Oxfordshire Children’s Services
Children’s Services staff are still working, however as a result of Central Government advice face to face work is not possible. We are still working to look at Early Help Assessments and any support that can be offered using technology. Safeguarding remains our key priority and Children’s Services staff will respond as quickly as possible to priority contacts.
Within this challenging time staffing resource is being dedicated to facilitate our essential services, however medical assessments and follow up appointments will continue where possible over the phone. New referrals continue to be triaged, however assessments requiring face to face Medical appointments will experience a delay. There has been a clinical review of caseloads to ensure children are seen as per clinical need continues
We are offering support during this time. We can respond to your calls and e-mails and aim to get back to you within 5 days. Our website contains lots of useful information.
Oxfordshire’s Local Offer has updates regarding useful contact numbers, information for children and young people and their families and also has updates on each service’s offer of support during the coronavirus pandemic.
If schools are able to, they can continue to hold EHCP Annual Review Meetings with parents via telephone or video conferencing.
Completed paperwork is to be sent into the SEND Team inbox as usual and it will be processed electronically. Parents can still email the SEND Team for advice on these meetings, or they can contact SENDIASS for support.
For children and young people currently going through the EHC needs assessment process we will complete it with the advice received so far. Co-Production Meetings are now held by telephone with schools/settings and parents separately on the same day if at all possible.
Virtual SEND Panels are continuing to be held. If an EHC Needs Assessment is agreed the Local Authority will request advices as normal, however it may be the case that the LA does not receive meaningful advice from the professionals usually approached, especially health and social care advice, due to their other responsibilities during this current coronavirus pandemic.
In the first instance parents should be discussing support regarding education matters with their child’s school and in particular the SENCo. Work being sent home should be differentiated to best suit the individual child’s needs.
If you have any queries regarding work please contact your child’s school.
Central government have asked parents to keep their children at home wherever possible, and for schools to remain open only for children who are vulnerable and for those children of workers critical to the COVID-19 response who absolutely need to attend.
We are prioritising school places for those children who cannot have their needs met safely at home. If your child has an EHCP, their school will carry out a risk assessment in consultation with you, the local authority, and relevant health professionals. The risk assessment will consider:
- Potential health risks to your child from COVID-19, taking into account any underlying health conditions your child may have
- The risks to your child if some or all elements of their EHCP either cannot be delivered at all, or cannot be delivered in their usual environment
- Your home and your ability to ensure your child’s health and care needs can be safely met
- The impact to your child’s wellbeing of changes to routine or the way in which provision is delivered.
The outcome of the risk assessment will identify whether your child should continue to attend school. Risk assessment is a dynamic process which will require regular review and updates as circumstances will change.
Children who are on Child Protection or Child in Need Plans or have a TAF in place in Oxfordshire will be monitored by Social Care who have also risk assessed children and young people known to them.
As a general rule – No. Central government have asked parents to keep their children at home wherever possible. Our priority is ensuring support for those children with the most complex needs whose parents cannot safely care for them at home, and will need support from residential or special school to be safe. This means specialist schools and colleges will only remain open where this is needed. Staff may need to be redeployed from elsewhere to maintain the staff ratio and skills required.
The government has asked independent schools and boarding schools to do the same as state schools and remain open for critical workers and vulnerable children.
Yes – If we have been informed by your child’s schools that they will be attending, your existing eligibility for transport stands and will already have been arranged. Where possible the Service Provider has remained the same however in some cases it may have differed, please rest assured that we will only ever use a DBS checked and Safeguard Trained operator.
If you have any questions, please contact the Supported Transport Hub through the usual contact details below:
We will work with academy trusts and schools to ensure that schools are kept open, but in some cases this will not be possible, and it may not always be possible for children to attend their usual school in order to ensure that children and staff are kept safe. We know that for some children with SEND, attending a different school site may be destabilising and we will avoid changing their placement during this time.
We will work with schools to make the most appropriate arrangements and talk with you about this. Should this situation arise, please contact: [email protected]
During this outbreak, educational settings, local authorities, health bodies, parents and young people with SEND should work together to respond pragmatically and flexibly to each child or young person’s needs. The government has introduced new legislation requiring local authorities to use their reasonable endeavours to ensure that provision continues to be available to meet children’s education, health and care needs, and prioritise their efforts to support those with the most complex needs.
Agreed changes in, or reductions to, your child’s provision during this outbreak will not be considered as permanent changes to what your child needs in their EHCP.
If the EHCP process has started for your child, where possible we will endeavour to continue the usual process, although it is likely that timelines for completion will be longer than usual. You should be kept informed of what is happening for your child and any delays in process. We hope that you will understand the challenging circumstances we are currently in.
If you are worried about your child or the support they are receiving speak to your child’s school or SEND Caseworker or other relevant professionals involved in your child’s care.
They will work with you to identify the best way to support your child in these
- Self-referrals from families can go to LCSS (or MASH if immediate)
- If you think you have low-level safeguarding concerns (those that are a 1 or 2 on the Threshold of Needs , pg.10) you can call LCSS
- Immediate concerns must be reported to MASH on 0345 050 7666.