I know that many families are worried about the COVID-19 coronavirus and the impact it will have on their children with special educational needs, disabilities and complex health conditions. I want to reassure you that we are working closely with our partners in local schools, residential schools and other education providers to understand their current situations and to plan for potential school and residential unit closures as they arise. This includes planning for the needs of individual children who will not be in school and/or able to stay in their residential placement. The current Government and Public Health England advice is that schools should close except for the children of key workers, vulnerable children, and children with special educational needs and disabilities supported through an Education, Health and Care Plan; however, I know that some parents and carers have made the decision to keep their children away from school because of their existing medical conditions. We will contact parents and carers directly on a priority basis (based on their child's assessed health and social care needs) to discuss the support available them child as and when we become aware of school and residential unit closures or other changes to their provision. As you will appreciate, our staff teams are incredibly busy at this time. We are in the process of re-tasking staff from their current roles to support essential services to continue. Please support us by only contacting us if it is necessary; this will allow staff to focus on those vulnerable children and families who most need our help and support.
It is our absolute priority to maintain our safeguarding and social care services, as well as the other essential services that children, parents and carers rely on. Although we will need to close or reduce some of our services, we are working hard to maintain our short break care and family support services for children with special educational needs, disabilities and complex health needs. We are currently working with our in-house teams, commissioned services and voluntary sector partners to maintain and extend our offer in this area, as I know that this will give vital support to parents and carers when there are closures to schools and residential units.
Director of Children's Services
Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames &
London Borough of Richmond upon Thames
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