Sendiass FAQ during COVID-19

COVID-19- Questions and Answers

Updated 10 December 2020

Below are some of the questions that we’re hearing from parents and carers concerning the COVID-19 outbreak. We have done our best to offer answers, but the situation is changing daily. We will update this information as and when we know more.


Government Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 states: Shielding is currently paused, It is important that children attend school for their education, wellbeing, mental health and long-term development.

School transport continues with protective measures in place to reduce the risk of transmission. More information can be found in Government Guidance Transport to school and other places of education: 2020 to 2021

The temporary changes to the law on EHC needs assessments and plans have now expired. All timescales should, therefore, now be met.

The temporary changes to the law on EHC needs assessments and plans have now expired. All timescales for the annual review process should, therefore, now be met. Some annual review meetings may take place virtually to reduce the risk of transmission.

Exams and testing are due to go ahead in 2022.

The Department for Education has updated its article Exams in 2022- Everything you need to know (opens in a new window) to reflect the publication of contingency plans in the event that exams cannot go ahead in 2022.

Most children are back in school but there still may be periods of home learning due to self-isolation. If this is the case schools are expected to provide remote education. This might look different depending on the age of the child and the school that they attend. If you have concerns about this, you can talk to your child’s teacher(s) about how you can adjust things for your child to support their learning.

Please see our home learning tips and resources page.

Public Health England have released Guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak (opens in a new window) and Young Minds have released these tips, advice and guidance on supporting your mental health during the pandemic (opens in a new window)

Our Health and Well- being Resources page also has information on support that can be accessed locally and our Managing Children’s Anxieties page also has some tips about talking to children and young people about coronavirus.

Yes, the SEND Tribunal has confirmed that hearings will be on paper or by telephone (and, where the technology permits, by video).

The Tribunal have asked families not to call the Tribunal until 2 days before hearings if they haven’t heard anything as, like every public service, they are affected by staff shortages as a result of COVID-19.

A barrister from Landmark Chambers has written a blog about his experiences of a video hearing and a SENDIASS advisor has written some tips for parents based on their experience of a video hearing:

Further guidance on joining telephone and video hearings

  • Check the link to access the hearing in plenty of time, as links may change
  • Make sure that you have your microphone and camera on
  • A member of the Tribunal team checks everyone in and checks that they can be seen and heard clearly
  • On the left-hand side of the screen there is a list of who is logged in and a live chat where messages can be sent throughout the hearing
  • A phone number is displayed in this live chat, if your microphone fails, you leave the camera on and phone the number for the audio
  • It is important to have your microphone muted throughout the hearing; you only unmute when it is your turn to speak
  • The hearing was run by the Judge in the same way as if we were in court
  • There are regular breaks, at this point you disconnect and are given a time to reconnect, you do this in the same way as when you initially connected
  • As you re-connect, you are asked for a pin number, you do not need to enter anything, the Tribunal can see that you are waiting in the 'lobby' and will allow you to re-join
  • SENDIASS advisors usually confer with parents in court, this is still possible via email throughout and telephone conversations during the breaks
  • If you haven’t got the bundle or paperwork printed off, I suggest having all the documents open at the bottom of your screen so you can keep opening them when needed

You can also read our Guide to Virtual Meetings

Most children are now back at school, however, they may still experience periods of home learning due to self-isolation and this may make returning to school again afterwards challenging. We have put together some tips and information to help you to prepare your child for their return to school.

If your child or young person is anxious about going to school due to the pandemic speak to your child’s school about the support that can be put in place.

To find out about support visit Herefordshire coronavirus update page (opens in a new window).

Worcestershire have the Here 2 Help website (opens in a new window) set up specifically to support people during the COVID-19 outbreak. This website covers all aspects of support. For SEND specific information and advice there is also a COVID-19 specific support page on the Worcestershire Local Offer (opens in a new window). 

For further information regarding SEND during the COVID-19 outbreak Contact for families with disabled children, The Council for Disabled Children and IPSEA all have information, support and guidance on their websites.

If you have further questions regarding SEND you can contact us at HW SENDIASS to speak to one of our advisors. 

The temporary changes to the law on EHC needs assessments and plans have now expired. All support specified within an EHCP should therefore now be provided and all timescales for reviews should be met.

See the CAMHS website for information on how the CAMHS service is operating in Worcestershire. You can contact CAMHS Herefordshire to discuss how they are delivering their service during the COVID-19 outbreak.

You can contact the Umbrella Pathway (opens in a new window) to discuss how they are delivering their service during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Over the phone consultations are available from your GP. You can collect medication from pharmacies, and they are also able to deliver if necessary.

Schools should ensure that appropriate support is made available for pupils with SEND, this includes enabling specialist staff from outside the school to work with pupils. You can Contact your child’s school, provider or Local Authority to discuss how their programmes will be delivered.

Contact your caseworker at the Local Authority to ask for guidance. In the absence of a physical school visit you can look at websites and read Ofsted information online.