Schools, education and childcare
We are now in a national lockdown. Full restrictions can be found on GOV.UK.
Our Children’s Centres are all closed at the moment, but the Families Plus Team 0-5 are continuing to work from home. The council and local early year help providers have been sharing information and advice for parents with children under the age of 5 via their new South Gloucestershire Children’s Centres Facebook page.
Early years settings
Many of South Gloucestershire’s Early Years settings remained open during the first lockdown to provide places for children of key workers, vulnerable children and those with an EHCP.
From 1 June all nursery, pre-school and childminders were asked by the government to re-open. Staff have worked very hard to make sure careful plans, procedures and risk assessments are in place to offer a safe and fun time for the children whilst still closely observing social distancing and hygiene levels.
Your child’s setting will have been in contact with you to discuss whether your child could return. Not all children are able to do so due to the strict measures that must be in place to reduce numbers and create and maintain the bubbles. If your child has not been able to return, the setting can provide you with lots of fun home learning resources which have been developed by the South Glos Early Years’ Service.
Contact your child’s setting to check on their latest developments and plans.
Schools and educational settings
Following the Government announcement on Monday 4 January, primary and secondary schools are closed from 5 January 2021 for all but vulnerable and key worker children. Nurseries are not required to close. Contact your childcare provider for further information.
Keeping safe at school and educational settings
Details of the ways in which schools are working including the practical measures in place, safe and active travel, Covid-19 advice and resources for schools and educational settings can be found on our keeping safe at school and educational settings page.
Remote learning offer
All schools and colleges have plans in place for providing remote education as and when needed. This means that if your child needs to stay at home, due to shielding or self-isolation, their school or college will support them to continue learning. If your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) then the school will discuss the remote learning provision with you as this will need to be co-produced. You can read more in the government guidance: What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges in the autumn term.
Free school meals
We are continuing to liaise with our schools to ensure that pupils entitled to free school meals are accessing them.
Children entitled to free school meals will still receive them if they are self-isolating and schools will have their own systems in place.
If you need to know more about free school meals in term time or during the school holidays contact your school direct. You can read more about free school meals in the guidance on the GOV.UK website.
Transport to school
If you are receiving assistance with the cost of home to school transport provided by the council and have any issues or concerns about your current travel arrangements for your child, email our Integrated Transport team at email@example.com.
If during the course of the school day a ‘bubble’ or class were to close because of a Covid confirmed case, in order to reduce any spread of infection, you will be asked to collect your child or young person from school.
Changes to school admissions
GCSE and A level exams
The government announced that both GCSE and A level examinations were to be cancelled in the Summer Term 2020.
To find out more about GCSE and A level results you can read the following news articles:
We will also want to recognise and share in the success of our students who will be receiving their BTEC results and are hoping that these will be awarded shortly, we appreciate that this remains an anxious wait for some who have yet to receive their results.
In terms of our own role in supporting schools, our Education, Learning and Skills team are seeing their role in supportive communications as vital.
Schools are receiving a regular Education Newsletter that provides the most up to date guidance, shares information about effective resources and provides a one stop shop for all education matters in relation to Covid-19. We also provide regular email updates and further guidance materials as appropriate.
Integra Schools and South Gloucestershire Council have launched a new home learning online resource to support parents, carers and teachers.
This resource brings together a range of free and easy to access online activities and learning for children of all ages, and is clearly grouped into subjects and topics, such as English and Maths.
The online resource all provides links to support the pupil health and wellbeing, which is really important at this time.
This will be an ongoing resource that will be continually updated.
Mental health and wellbeing
It’s natural to feel anxious during times of uncertainty. Thinking about your child’s mental health and helping them to develop their ability to cope is one of the most important things you can do.
How to talk to children about the coronavirus
As the coronavirus situation develops it is understandable that children are likely to be asking lots of questions. Sometimes it can be difficult to know how to approach discussions in an honest and age appropriate way.
The links below include tips and further information, on how to talk to children about the coronavirus.
Community Children’s Health Partnership (CCHP)
Visit the Community Children’s Health Partnership website to check the details of service changes for a range of CCHP services.
A dedicated telephone advice and information service is available for families currently receiving care from Community Children’s Health Partnership (CCHP) teams. For the latest information check the Community Children’s Health Partnership website and their Covid-19 page.
Support for families
If you have children under 18, you may well be finding that the restrictions around Covid-19 are making day-to-day life for your family more difficult at times. If you have any questions or concerns, there is a lot of helpful information on the Find information for adults, children and families website.
We are adapting the way we are working to ensure that the most vulnerable children are getting the help they need. Some families may feel they are really struggling and reaching their ‘tipping point’, this could include experiencing more arguments between family members who have less opportunity to find time or space to themselves. If the Covid-19 measures have affected family income, this is also likely to add to the pressure.
We may find that you can be supported by one of our partner agencies, but we may also decide with you that you would benefit from a conversation with one of our team to help you work out some effective solutions for your family.
If you have a safeguarding concern call us on 01454 866000. More information about safeguarding is available on the South Gloucestershire Children Partnership website. Our teams will be busy and we will need to prioritise help to the most vulnerable during this period.