapist at The Garden School has made these photo visuals that can be used to support hand washing routines for children and young people who need visual prompts.

Photo visual resource for hand washing

Mencap - Wash your hands easy read guide

Poster to time washing hands (online resource)

You may already know about this popular online resource for making a personalised graphic hand washing poster. Add your favourite song lyrics and it will generate the poster for you to download. Easy, fun and teenager appropriate.

Make a "Wash yout lyrics" handwashing poster

Face coverings - information and resources

The Government has asked people to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces like; shops, supermarkets, shopping centres and on public transport. 

You can but do not have to wear a face coverings if you are:

• under the age of 11
• have a disability or certain health conditions, such as respiratory or
cognitive impairments that make it difficult to wear one. 

Find out more about face coverings here.

BBC - Step-by-step guide to making your own face mask - very easy to small amount of sewing version 

Making a face covering - pattern and instructions for experienced or enthusiastic sewers 

Mencap - Face coverings easy read guide

NHS exemption card toolkit

The Disability Unit and Public Health England have developed a new face covering exemption toolkit which you can find here. This toolkit contains some useful visual cards and posters to raise awareness and inform others of an individual’s exemption from using coverings and their rights. There are also options to download a digital card onto a phone to show is you need to when you are out. 

Other exemption cards are available but the version in the toolkit has the NHS logo and branding on. 

If you need a hard copy print out of one of the exemption card and do not have access to a printer at home Sarah - Hackney Ark Resource Centre Coordinator can print and send you one.

Call 0207 014 7006  or email  

Flexibility for being outdoors during lockdowns 

It is important for your wellbeing to go out and exercise and be outside for some of the day. During the lockdown restrictions we were asked to stay in except for shopping and a session of exercise. People who have health conditions including autism, leading disabilities and mental health problems were identified as people who may need to be outside more and perhaps further from their home if this was helpful t them. 

A local evidence letter is available which references the specific guidance on this and can be shown if stopped and asked to explain why you are using the full flexibility on this restriction that you are allowed to. This has been endorsed by Hackney Council, local NHS Trusts and the Metropolitan Police. 

Find out more and how to request an evidence letter here. 

Page last modified: 15/09/20

NHS - Advice for parents during the COVID-19 pandemic...

Although corona virus is infectious, for children it is rarely serious. If your child is unwell it is likely to be a non-corona virus illness, rather than corona virus itself.

Government advice to stay at home where possible is important. But it can be confusing now to know what to do when a child is unwell or injured.

NHS 111, GPs and hospitals are still providing the same safe care that they have always done.

This leaflet offers advice for parents during corona virus from Royal College of Pediatricians and Child Health (pdf)

The East London- Health Care Partners - Parent Guide - COVID-19 April 2020 (pdf) has a traffic light system of what to do if you feel worried about your child's health.

Having good mental health helps us relax more, achieve more and enjoy our lives more.

Every Mind matters have made this new short video about Looking After Children and Young People.

Expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing during Coronavirus (and beyond!) can be found on the NHS - Every Mind Matters website - Looking after your mental health

Support for children, young people and families in Hackney 

City and Hackney Child and Adolescent Mental health Service (CAMHS) and community partners working with them in the CAMHS Alliance have launched a new website during lockdown.

CAMHS support children, young people and their families when they have difficulties with their emotional wellbeing, relationships, behaviour or mental health.

They can help with all sorts of issues, from common worries to more severe or long-term difficulties. They also support children, young people and their families with disabilities and additional needs like autism. 

Access the new CAMHS website here

COVID-19 information in different languages...

The Mayor of London and Doctors of the World have provided translated COVID-19 guidance for those communities and individuals who do not have English as a first language. Find more here: 

As part of the Mayor’s London Together campaign, organisations have been working closely with Doctors of the World to ensure all Londoners with limited English receive the health guidance and support they need.  

You can find translated key Covid-19 guidance in 15 priority languages including; Vietnamese,?Cantonese,?Turkish,??Bengali,??Kurdish,??Romanian,?Spanish, Portuguese, Bulgarian,?Polish, Urdu, Punjabi (Pakistan), Punjabi (India), Gujarati?and Yiddish. 

This information for key communities includes:

COVID-19 Government Guidance - Special Educational Needs and Disability...

There have been a great many updates issued by the government and government departments during the COVID-19 pandemic.  You can view all government updates here. 

Department for Education dedicated Corona virus helpline

If you cannot find the government guidance or information you need you may be able to ask directly through the Department for Education dedicated Corona Virus helpline.

Open from 8:00 am - 6:00 pm Monday to Fridays. 

Phone: 0800 046 8687


Below you can find a list of some of the key updates of particular relevance to those with SEND. 

Ministerial letters for parents of children and young people with SEND

  • Joint ministerial letter to parent-carers from Secretary of State for Children and Families and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Care.

    Home Learning - resources, activity packs and ideas...

    Supporting your children's education during coronavirus (COVID-19)

    Government advice to parents.

    From the beginning of the autumn term, the DfE will expect all pupils, in all year groups, to return to school full-time. Information on what parents and carers need to know about the opening of schools is available.

    It is vital for all children to return to school for their educational progress, for their wellbeing and for their wider development.

    While staying at home due to coronavirus, parents and carers may be worried about their children’s development and the effect of missing school or nursery.

    No one expects parents to act as teachers, or to provide the activities and feedback that a school or nursery would. Parents and carers should do their best to help children and support their learning while dealing with other demands.

    Get specific advice on how education can continue at home for children on the government website here

    Hackney Education 

    Schools in Hackney are working with students to provide appropriate home learning activities.

    Schools are undertaking risk assessments for vulnerable children and making check in phone calls to families to see how things are going at home. 

    All schools and settings are expected to have well explained and planned arrangements for any possible future school closures should COVID-19 infections rates require a return to temporary closures. 

    Additional home learning and well-being resources are available on the Hackney Education website.

    Oak National Academy - resource bank. 

    Oak National Academy are a DfE sponsored online lessons portal for schools and families. Oak have expanded their specialist offer for the school year 2020/21 to include more than 600 free, high-quality specialist lessons and resources. These have been created in partnership with a wide range of expert specialist schools, teachers and therapists from across the country (including Hackney!!!).Each lesson is designed to help teachers provide more accessible learning opportunities for families with children at home, as well as help with lesson planning in the classroom. 

    Families can find Oak’s online classroom including video content, resources and activities for a range of subjects here

    BBC Bite Size - home schooling

    These homeschooling lessons from BBC Bite Size have been created with teachers and other education experts. There are a mix of videos, animations, practice activities, quizzes and games. New activities and lessons related to the cirriculum are are added regulalry.

    Clearly defined online portals take you to a range of options for primary, secondary and Post 16 learning. Wellbeing is a focus for some of the learning. 

    Find BBC Bite Size home schooling information and resources here

    The Institute of Education (IoE)

    The IoE have compiled a list of resources helpful to teachers, school leaders, parents-carers and young people. The list is very comprehensive and includes resources for those who have English as an additional language.

    All of the resources are either free, or they have been made free during the periods of school closures.

    Find the Institute of Education list of online learning resources here

    Support and information for parents and carers

    Contacting local services for children and young people with SEND and their families

    Local services have all shared their latest contact information and service offer in one place as well as in individual teams entries on this website. This includes:

    • council services
    • NHS hospital and community services
    • CAMHS 
    • Mental Health support and crisis line 
    • social services - children's and adults
    • education services for children and young people with SEND
    • careers advice
    • supported employment services
    • SEND information advice and support services
    • careers services

    Find information about contacting services and specilaist teams in Hackney here.

    Improve your digital skills

    Being able to use the internet, phones and apps is keeping families in touch, food on the table and children learning during Covid-19. 

    It can be scary to learn something new, especially when you feel that you’ve been left behind. These short how to videos can help you understand how to set up and work through online activities that will help you during the current time when access to services and activities is still being restricted. 

    Find help you to improve your digital skills.

    Department for Education (DfE) Coronavirus National Helpline

    The DfE have set up a helpline offering guidance for anyone with education related questions.

    Lines are open 8am-6pm (Monday – Friday)

    The number is 0800 046 8687

    The Council for Disabled Children (CDC)

    Government and public health SEND guidance. 

    The CDC work with young people, parent-carers, education, health and social care service providers and national partners. They are an organisation that brings together smaller charities and services working in the additional needs and disability sector. 

    By working together the voice of young people and parents and carers is strengthened and services can work together to achieve more. 

    Throughout the implementation of the SEND Reforms and thorough the pandemic the CDC have worked at a national level to ensure the complexities that families face is better understood and taken account of when planning and guidance is produced. 

    Find resources and regular updates on the Council for Disabled Children's website here


    Contact are a national charity working to help families feel valued, supported, confident and informed. Their website, FaceBook Groups and Helpline are all providing helpful information and advice during the pandemic. 

    Contact have a dedicated benefits advice line and offer additional topic specific information and a regular newsletter to keep parents, carers and others up to date with the latest developments. 

    Virtual family workshops
    Popular free workshops programme now online.

    Topics include: Money matters, Encouraging Positive Behaviour, Wellbeing for you, and Managing your child's sleep.

    Listening Ear service
    A 'Listening Ear' service provides free 1-1 support for parents by phone appointment with one Contact's family support advisers, at a time that suits you.

    The service can help with emotional support, strategies for reducing your child's anxiety and challenging behaviour or help you with structuring the day.

    Book slots for these and other Contact services online here.  

    Family Fund - additional funding during the Covid pandemic

    Family Fund, a well established national charity, have been providing extra support for families during the Covid-19 lockdown. They offer grants for respite care, sensory equipment, computers and tablets, kitchen appliances and outdoor play equipment.

    If you are a parent or carer of a child or young person with additional support needs arising from a disability or disabling condition or with a serious or life limiting illness you can apply for a Family Fund grant.

    To start the application you will need evidence of your child’s DLA (Disability Living Allowance) entitlement and evidence of any benefits the family already receives.

    For more information or to apply online go to Family Fund's website.

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