These FAQs will be updated regularly with the latest information.
It is important that as many children as possible, including children with Education Health and Care (EHC) Plans, remain at home during this time in order to help protect them and slow down the spread of the virus.
For a small number of children, headteachers have undertaken a risk assessment and, in discussion with parents, identified that school is the best place for them. We are regularly monitoring the situation and will provide updates as and when the situation changes.
What help and advice can I get during this time?
Our teams are offering a range of help and advice to families during this time. This includes helplines offering support, advice on working with your child at home and ideas and tips for activities. Visit our Access help and support page for details of all the ways we can help.
When can my child return to school? Is it right that children with EHCPs can be in some schools after Easter?
At this time, the government is advising that children are safest at home, including children with EHCPs. The situation is being reviewed daily.
How do I contact our local hub for help?
Please contact your school.
Home to school transport
Is the home to school transport going to continue running?
Yes, home to school transport is continuing as usual for the small number of children who are currently attending school. Travel Assist is coordinating the transport need on a daily basis in liaison with the schools and operators. Schools should email all requests for the next day to firstname.lastname@example.org by 2pm if possible.
How can you make sure our children are ‘social distancing’ when they are on the bus and do the staff have personal protective equipment (PPE)?
We are ensuring social distancing on all vehicles by limiting the number of children on each vehicle and providing additional vehicles and guides when needed. Staff are being provided with mask and gowns and hand sanitiser is available on each vehicle. After each service, every vehicle is subject to an enhanced cleaning regime.
How can I contact the Travel Assist service?
Please note that the main telephone number for Travel Assist (0121 303 4955) is currently out of service. During the lockdown period, we have set up three temporary phone numbers for parents to contact the Travel Assist service
Monday to Friday:
7.00am – 10.30am: Call 0121 464 9137
10.30am – 2pm: Call 0121 675 8633
2pm – 5.30 pm: Call 0121 303 3457
Education Health and Care (EHC) Plans
How will this affect my child’s EHC plan?
We’re also working hard to keep the EHC plan process moving. Assessments for an EHC plan may look different as it becomes more difficult to do our work face-to-face. We may need to do more by telephone or video calls where possible and our decision-making panels are moving to online meetings. We will continue to review this.
Support for families of children with autism
How can I help my child’s anxiety and understanding about Coronavirus?
A social story can help your child to understand the situation and the new expectations. Some calming strategies can also help, for example, mindfulness, deep breathing, gentle exercise. Reduce the number of negative stories they access on social media and TV and give them opportunities to talk about how they are feeling.
How can I get my child to do their school work at home?
Develop a new routine which includes time for learning. If possible, set up an area in the home that is for learning only. Learning should not just include school work but also other fun activities that can incorporate learning, such as cooking, gardening or a treasure hunt.
Create a visual timetable that shows when school work will take place and when they can do their fun activities and exercise. Find out more tips and advice
What resources can I use at home to help my child?
Ask your school or Communication and Autism Team worker for details of resources to support your child. Check out our free online resources
How can I help my child to manage new routines?
Introduce one new routine at a time so it is not too overwhelming for you and your child. Where possible, give your child a choice for their daily exercise and how they can access areas of special interests, for example watching YouTube clips of their favourite outing, role play activities at home or virtual tours of museums and places of interest.
Be kind to yourself – there may be times where you need to be flexible or when your child may not want to engage.
How do I manage my child’s behaviour at home?
Behaviour is likely to be a form of communication as your child is out of routine and this may cause anxiety. It is important to understand your child’s autism and how it affects them. Incorporating a strong visual routine and focusing on positive behaviour can be a way forward. Think about what they are trying to communicate through their behaviour; what can be put in place to distract from the negative choices; and focus as much as possible on the positives. You can find more advice here
What support will my child get when they return to school or to a new setting?
Your child’s school or new setting may be able to offer support. Look at their website and contact them to ask specific questions around support. Your Communication and Autism Team worker will also be able to offer support. Further information will be shared when we know when the schools will reopen.
You can find more frequently asked questions in the Government’s guidance on vulnerable children and young people