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COVID-19 restrictions - SEND specialist teams contact information - April 2021


On this page you can find information about service changes due to the Corona virus and changed ways of working in response to government and public health instructions.

The situation is changing frequently but we are trying to offer the best comprehenisive overview and follow on links here.  

Council buildings remain closed to the public 

As part of a gradual return a very limited number of bookable appointments are available for vulnerable residents that are unable to complete tasks or access what they need online or to do this by phone. Contact the council helpline to enquire about this. 

Information is updated regularly on Hackney Council's website and Support services near me interactive map

For general queries for those self-isolating and in need of support including signposting and referring on where required contact Hackney Corona virus Helpline 

Find the latest NHS health advice on Corona Virus

For local pandemic related news and updates sign up to the Hackney Council e-newsletter.

Find Children and Young People’s news and activities from Young Hackney.

Changes to the way the public accesses services for those with SEND

Specialist health services running from Hackney Ark and services at Homerton Hospital have changed in response to the pandemic.  

Partnerships contact details 

HIP Parent-carer forum (forum contact details, news updates and event information)

Domestic violence and sexual violence support

City & Hackney Covid-19 Bereavement Service for Young People and Families 

SEND Education and training support...

Hackney Education  - Home learning and wellbeing resources

Inclusion and Specialist Support team 

Hackney Education - Educational Psychology Service

SENDIAGS (Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Advice and Guidance Service)

Prospects Careers Service (SEND specialist advisor available) 

SEND Health support...

Hackney Ark - centre for children with disability and special educational needs 

Speech and Language Therapy

CAMHS (Child Adolesent Mental Health Services)

Homerton Sexual Health services

Hackney Mental Health Crisis Team (adults)

National information for those with  medical condition causing extreme vulnerability to coronavirus

SEND Social Care Support...

Short Breaks

First Access & Screening Team (FAST)

Disabled Children’s Service

Adult Social Care Information & Assessment Team

Carers First (carers assessments) 

Hackney Integrated Learning Disability Service

Out of Hours Social Care Team

Work and benefits advice...

Prospects Careers Service 

Hackney Supported Working - SEND Employment Champion (advice offer)

Job Centre Plus

SEND Education and training support...

Inclusion and Specialist Support Team

In keeping with guidance for Hackney Education Staff visiting schools and early years settings, the team will be offering a hybrid service.

  • Where possible meetings and training will continue to be delivered online and only essential work with children and young people will be carried out in schools and settings.
  • The team will try and limit visits to one setting/school a day, to minimise the possibility of transferring infection and will liaise with schools and settings before the visit to discuss safety protocols. During visits staff will adhere to government guidelines on maintaining social distance, washing hands and using PPE where appropriate.
  • Currently home visits continue to be delivered remotely, although it is expected that some home visits will start soon.

The teams include Portage, Early Support, autism support workers and Specialist Teachers for autism, SEMH (Social Emotional and Mental Health) needs, Specific Learning Difficulties such as dyslexia,  Medical Needs, Complex Needs, Visual Impairment and those who are Deaf or Partially Hearing. Team members continue to offer advice, support and learning resources remotely and will do their best to answer individual queries. For further information please contact:

Contact the service lead to direct your call to the right team member if direct contact cannot be made or to arrange a call back.

Quita - Team Lead Inclusion and Specialist Support

020 8820 7233 (work)

Early Year queries for those not in nursery with SEND

Fiona - Portage Team

020 8820 7588 (work)

07798882624 (work mobile)

Early Years – Early Support queries for those aged up to 5 years of age

Early Support Team

020 8820 7291 (work)

07900836505 (work mobile)

Queries relating to learners with the following related needs; autism / SEMH Social Emotional and Mental Health / Specific Learning Difficulties / Medical Needs / Complex Needs

Suki - Specialist Teacher

020 8820 7144 (Work)

07825230622 (work mobile)

Chris - Specialist Teacher

020 8820 7705 (work)

07766922944 (work mobile)


Robert- Autism Spectrum Condition - Family Support worker

020 8820 7449 (work)

Queries relating to those with sensory impairment

Melanie - Visual Impairment Team

020 8820 7620 (work)

07799656556 (work mobile)


Tom - Deaf and Partially Hearing Team

020 8820 7202 (work)

07392 120212 (work mobile)

The Educational Psychology Service

Educational Psychology Service - Telephone Parent Advice Line

If you would like support and advice, we are offering an opportunity for you to talk about your child/children with an educational psychologist for up to 30 minutes on our phone line. This service runs on Wednesdays between 1:00 and 3:00 pm  and during term time. 

We can help by talking through your concerns about your child, their development, any special educational needs that you may be aware of or any concerns you may have about their home or school experience.

We can give you advice about:

  • behaviour at home or school 

  • learning at home or school

  • your child’s special educational needs 

  • anxiety, wellbeing and mental health

Please do contact the EPS Parent Advice Service on: 020 8820 7519

Wednesday afternoons 1pm - 3pm during term time. 

Schools and other services can make contact anytime to discuss how the service can provide support.

SENDIAGS (Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Advice and Guidance Service)

  • Hackney SENDIAGS continues to provide information, advice and guidance via email and telephone.
  • Face to face meetings will only be considered on a case by case basis and following a risk assessment.
  • The drop in sessions remain cancelled until further notice.
  • We will be run information sessions online in the coming months. Information on these will be shared on our website

If you need to talk to a member of the team please be reassured we are still working and you can contact us for advice. 

Phone: 07500 066 513


Prospects Careers Service

Prospects careers service have suspended their drop-in services BUT continue to work with young people and their parents-carers by phone and e-mail.

Please use the following contact details.

Phone: 020 8356 2664 (Prospects office)

Phone: 07769 648 664 ( SEND advisor Bryan Taylor)

SEND Health support...

Homerton NHS teams will not be working with children/young people face to face unless the need is clinically urgent.

Hackney Ark 

The current unprecedented situation means that service provision maybe subject to change and be updated regularly to reflect this. Information on community service provision is correct on 3rd April 2020. 

As lock down eases and services adapt to their new ways of working we ask that if you do come to the centre for face to face contact appointments you help us to prepare you child or young person for the new arrangements. Please read our leaflet on what will happen when you arrive and discuss this with you child. 

Parent Leaflet - Changes at Hackney Ark due to Covid 19

Hackney Ark- Paediatric Community Health Services.

Reception is open to PHONE CALLS only 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday.

Please DO NOT attend Hackney Ark unless you have an appointment or other clear instruction to do so.

Contact Number: 0207 014 7004/7000/7180

Individual services details. 

Health Visiting Service

Postponement of Home Visits.Routine contacts conducted by phone including; New Birth visits, 6-8 week and developmental reviews, transfer in visits. Safeguarding contacts will continue via phone.

Health visiting support for our children with additional needs during restrictions of Covid 19

Our service is continuing to provide telephone support and face to face contacts as required, this can be on the day of request (following  a telephone  assessment) and we can be accessed via our central hub.

Phone: 0207 683 4151/4219



Our weekly referral  meetings at Hackney Ark continue with access to our key working colleagues, therapists and paediatricians, with our service linked to this.

Please contact us if we can provide advice or support at this time and we hope to resume our usual child health clinics and home visits as soon as possible.

CAMHS (Child Adolescent Mental Health Services) 

CAMHS Alliance

The new CAMHS Alliance website for City & Hackney is now up and running as is the CAMHS Alliance YouTube channel​ Videos and webinars produced by CAMHS colleagues will be shared making them accessible to all service users and others who would find the information useful. 

CAMHS have put together the following documents to update and help families and young people know how to manage their well-being and mental health, with support if needed, during the current government enforced lockdown. 

COVID-19 resources for parents-carers CAMHS (information, resources and links)

Short leaflet that helpfully identifies sources of support for a those experiencing different levels of difficulty and includes current contact numbers for a range of eventualities. 

City  Hackney CAMHS COVID Getting Help 

Wellbeing And Mental Health in Schools (WAMHS)

CAMHS workers in schools (CWIS) are offering their usual service on their agreed days. This work is delivered by phone and online as well as going in to schools where this is agreed as the best approach.

CAMHS Disability - Current Service

  • All services are running including ASD assessments and treatments.
  • Early intervention and parent support groups are online including ASD coffee mornings. 
  • The service is working with families by phone and online. 
  • Face to face appointments are offered when necessary.
  • We are accepting all referrals for children with moderate to profound disabilities and our usual service criteria applies. This includes self referrals.

CAMHS Disability referrals email

For crisis support families can call: 0208432 8020

Duty system running daily from Hackney Ark.

Contact number: 02070147135


First Steps - Current Service

  • All appointments are conducted over the phone or online except for the Quick Steps service, which are offering face to face appointments.
  • Some under 5’s work is being offered face to face where necessary.
  • First Steps are accepting referrals from professionals for Children and Young People aged 0-18 with mild to moderate mental health presentations (e.g. anxiety or low mood lasting for less than 6 months, poor self-esteem or difficulties with peer relationships).
  • These appointments are offered where a child or young person would benefit from uni-professional psychological work with a clinician. This is a short term, targeted intervention of up to 6 sessions.
  • Referral forms must be fully completed.
  • In this period we are not able to take any self-referrals.

For referrals email

For crisis families can call: 0208432 8020

Duty system running daily from Hackney Ark.

Contact number: 02070147135


Alliance members duty lines during office hours

  • Specialist CAMHS: 020 3222 5600
  • Children and Family Services – contact the named social worker/youth worker
  • 24 hour all-age crisis line 020 8432 8020

SALT (Speech and Language Therapy)

Postponement of routine face to face contacts unless urgent.

If you have concerns about a child’s speech and language development then you can complete a referral form and a therapist will make contact with  you over the phone.

Phone/video appointments offered where appropriate.

Website for family resources:  

Contact number: 020 7683 4262


Hackney SaLT and Oak National Academy

The Oak National Academy is a Department for Education sponsored online portal of lessons for students, families and schools to access during Covid 19.

Over the last few weeks they have started a specialist SEND offer through a national team of teachers, Occupational Therapists and Speech and Language Therapists.

Hackney’s Speech and Language Therapy Service is part of this national team and are supporting Oak National Academy to create online sessions for parents and students with additional needs. Read more

CCNT (Children’s Community Nursing Team)

Postponement of routine home visiting.

Phone service available.

Essential or urgent cases will be seen at home.

Call the office number for supply requests

Contact Number: 0207 014 7096


Children’s Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy Teams at Hackney Ark

Teams continue to follow government guidance and are working remotely.

Early Years Tummy Time online session and resources made for parents during lockdown to help support early development view here

Hackney Ark is only to be accessed when there is a specific clinical need. 

Individual therapists already involved in support for individuals are contactable directly via email or work mobiles found in their e-mail signatures.

Both the Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy teams are still accepting new referrals which are being screened as usual. Referral forms (available in the download section of this page)  should be forwarded directly to the relevant team on one of these e-mails:

    Both teams continue to complete screening phone or video calls for all patients who would normally be accepted for new referrals, including EHCP assessments with a timely turnaround. 

    Teams have been supporting existing our caseloads on a priority basis according to risk, completing screening calls to identify need and agree appropriate action. Recent contact updates for partners in health services are available as usual via RIO. Interventions are being offered via video call where possible and appropriate. 

    The teams are also exploring providing intervention to wider groups of children and families electronically and have recorded our Sensory Workshop for families and can offer this to as an ‘Electronic Version’.

    The Children’s Occupational Therapy Service continue to offer home safety assessments for children who meet this criteria. These are  via video or phone calls. Please detail specific risks reported by parents when making the referral.

    The Occupational Therapy team's - Equipment information sheet includes details of providers who sell equipment for use at home.

    Physiotherapy drop-in consultation slots will replace the drop in session for the time being. These begin again on 11th May via phone or video.  Physiotherapy information flyer - consultation slots, dates and times information for parents-carers.

    8:30am - 5pm -  Monday to Friday

    Sharon the service administrator  can be contacted Monday – Friday: 02070147025

    Key Worker

    Current case load support via phone including onward referrals  


    Targeted Health Outreach

    Current case load support via phone including onward referrals  


    Resource Centre

    Closed but coordinator responding to queries.

    Postponement of face to face contacts at present.

    There may be a small delay due to staff redeployment to support the NHS but messages and e-mails are checked throughout the day. 

    Contact Number for all 3 services above currently: 0207 014 7088


    Open to referrals from GPs and Health Visitors.

    Virtual appointments offered.

    Community Paediatrics

    Current Service- Outpatients

    All Community Paediatric clinic appointments have been cancelled until the end of May. We are re-booking appropriate new referrals/urgent follow ups as phone/video consultations.

    Autism diagnosis, developmental assessments, new continence referrals and audiology will be put on hold till after the current Covid Crisis.

    We will prioritise appointments for urgent referrals where discussion with a paediatrician will be able to progress the case.

    Parents will be sent a letter to explain the plan for their child’s appointment.

    Contact Number: 0207 014 7004

    Current Service- Child Protection

    The pathway for referrals remains unchanged.

    We will continue to liaise with Children’s Social care about cases of concern.

    Face to face medicals will be offered where there is a mark or injury that needs to be recorded, where prosecution is expected or where the outcome of the Child Protection medical will change the management plan from CSC for example the plan for family support or CIN (Child In Need) or CP (Child Protection) plan has not already been made.

    Current Service - Looked After Children

    Initial and review health assessments will be offered by telephone interview.

    Face to face medical only arranged if a physical exam is required to detect possible underlying problems.

    Liaison will continue with Children’s Social Care and Looked After Children’s Team.

    Homerton Sexual Health services

    Access to Homerton Sexual Health is via telephone assessment only. People should not come to the sexual health clinics before they have been assessed over the telephone and should ring first to schedule a telephone consultation, and a member of staff will return their call.

    Phone: 020 7683 4103 (single point of access)

    People are encouraged to use the online testing service – SHL – by visiting

    Up-to-date information:

    Hackney Mental Health Crisis Team

    If you are worried that your mental health is getting worse or you are in distress, you can call the Hackney Mental Health Crisis Team. 

    Phone: 020 8432 8020 (24 hours a day, all year round)

    National information for those with  medical condition causing extreme vulnerability to coronavirus

    Register if you have a medical condition that makes you extremely vulnerable to coronavirus.

    For example, you’ll be able to ask for help getting deliveries of essential supplies like food.

    If you’re not sure whether your medical condition makes you extremely vulnerable, register anyway.

    You can register yourself, or on behalf of someone else.


    SEND relevant Social Care support...

    Short Breaks

    The Short Breaks team are still available for queries Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm.

    Phone 020 8356 6796



    Short Breaks offer - COVID 19 temporary changes and increased flexibility extended 

    Due to the impact of COVID 19, a number of children and young people are not able to access their usual Short Breaks, either because the carer is unavailable, the Short Breaks provider has had to close/cancel their activities or because you are unable to spend your Individual Budget on your prepaid card.

    We recognise that some families are now faced with the challenge of keeping their child or young person entertained and occupied during the current period of lockdown.

    Due to these current exceptional circumstances we would like to offer families some alternative support to the standard Short Break offer and will be allowing families the opportunity to purchase equipment and toys such as outdoor play equipment, books, arts and craft materials, etc. We hope this measure supports families to sustain supporting the development and stimulation of their children and young people through play and creativity.

    Read the full seventh Covid Short Breaks update on allocations and flexiblle use (extended until June 2021)

    Please contact the team if you have any questions

    Phone: 020 8356 6796


    First Access & Screening Team (FAST)

    Single point of contact or ‘front door’ for children and families services.

    Professionals from; Children and Families service, Police, Health and Probation work together, share information and make decisions about services for children/ young people and their families. The service in not able to accept referrals by email currently and has an online form in place for these. 


    Phone: 020 8356 5500

    Phone: 0208 356 2710 (after 5pm and at weekends and bank holidays)

    Disabled Children’s Service - care and support

    We are very conscious that the outbreak of the Coronavirus may affect the ability of carers to support the borough’s disabled children in the coming weeks, which may place a strain on family resources. We are working closely with our care providers to confirm the contingency plans they have in place. 

    Similarly, we recognise that families using Direct Payments might not be able to pay their regular worker right now due to isolation or illness. We aim to offer flexibility around this and will work with families on a case by case basis to meet your child's individual needs.

    Disabled Children's Service social workers are carrying out welfare checks with families and liaising with other services such as schools who may be offering you support.

    Should you require support around the use of Direct Payments or in relation to queries or concerns about the support being provided by care agencies, please contact your social worker by phone or email.

    If this is not possible contact the team so we can help think with you about the best way forward. Phone: 020 8356 6789

    Adult Social Care Information & Assessment Team

    If you need urgent specific support or advice for you or the person that you care for, contact the Adult Social Care Information & Assessment Team by calling                  

    Phone: 020 8356 6262


    Carers First

    Carers First have suspended face to face sessions but will continue to provide a service via phone and email. so please do get in touch. Make contact through their online Carers’ Hub.

    Phone:0300 303 1555



    Hackney Integrated Learning Disability Service

    If you have a Learning Disability or care for an adult with a Learning Disability and you need to talk to someone about the care and support they need call the Hackney Integrated Learning Disability Service - Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.   

    Helpful contact information sheet - Who can help?        

    Phone: 0208 356 7444


    If you need to talk to outside of those times, you can call the Out of Hours social care team - After 5pm and at weekends and bank holidays

    Out of Hours Social Care Team

    Phone: 020 8356 2300 (after 5pm and at weekends and bank holidays)

    Hackney’s Supported Working Service

    Online interactive video advice session will be offered so your questions can be answered. Further signposting will be made to providers and relevant teams where appropriate.  

    1:1 support and advice by phone and online. 

    020 8356 5700 (and ask for the Supported Employment Team)

    Job Centre Plus

    Since March 2020, and until further notice,  people receiving benefits will not have  to attend their Jobcentre appointments.

    • All appointments for new claimants will be done by phone. This means; Initial Evidence Interviews, Claimant Commitments, Verifying Evidence Interview and Habitual Residence Tests will all by telephone intervention.
    • Face-to-face conditionality meetings for Universal Credit customers will be replaced by phone interviews. These will maintain regular contact between customers and their work coach so work with those needing support does not lose momentum. Changes to claimant commitments can be agreed by phone and accepted by the customer on their on-line account.
    • Work coaches who need to contact customers should do so through the online journal or by phone.
    • Customers who need to contact us should do so by phone or online. 
    • Jobcentre is closed to most people but vulnerable cases and other related transactions can be seen where these can’t be completed in other ways and to ensure timely payments are received.
    • For customers making a new claim, not having a Fit Note should not stop them from applying, completing the process and getting benefit paid during the COVID pandemic. 

    The phone based claim process (as an alternative to online) remains the same if you have a disability and your need for this option would be ongoing. There is a very limited telephone call back service for these clients. 

    PIP (Personal Independence Payments) can be made as usual or apply online for a form. There are currently no face to face assessor appointments and claims will be temporarily processed without these. This government online advice explains more about how to claim PIP.

    Hackney Helpline Coronavirus

    Helpline for those who are socially isolating and potentially cut off from help.

    The helpline number is 020 8356 3111 (8am-5pm Monday-Friday).

    In the future, this will also link in to the wider offer of support the Government, NHS and local authorities will be putting in place for those being shielded. 

    Staff operating the helpline will take details of residents’ needs and will feed these back into statutory services and the volunteering hub to enable the Council and partners, including volunteers, to respond.

    Residents who have immediate medical needs or concerns should continue to call 111 - or in an emergency 999.

    Record Last Updated on: 22/04/2021

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    Disclaimer-important information about the Hackney Local Offer

    Hackney's Local Offer website is a free and impartial service provided by the London Borough of Hackney in partnership with the NHS, local education, health and community services. The information contained within the website is available for the purposes of identifying services and provision that may be available to children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

    This information does not represent a recommendation or an endorsement of a Service or Provider and neither does the London Borough of Hackney or its partners make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy of the information. Anyone seeking to use or access a service or provision is responsible for undertaking their own checks to determine the suitability and fitness for purpose of that service and provision. In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including, without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damages whatsoever arising from use or loss of use of data or profits arising out of or in connection with the use of the Hackney Local Offer.

    Some providers will be registered and inspected by external agencies, such as Ofsted or the Care Quality Commission. Anyone working with children and young people will be required to have appropriate Disclosure and Barring Service Check (the replacement for the Criminal Record Check), safeguarding policies and insurance in place, which they should make available to you on request.

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