Skip to main content
Your shortlist 0 What's on

Coronavirus: Information for parents and carers of children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND)

Local Offer logo

Helpful information for parents and carers with a children with special educational needs and/or disabilities during the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

    Supporting Children and Young People After a Frightening Event

We are all saddened by the terrible event that took place on Sunday in Bugs Bottom Emmer Green a park in Reading. Some of our community may have been affected by this news. Some of your children will have seen the news, social media or heard people talking about the incident, and some may have questions about it or worries they would like to talk about.

We thought it would be helpful to share some information about speaking to your child / children about this traumatic event and also to include information on where to seek more support if this is needed.

Please read our supporting children and young people after a frightening event leaflet to help you with this process.

Kooth online counselling service offers emotional and mental health support for children and young people aged between 11 – 24 years and is available up to 10pm every day.

Visit the Kooth website for further information.

    Covid-19 vaccine

Who gets the Covid-19 vaccine first

Read the Public Health England Easy Read guide to the Covid-19 vaccine.

Photosymbols has produced this easy read poster and audio version on who gets the Covid-19 vaccine first, this can be downloaded from the Keep Safe website. Further easy read and audios relating to the coronavirus and health matters can also be found on the Keep Safe website.

Visit the GOV.UK website to read the latest advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on the groups that should be prioritised for vaccination.

Unpaid carers

On the 30 December the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JVCI) revised it recommendations in relation to unpaid carers. Visit the Contact for Family website for further information.

Roll out of the COVID-19 vaccination in Berkshire West

Visit the NHS Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group website for information on the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccination in the Berkshire West.

Watch the NHS England and NHS Improvement film on vaccinations for people with a learning disability and autistic people.

The film describes what is a vaccine is, how vaccines are made, why you should get a vaccine, whether a vaccine make you ill and how to decide whether to have a vaccine.

    Education: information for parents and carers

Guidance for parents and carers

The UK Government have produced guidance information for parents and carers on:

Further information can also be found on the education and childcare section of the GOV.UK website

For the latest updates on schools opening visit our news centre websites and our covid-19 school guidance web page.

Returning to school

The Schudio TV website has an online course that you can enrol on for free that gives practical support and resources to prepare a children with special educational needs and disabilities for going back to school.

Autism Berkshire, NHS Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group and Parenting Special Children have put together top tips to help support Autistic and ADHD children returning to school September 2020.

Go to the National Autistic Society website for helpful information on preparing your child for the return to school and introducing the changes in school.

The Well Child website has a back to school checklist that can be downloaded and 

The contact for families website has helpful information and advice on preparing your child to return to school  in autumn and answers to common concerns.

The Royal College of Occupational Therapists website has 'Top Tips' for parent/carers worried about their child returning to school and helpful information about schools re-opening for parents and carers.

Face coverings when travelling to school

Face coverings are a legal requirement for students on public transport.

Face coverings in secondary school and college

Read the latest government advice on wearing facemasks in an educational setting on the GOV.UK website.

Home learning

The UK Government have developed a list of homes learning SEND resources with a focus on accessibility and inclusivity. Visit the GOV.UK website for a list of these resources.

For further online resources and tools to support your child's learning visit our:

Guidance for schools and educational settings

Visit the UK Government website for information and guidance about schools and educational settings opening

Further information

Go to the IPSEA website for a list of frequently asked questions on the how the COVID-19 measures will affect children and young people with special educational needs (SEN).

For further information visit our:

    Special educational needs and disabilities updates Autumn Term 2020

    Use of Personal Assistants, Direct Payment Workers and Agencies during COVID-19

Read our guidance on the use of Personal Assistants, Direct Payment workers and agencies during COVID-19. Covering the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), practical considerations and other advice so that short breaks undertaken in this way can happen safely.

    Useful resources for parents and carers

Preparing your child to go back to school

The Schudio TV website has an online course that you can enrol on for free that gives practical support and resources to prepare a children with special educational needs and disabilities for going back to school.

The Well Child website has a back to school checklist that can be downloaded and 

The contact for families website has helpful information and advice on preparing your child to return to school  in autumn and answers to common concerns.

The Royal College of Occupational Therapists website has 'Top Tips' for parent/carers worried about their child returning to school and helpful information about schools re-opening for parents and carers.

Resources for people with learning disabilities

The Learning Disabilities Professional Senate have developed two resources for people with learning disabilities:

Watch the East London NHS Foundation Trust video on supporting Neurodiverse children in challenging times such as during self-isolation

Mencap have produced a number of helpful easy read guides around the coronavirus including what may happen if you go into hospital. These can be download from the Mencap website.

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation has developed a guide with tips and advice for parents and carers who are looking after a child or adult with serve learning disabilities at home during the COVID-19.

Read the supporting children and adults with severe learning disabilities at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

The University of Glasgow with assistance from colleagues at the Universities of Lancaster and Warwick have developed a series of self help booklets to support people who have learning disabilities to express their feelings. The guides can be downloaded from the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD) website.

Helpful resources for mental health wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown

Wokingham Borough Educational Psychology Service has put together some wellbeing tips for families in their information sheet called Coronavirus: supporting children's wellbeing.

The universities of Oxford and Reading have put together a helpful information guide for parents and carers to help support children and young people with worries about COVID-19.

West Berkshire CCG have produced some resource to help support children and young peoples mental health:

Contact for families with disabled children have adaped the support they offer to families during the coronavirus outbreak, visit their COVID -19 Information web pages for further information.

The Well child website has a range of useful information and advice for parents and carers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Free online counselling

Kooth is a free online counselling and emotional well-being support service providing young people aged 11-18 years (up to 19th birthday) in Wokingham with a safe and secure means of accessing support with their emotional health and wellbeing needs from a professional team of qualified counsellors.

On Kooth you can:

  • Chat to our friendly counsellors
  • Read articles written by young people
  • Get support from the Kooth community
  • Write in a daily journal

For further information and how to access the service go to the Kooth website.

Useful websites

Website with useful information, advice and resources:

Further information

Go to our information web page for further resources and guidance on: 

Health resources

The NHS has put together a range of resources about Coronavirus in accessible formats, including information in an easy read, picture vocabulary, videos, British Sign Language, podcasts and Makaton

To access these resources visit the NHS Health Education England Library and knowledge services website.

Visit the Keep Safe website for helpful easy read information on matters related to coronavirus, the covid-19 vaccine, support bubble, getting help if you are feeling unwell, getting a covid test and more. 

    Activities and online groups

Online clubs

The Autism Group

Are helping young people to continue to enjoy their special interest group with a range of virtual experiences to keep them connected during the lock down. For futher information go to the Special Interest Groups - COVID-19 Temporary Services

The Ark

Hold Stay Up Late zoom video chats, for further details contact The Ark via email: info@theark.org.uk

For further details about the Stay Up Late national campaign go to The Ark website

Challengers

Are holding virtual Saturday sessions on their YouTube channel.

Outdoor activities

Camp Mohawk

Providing some online support through zoom meetings with young people.

Camp Mohawk is hoping to open to our existing registered families and groups, in a limited capacity, from the 27 July 2020.

See Camp Mohawk Facebook page for updates.

Thames Valley Adventure Playground (TVAP)

Is open again, families are required to pre-book their sessions and make their contribution by phone.

To book phone: 01628 628599

Visit the TVAP website for further information.

Swings and Smiles

Garden family play - Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Swings and Smiles is open to their existing registered families. To access the garden family play sessions email office@swingsandsmiles.co.uk

Help children stay active at home

The following websites have ideas to help keep disabled children and young people active:

Education programmes

  • The CBBC channel will have a three-hour block of primary school programmes from 9am. This will include programmes from BBC Live Lessons and BBC Bitesize Daily as well as Our School, Celebrity Supply Teacher, Horrible Histories and Operation Ouch
  • BBC Two will run at least two hours worth of educational programming for secondary students every weekday, which will include adaptations of Shakespeare plays as well as science and history programmes
  • Dr Chris and Dr Xand online science lessons
  • Oak National Academy - Virtual School Library with popular children's author or illustrator provide with free books, exclusive videos and their top three recommended reads

Free online counselling

Kooth is a free online counselling and emotional well-being support service providing young people aged 11-18 years (up to 19th birthday) in Wokingham with a safe and secure means of accessing support with their emotional health and wellbeing needs from a professional team of qualified counsellors.

On Kooth you can:

  • Chat to our friendly counsellors
  • Read articles written by young people
  • Get support from the Kooth community
  • Write in a daily journal

For further information and how to access the service go to the Kooth website.

Find out how Kooth can help you by watching the video below 

Kooth - Free, safe and anonymous online support for young people from XenZone on Vimeo.

Watch the Kooth Chat video

Kooth - Chat from XenZone on Vimeo.

    Support for parents and carers

Wokingham community response - support to get food and medication

If you need assistance with foods and medicines if you are reducing social contacts or shielding please contact the Wokingham Borough Community Response service through the Citzens Advice Wokingham website or

Call: 0300 330 1189 or

Email: admin@citizensadvicewokingham.org.uk

Further information can be found on the Wokingham Borough Community Response to COVID-19 web page.

Co-op introduces gift card scheme for vulnerable customers

The Co-op supermarket group has launched a gift card scheme for those shielding or self-isolating and reliant on others to do their shopping or who are volunteering to help someone they know, including as part of a local support group.

By calling a dedicated Co-op phone line on 0800 029 4592,  a gift card can be purchase which can be shared with friends, neighbours or volunteers to pay for shopping in their local Co-op store.

Co-op Health app - repeat prescriptions delivered to your home for people age 16+

The Co-op Health app connects people securely to their GP so they can automatically view and order their medications from their mobile phone.  Home delivery is at no extra cost to them or the NHS.

To get a repeat prescriptions from Co-op Health, the person must:

  • be 16 or over
  • be registered with a GP in England
  • have medication that’s on a repeat prescription
  • have a delivery address in the UK or be able to collect your medication from a pharmacy in England 

Visit the NHS website for further information.

School Nurse Advice and Support Line 

Berkshire Healthcare is launching a new school nursing advice and support line for children, young people and their families, to offer health advice and referral into the service for on-going support if needed. The line will be available from 9am until 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.

You can access this service by dialing 0118 931 2111 and selecting ‘Option 4’ to speak to a School Nurse from our team.

Local carer support services

Wokingham SEND Voices

Visit the Wokingham Parent Carer forum SEND Voices website for information, advice and resources during the COVID-19 outbreak. You can also keep update to date via the SEND Voices Facebook page.

The Wokingham SEND Voices website also has a helpful COVID-19 quick reference guide for Wokingham Borough SEND families with useful information and resources.

Dingley Promise

Read the Dingley Promise leaflet to find out what support Dingley Promise can offer to families during the coronavirus outbreak who have a child aged between 0 and 5.

Further support information can be found on the Dingley Promise website.

Parenting Special Children

Parenting Special Children hold Dads and Male Carers Support Groups via Zoom.

To join the group and to find out more information go to the Parenting Special Children website.

ASD Family Help

ASD Family Help are keeping in touch via their Facebook page. You can also call, text or email the service.

Autism Berkshire

Autism Berkshire are holding online support groups, visit the Autism Berkshire website to register your interest in joining a group. You can also keep in touch via Facebook and Twitter.

Me2 Club

The Me2 Club team members are availble to contact through their email addresses and mobile phones numbers, visit their website for details. Me2 also has a Facebook Parent Forum page for local families to support each other.

Promise Inclusion

The Promise Inclusion family liaison service is available to support families during these challenging times. Read the Promise Inclusion leaflet to for further information and contact details.

Home-start

Home-start launching a new remote family support service. They are now taking referrals for remote support, by digital means, for families who are struggling to cope during the toughest of times.

Telephone: 0118 988 8025

Email: admin@home-startwd.org.uk

Website: Home-start Wokingham District

Wiggle Worms

Telephone support from family worker for families of children 0-5 with a diagnosis of ASD or waiting for an assessment. Contact service by phone:

  • Brambles: 07900 071 017
  • Ambleside: 0118 908 8152

Useful websites

The Carers UK website has guidance for carers on being prepared and protecting someone you care for.

The Special Needs Jungle website has helpful information on the coronavirus and the SEND law as well as other information and guidance.

The Council for Disabled Children website has useful information on what the Coronavirus Act 2020 mean for children and young people with SEND.

Disabled Children's Partnership website has helpful resources and information.

Contact for families with disabled children have a Listening ear service which is a 1:1 confidential phone appointment line with a family support adviser for parents during the coronavirus outbreak.

Caring for someone over 18

Find out about support through The Wokingham Carers Hub (0118 324 7333), run by TuVida on behalf of Wokingham Borough Council. It provides a wealth of information. Its staff are highly trained in understanding carers’ needs, providing support, signposting you in the right direction as well as a host of online help groups and home visits.

The hidden carers free helpline (0800 133 7851), run by East Berkshire and Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Groups together with Signal4Carers, has been extended until the end of December. This is for those of you with caring responsibilities, but don’t recognise yourselves as a carer, so may be unaware there is help available. 

You can also request an assessment in your own right if you’re caring for someone aged 18 or over by completing our online carers self-assessment.

Guidance for carers

Go to the UK Government website to read guidance from the Government for those who provide unpaid care to friends and family.

The Carers UK website has guidance for carers on being prepared and protecting someone you care for.

Read the Council for Disabled Children family support information page for information about the new government restrictions including information about what the new guidance means for families and for local authorities and short breaks providers. 

Childcare Bubbles

Go to the UK Government website to find out how you can get informal childcare for children aged 13 or under from friends and family you do not live with.

National free school meals voucher scheme

The National Free School Meals Voucher scheme runs for four weeks, from 18 January - 12 February 2021. For parents and carers who would like to know more about the scheme visit the Edenred website for an overview.

Read Edenred guide to use the free school meals vouchers.

    Online training for parents and carers

Digley Promise - children under 5

Read the Dingley Promise leaflet to find out what support Dingley Promise can offer to families during the school closures who have a child aged between 0 and 5.

Further support information can be found on the Dingley Promise website.

Autism Berkshire

Autism Berkshire are running online benefit advice workshops and telephone help and support service: 

  • Get help from our family support team over the summer holiday period through Autism Berkshire helpline service and virtual home visits.
  • Benefit workshps include Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for those aged 16 and above and their parents and carers, Universal Credit and Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) and DLA (Disability Living Allowance)

For dates of workshops and groups and how to register to take part, go to the Autism Berkshire coronavirus web page.

Parenting Special Children

Parenting special children are running online Zoom workshops and events:

  • Understanding / supporting children's behaviour during the COVID-19 lockdown
  • Managing the challenges of Autism during the pandemic
  • Managing anxiety in children with insecure attachments
  • Managing the challenges of ADHD during the pandemic
  • Dads and Male Carers Support Group
  • Supporting recovery of children with attachment issues
  • Sleep tips for children and young people age 8+

For dates and to book a place your place visit the Parenting Special Children website

The Autism Group

TAG Talk is on-line interactive training aimed at giving parents a little insight into how autism might affect their young person.

For further information go to the autism group website calendar.

Contact for families with disabled children

Contact have adaped their workshops to be online, visit their website for further information.

    Face covering and exemption card

Face coverings

Read photo symbols easy read guide to wearing a face covering to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

The World Health Organisation has producted a leaflet on how to wear a a medical face mask safely.

See a guide by Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust and the Community Infection Prevention and Control service on the dos and don't when wearing a face mask.

People who do not have to wear a face covering

Go to the UK Government website for:

Mask alert cards and medical alert cards

Carers and essential companions can download an alert card from the SEDS website explaining that they cannot wear a face mask because they are providing assistance to, someone who relies on lip reading to communicate. Medical alert cards are also available to download to help people with a disability or medical condition explain why they are unable to wear a mask or face covering.

Hidden Disabilities Sunflower 

The Hidden Disabilities sunflower design is recongnised by many businesses and organisation. It indicates to people that you need additional support, help or a little more time.

The hidden disabilities website has sunflower face masks, face snood, face shields, hand sanitiser bottle and neoprene sleeves to purchase via their online store. 

Please give me space’ social distancing cards or badges 

If you have concerns about social distancing you can go to the UK Government website and download a badge or card that lets others around you know that they need to pay attention and give you space.

Clear face masks

The UK Government announced that 250,000 clear face masks are to be delivered to frontline NHS and social care workers to support better care for people who use lip-reading and facial expressions to communicate.

For further information read the UK Governments press release.

    Shielding and self-isolating

    Hospital Communication Passport and Supporting Resources

The charity Include Me Too have produced a COVID-19 resource pack to help families prepare for admission to hospital. The pack includes:

  • COVID-19 hospital communication passport
  • COVID-19 history sheet

These documents can be download from the Include Me Too website, along with their all about me communication passport.

    Funding for low income families to support children with complex needs

On the 19 May the UK Government announced a multi-million-pound settlement for Family Fund.

Families with children that have complex needs and disabilities will receive grants for vital equipment to make their lives easier while implementing social distancing measures, including computers, specialist equipment and educational toys.

Read the full UK Governments press release on the GOV.UK website.

For further details on applying for the grant visit the Family Fund website.

Useful documents to read before completing the application form:

    Duty relating to education, health and care (EHC) plans during the coronavirus outbreak

From 1 May to 31 July 2020, section 42 of the Children and Families Act 2014 (duty to secure special educational and health care provision in accordance with EHC plan) was modified by a notice from the Secretary of State for Education issued under the Coronavirus Act 2020. During this period, local authorities and health commissioning bodies were required to use their ‘reasonable endeavours’ to discharge this duty. On 2 July the Secretary of State announced that, unless the evidence changes, he will not be issuing further national notices after 31 July to modify this duty, but will consider whether any such flexibilities may be required locally to respond to outbreaks.

For further information in relation to the modification of Section 42 of the Children and Families Act 2014 visit the UK Government website:

    The Government’s SEND review delayed

During an Education Select Committee meeting on the 16 September, the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson MP confirmed that the Government’s ongoing SEND review will now not be published until early next year.

The review was announced in September 2019 over mounting concern over children with SEND facing a “postcode lottery” for support. Read the terms of the review on the GOV.UK website, which state that it will seek actions to “boost outcomes and improve value for money… as well as improving capacity and support for families across England”.

    Out of school settings opening during the coronavirus

    Find out how our Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Services are operating during COVID-19

Find out how our special education needs and disabilities (SEND) services are operating during these unprecedented times and where to go if you require further support.

    Wokingham Borough Council - Coronavirus (CONVID-19)

    Health - Coronavirus support information and advice

Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Visit the Berkshire Healthcare NHS Children, Young People and Families service website for information on:

Read the Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust easy read guide about what you are allowed to do in the new lockdown.

Check if you have coronavirus symptoms via the NHS 111 online service

The NHS 111 online service provides a tool for checking if you have coronavirus symptoms, by asking a few questions and telling you what to do next.

Information and advice on the Coronavirus from the NHS

Go to the NHS UK website for information and advice on the Coronavirus, staying home, how to avoid catching and spreading the virus.

Find an NHS Dentist

Healthwatch Wokingham have put together an information page o their website with tips on what to do if you're facing problems finding an NHS funded dentist.

Guide for Parents and Carers - COVID-19

When your child is ill or injured it is very difficult to decide if/when to call your child’s GP, NHS 111 or go the Accident and Emergency Department (A&E). During the current situation and while the government is asking everyone to stay at home, it can be confusing to know what to do. Read the NHS guide for guidance to help you.

Health resources

The NHS has put together a range of resources about Coronavirus in accessible formats, including information in an easy read, picture vocabulary, videos, British Sign Language, podcasts and Makaton

To access these resources visit the NHS Health Education England Library and knowledge services website.

Public Health have published guidance on the Gov.UK website for households with possible coronavirus infection

Photosymbols has produced easy read posters including audio versions on health matters relating to the coronavirus pandemic. They can be downloaded from the Keep Safe website.

Co-op Health app - repeat prescriptions delivered to your home for people age 16+

The Co-op Health app connects people securely to their GP so they can automatically view and order their medications from their mobile phone.  Home delivery is at no extra cost to them or the NHS.

To get a repeat prescriptions from Co-op Health, the person must:

  • be 16 or over
  • be registered with a GP in England
  • have medication that’s on a repeat prescription
  • have a delivery address in the UK or be able to collect your medication from a pharmacy in England 

Visit the NHS website for further information.

    Coronavirus (COVID-19): UK Government response

GOV.UK - Guidance and support

Go to the UK Government website for the latest information on the UK Governments response.

Childcare Bubbles

Go to the UK Government website to find out how you can get informal childcare for children aged 13 or under from friends and family you do not live with.

National free school meals voucher scheme

The National Free School Meals Voucher scheme runs for four weeks, from 18 January - 12 February 2021. For parents and carers who would like to know more about the scheme visit the Edenred website for an overview.

Read Edenred guide to use the free school meals vouchers.

Notices and Guidances

Useful notices and guidances on the GOV.UK website:

Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans

Tribunals

For the latest advice and guidance from the judiciary regarding tribunals visit the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary website.

For details about security, cleaning and social-distancing arrangements in court and tribunal buildings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, read the UK Government guidance on keeping court and tribunal buildings safe, secure and clean.

Coronavirus Act

Go to the UK Government legislation website to read the:

The Council for Disabled Children website has useful information on what the Coronavirus Act 2020 mean for children and young people with SEND.

Amended UK Government guidance 

The Government has amended the national guidance on how often people with a learning disability or autism can leave their home during the coronavirus outbreak.

Visit the UK Government frequently asked questions web page for further details.

    Training for professional and volunteers

View the local area Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) training directory for courses that are available for professionals and volunteers working with children and young people who have SEND.

    Easy Read Guide - Information for people living in a tier 4 area

Mencap have produced an easy read guide for people living in a tier 4 area.

Further guidance on what you can and cannot do in a tier 4 areas can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Services and organisations

Find support and information services, leisure activities and education services

Local Offer directory


Is there anything wrong with this page?

Wokingham Services Directory Disclaimer

The Service Directory includes information and links to third party internet websites which are controlled and maintained by others, information is provided solely for guidance and does not constitute any endorsement. Wokingham Borough Council is not responsible for the accuracy of the information on the directories and information is not provided as a recommendation of suitability or quality of service.