To help us support you and feed-back your concerns to the Local Authority Our Voice recently ran a survey to find out about parent/carers' biggest concerns during this difficult time. We focused on the issues around supporting your child's mental and emotional health and wellbeing and looking after your own mental health needs.
We had a great response to the survey, with some really revealing responses, showing how much pressure parents are under at this time. You can see a summary of the survey results here.
We have shared this report with key Department Heads at the Local Authority and Health, and are now using this as a basis for discussions on what they could be doing to support employees. It will also form a basis for our own planning on what we should do over the next 3 or 4 months.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond.
Our Voice has been flagging to the LA that parents and carers have particular concerns about the impact of the current lockdown on children with SEND who are due to transition to a new educational establishment this year (or leave education entirely), in many cases after the disruption of a prolonged absence from school, and potentially without a reasonable opportunity to achieve any kind of closure regarding their existing school. We were pleased to give parents' input (along with SENDIASS) to the Local Authority on parents' views and concerns about this issue.
This information was fed into guidance which has now been issued to schools across the Borough
Following our videoconference for parents and carers last week, we have put together a Q&A document, covering the questions that you raised. We had a very useful conversation with representatives of Educational Psychology, Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Social and Emotional Mental Health, Joint Service for Disabled Children, and Durants school (Behaviour lead).
The Q&A summarises our discussions about the questions you raised covering:
- Supporting your child's learning at home
- Emotion and behaviour (including challenging behaviour)
- Support for mental health issues - yours and your child's
We have also included links to a range of other resources and websites on these issues.
We will be working with a team drawn from EPS, CAMHS, SEMH, JSDC/Cheviots and Durants to look at what other support could be provided during this time, and had our first (virtual) meeting yesterday. We are using the results from our survey on your biggest concerns to inform our thinking so please do complete the survey if you haven't already had time to do so - it should take you less than 5 minutes.
Online safety for children is particularly important at this time when many children will be spending extra time on electronic devices at home.
Parents often feel that they don't know enough about online safety and it can be difficult to know where to find the best reliable information - particularly information tailored to children with special needs and disabilities.
Enfield Schools and Children's Services have kindly helped us to put together this list of useful sources of information including both SEND specific and general guidance and covering a wide range of topics from general internet safety to cyber-bullying.
To help parents explain the current situation to children and young people, or individuals with Learning Difficulties a number of resources have been produced which you may find helpful.
General guidance explaining what Coronavirus is and what we need to do - child-friendly guides include:
- this one (available in a variety of languages including Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and French, Polish and Turkish)
- easy-read version like this one from the Down's Syndrome Association,
- Easy -Read guide from Mencap.
- Easy Read information from Public Health England
Information about why schools have closed and the importance of staying at home and social distancing, useful child-friendly explanations in graphic format.
Answering questions from your child:
Guidance on Coronavirus is available (from Doctors of the World) in the following languages:
Talking to your child about Coronovirus - this useful explanation tool is aimed at younger children and is available in English, Spanish, Italian, Portugese, Portugese Brazilian, French, Polish, Hebrew, Indonesian, German, Turkish, Russian, Egyptian Arabic, Arabic, Romanian, Hungarian, Greek, Danish, Serbian and Welsh.
The Spring 2020 edition of our newsletter has just been printed and will be distributed via schools shortly, as well as being available in selected libraries, colleges and Doctors' surgeries.
We have a packed edition with news about:
- Our recent events including family events and our Parents' Conference in November 2019.
- Updates from the Joint Services for Disabled Children and other services.
- Articles on topics like the 'Moving on' programme, Mental Capacity issues for young people with SEND, Hydrotherapy and GP Annual Health checks.
- Information about things to do locally.
You can read the newsletter here.
Our Voice has today signed the 'Enfield Declaration' - a request for the government to consider fairer funding for our Borough. The declaration has been created by the Over-50s Forum, to draw attention to the under-funding of the Borough of Enfield.
Our Voice represents parents and carers of children and young people with disabilities and special needs - some of the most vulnerable individuals in our society, and who have been disproportionately affecting by funding cuts, and we, therefore, felt it was important to lend our support to this plea for fairer funding.
You can read the full wording of the declaration here.
The fourth Our Voice 'Meet the SEND Heads' Parents' Conference took place on Thursday 28th November 2019. Below are the presentations and handouts, and a summary of the Q&A panel session.
Inclusive Activities in Enfield workshop (AccessAble presentation)
We are looking forward to welcoming Parents and Carers to our Meet the SEND Heads Parents Conference next week on Thursday 28th November. The event is now almost full, so if you have not already booked, please book as soon as possible.
You can see the full agenda here.
Question and Answer panel session
The Q&A panel session with the SEND Heads is at the heart of our conference. See our full list of panel members.
Parents and carers attending the event are invited to send any questions for the panel in advance. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday 26th November at the latest. Although we will accept new questions on the day (time permitting) priority will be given to any questions submitted in advance.
You might want to have a look at the updates from the different service areas below when thinking about your questions.
Updates from Local Authority and Health
- Update on outstanding questions from Parents' Conference February 2019
- Joint Service for Disabled Children
- SEND Services
- Integrated Learning Disabilities Service
- Health (covering Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language, Dietetics, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, Physiotherapy and Complex Nursing).
- Educational Psychology Service
- Travel Assistance