Local Offer - Coronavirus (Covid-19)

We recognise that children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) and their parents/carers are facing numerous challenges because of Coronavirus (Covid-19). To support you at this difficult time, we have developed this webpage to signpost you to telephone and online support that is currently available. We will continually review and update this page.

The DFE have set up a helpline for families in need of specific advice regarding education, the number for this is - 0800 046 8687  

Doncaster Council have set up a Coronavirous (Covid-19) Facebook pageDoncaster Coronavirus Facebook Page

This unprecedented period of change and disruption can be very difficult for many children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. Here are some ideas and resources to support children and young people to understand about Coronavirus (Covid-19)

National Deaf Children’s Society have set up a guidance for families’ blog post. The SignHealth Coronavirous webpage also has useful information and daily videos with advice and updates on Coronavirus in British Sign Language (BSL).

If you’re feeling socially isolated, connect to other parents via the National Autistic Society online community or get support through their Parent to Parent service. They have also created a Tips for Families document to support with speaking to children and young people with Autism and online resources available to help you deal with this difficult time.  

Council for Disabled Children have gathered a list of resources and guidance about Coronavirus to share with parent/carer’s, children & young people and practitioners Resources and Guidance

SENDIAS Service:

SENDIAS service is still operating by telephone, email and Facebook Messenger. Tribunal cases are still going ahead as planned, but will be by either telephone or paper based hearing. EHCP annual reviews and assessments are continuing by telephone and email. As a service we will be active in listening to our parents new and old and are now available 8am-8pm on Thursdays every week to be more accessible for families. During this time an officer will be available on Facebook and will answer any incoming calls. 

For further information please visit the Doncaster SENDIAS, call us on 01302 736920 or e-mail sendias@doncaster.gov.uk

Doncaster Parents Voice (DPV):

DPV service is available to support parents socially and emotionally. The service is now operating by telephone, email and Facebook. DPV will be holding 1:1 chats with their current families but this service is also available to any new families. They will be holding emotional wellbeing telephone sessions. Times and dates will vary so please check their website for further information www.doncasterparentsvoice.co.uk or join them via their Facebook page www.facebook.com/parentforumdn

DPV are holding open Facebook sessions on a Monday from 10.30 – 11.30, virtual YOUR SPACE family fun sessions on Tuesdays 6.00pm – 7.00pm and parents’ virtual Coffee mornings on Thursdays 10.30 – 11.30 as well as counselling for parents and young people

Activities and Online Learning 

On the Families Information Service website there is a Online Learning and Activities page for all children and young people, please see options below which are specifically for children with special educational needs and disabilities. 

Online Learning 

  • Sensory App House has a range of apps are available for pupils with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) or Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD). All are interactive and many do not require significant coordination abilities.
  • Visuals2go is an all-in-one app created to support people with communication and learning difficulties. For verbal and non-verbal learners.
  • Twinkl Resource Pack home learning resource pack for children with educational needs 
  • Twinkl SEN Literacy worksheets for children and young people 
  • Twinkl SEN Math worksheets for children and young people 
  • Chatterpack provides online resources for development of speech and language 


Service Updates 

Updates from different services in Doncaster and how they are still operating 

Doncaster Child and Adolescent Mental Health 

The CAMHS team can be contacted between 9am-5pm on 01302 796191. For an out of hours mental health crisis, support is available at your local Emergency Department. You can also contact the Single Point of Access on 0800 804 8999.

If someone is in immediate danger please call 999.

CAMHS team are also running telephone support sessions for children and young people who are feeling low, anxious, stressed or need help or support in managing their emotions.

These sessions run every Tuesday and Thursday between 10am and 3pm, they can also be contacted on 01302 796191 and are open to all Doncaster children and families

ASCETS Service 

The Autism and Social Communication Education and Training Service (ASCETS) is still offering support for families and schools in regards to routines, anxiety, education, etc. To access support for young people on the autism spectrum speak with the school SENCO. 

Hearing Impairment (HI) Service

For general updates from the team, look at the Support for children with a Hearing Impairment section on the Local Offer

During the COVID 19 crisis, the SEND HI Teachers of the Deaf (ToDs) (Sarah Barton, Laura Sydney, Alison Chippindale, Ben Goddard-Scanlon and Seanne Grant) and Specialist Technicians (Lisa Cain and Julie Leeson) are unable to visit your children unless it is deemed essential and cannot to be carried out remotely (e.g. a video-call) as per the Council’s latest COVID-19 guidelines for the provision of peripatetic support. During the pandemic, we have been contacting as many families as possible. In order make future communication easier (especially during these unprecedented times), we will share information via email from time to time that may be helpful.  If you choose not to be contacted, simply email us and we will remove your details from our email list.

COVID 19 PHIG Update
Download (434KB - PDF)

Equipment update:

  1. Equipment issues – contact our Service if your child’s equipment is not working – we will try to troubleshoot.
  2. For hearing tests, batteries and tubing, new mould impressions – contact DRI (or your audiology department) to book an appointment (see list below for details).
  3. Please persevere with your child’s equipment: Wearing hearing aids consistently will benefit your child in the long run, even while you are in your lovely, quiet home Vaseline or lubricant around the moulds’ edges may help to support a good seal on the ear while you wait for appointments

Doncaster Royal Infirmary Children’s Audiology Department

Tel: 01302 642763 (leave a voicemail if no one answers. If left over the weekend, someone will get back to you during the week)

Email: dbth.childrens.audiology@nhs.net

Remember to leave a message with:

  1. Your child’s name and date of birth
  2. What you require
  3. Your address
  4. Phone number where they can reach you.

Sheffield Children’s Audiology Department

Refer to their website for an update on their Services

Website: www.sheffieldchildrens.nhs.uk/services/hearing/

Email: sch.audiologyreferrals@nhs.net

Tel: 0114 271 7450

Batteries, hearing aid repairs, ear moulds

Tel: 07854 089810 

Nottingham Auditory Implant Programme

Refer to their website for an update on their Services

Website: www.nuh.nhs.uk/naip/

Email: naip@nuh.nhs.uk

Tel: 0115 948 5549 / Text: 0797 619 0028

Tips to make life easier for your deaf/HI child:

  1. The National Deaf Children’s Society (org.uk) is free to join. If you are not yet a member, we encourage you to make this one change while you are all home. The website has a lot of useful information relevant to children with a hearing loss (some are listed below).
  2. Please remember to turn on the closed captioning/subtitles – it will help older children understand, enable you to turn the volume down a bit, and include everyone fairly.
  3. Some software, for example Google Hangout, is available with automatic translation (the feedback we have from young people is that the reliability of this can vary).
  4. If your child uses a radio aid at school, ask your child’s ToD about using it at home. For many deaf/HI children, radio aids will allow them to continue their learning and to access sound on their computers, tablets or mobiles. It may also help them to keep in touch with family and friends and avoid feelings of isolation.

BSL information:

Clara Allardyce, our Service’s Deaf Instructor, wanted to share two bits of information with anyone who has always wanted the opportunity to study BSL:

Doncaster Deaf Trust has launched a free online Level 1 British Sign Language (BSL) course. The online course, developed thanks to National Lottery Funding, will enable users to learn Level One BSL.  Natalie Pollard is a reputable BSL tutor and is leading a team to deliver this.  To sign up to the free course visit Doncaster Deaf Sign , for further details please click here 

BBC have agreed the following time slots (Monday to Friday) to be translated into sign language:

  • 07.45 -08.15 – BBC News (Normal Signed News)
  • 13.00 -13.30 – BBC News (Normal Signed News)
  • Around 17.00 – Coronavirus update: PM’s address. (This have been varied from week to week)
  • Normally they have weekend slots at 7.00am-7.30am. During the Coronavirus period this have been changed to cover the PM's Coronavirus daily announcements

Signed News is available on the following channels:

  • BBC News HD Channel 107
  • BBC News Channel 231

For those who do not have Freeview or Satellite TV.  Here is the link for watching the News Live online: www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/live/bbcnews 

Visual Impairment (VI) Service

During this difficult time, if any parents/carers would like support or advice, please do not hesitate to contact their child's allocated Specialist Teacher.  We are here to help provide resources and advice.


During this second lockdown the Early Years Inclusion Portage Home Visitors are still able to visit families; however, if you would prefer not to receive a home visit, at this current time, we are still available to offer information and support to our Portage families via email, phone and Facebook.  This will include:

  • Supporting you by telephone, on a typical fortnightly basis, to discuss your child’s progress. Together we will discuss next steps, activities you can do and we can send you activity plans via email for you to work on in the home.
  • Continuing to provide the Key Working role as much as possible, so please let your Portage Home Visitor know if you need support with anything.
  • If your child is due an SEN Support Plan review during this time, we will contact your child’s professionals where possible and request information from them to inform the plan. We will arrange to telephone you at a convenient time for you to discuss, review the plan and, where required, agree new learning outcomes for your child.
  • If you could send us photos and videos of your child via our secure work email, we can upload these onto your child’s Tapestry Development Journal, so that we may continue to track your child’s progress.

Doncaster Family Hubs are also sharing lots of ideas for activities and things to do at home with your children; you can also like their Facebook page via your locality by searching ‘Doncaster Family Hubs’.

The dates given to you for our monthly Portage Opportunity Group remain cancelled. We will resume the group at the Seedlings room, Maple Medical Centre as soon as we are safely able to.

If you require any further support, you can contact your allocated Portage Home Visitor direct or the Doncaster Portage team on 01302 862102 Monday to Friday  9am – 5pm.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Doncaster-Portage-Service-104668927859241

 Early Years Inclusion Team (EYIT)

The Early Years Inclusion Team (EYIT) are continuing to contact early years providers to support with any information required from the DfE.

We are continuing to ensure that early years providers , practitioners and parents have up to date and relevant information and to provide the best support during these difficult and challenging times.

We are offering support through:

  • Visits to early years providers including maintained provider – in line with  government guidance and risk assessment permitting.
  • Portage home visit are taking place within the child family home
  • Seedlings nursery provision remains open
  • Facebook (specific to childminders, early years settings and our specialist provision – Seedlings) providing regular updates on local and national information, answering queries, providing links and signposting to relevant websites and activity/resource ideas etc.
  • Edulog weekly newsletter – early years provider and schools
  • Keeping in regular contact via phone calls, messages, emails  to childminders, settings and parents ensuring that up to date information is shared, support and advice is given and that needs are met.
  • Following the Local Family Hubs online where you can find advice/support and signposting to different services and information.

All requests are continuing to be processed and outcome letters (including any changes in relation to the COVID 19 crisis) are being sent out to referrer and parents as appropriate. 

Request for Early Years Inclusion Team/EIA/EIA continuation

Requests are continuing to be processed and outcome letters (including any changes in relation to the COVID 19 crisis) are being sent out. 

Continuation of EIA into FS2/Reception

The requests for continuation of EIA into FS2 will now be discussed within the Early years request panel, information with regard to the process and panels dates can be located within the funding guidance.

With regard to the information required within the requests for funding, panel appreciate this may not be possible to evidence fully due to the current COVID 19 crisis. Please complete as much information as possible.

If a child was awarded EIA within FS1, however due to COVID 19 crisis, did not attend their provision for the Summer term, you can still submit a request for continuation of EIA into FS2/Reception.

Continuation of EIA into FS2 (Reception)
Download (53KB - DOCX)
20 - 21 Early Years Inclusion Funding Guidance
Download (25KB - DOCX)

If you have any queries please contact:

Mandy Haddock - Early Years Inclusion Officer/Seedlings Manager

Other Useful Links

Frequently Asked Questions  

Please see below some questions that you may have regarding your child, if you have any questions that are not answered below please email - FIS@doncaster.gov.uk 

Are Children and young people expected to attend nursery/school and college during the second lock down?

Yes. Guidance for parents and carers confirms that “School attendance is mandatory from the beginning of the new academic year. This means that it is your legal duty as a parent to send your child (if they are of compulsory school age) to school regularly.”  The DFE as set out guidelines for school to keep children safe within their setting. You can read further on the DFE Website

What Remote education is available?

The DFE Website have published information on how to access education and what schools should do to support you when your child is accessing remote education.

Are annual reviews still taking place? 

Yes. The Coronavirus Emergency legislation that gave the council and schools flexibility ended in September 2020, therefore the annual review should be planned and take place. However, the format is likely to be different to previous years with schools using telephone and video conferencing. If you feel there is an urgent need to amend the provision or placement in the child or young person’s EHC plan, speak to the school and Doncaster SEN Team

Special Educational Needs please email: sen@doncaster.gov.uk or call on 01302 737209/737210/737211

Have there been any changes to the process of appeals? 

No. Meditations and First Tier Tribunal are still going ahead and being held virtually.
Courts and tribunals planning and preparation have designed a page which provides advice and guidance for all court and tribunal users during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and will be updated when new advice is available Tribunal Guidance

How do I make a routine and structure at home?

If your child’s plan and routine has changed so you might want to make a new one. Even if you are self-isolating, you can create a daily routine and structure. Build in points in the day for exercise, eating and fun activities. The National Autistic Society have created advice to help  you create Visual supports for the  daily routine . Autism Train have also put together several useful resources about creating a routine and using a visual timetable  

How do I make sure that my child's sensory needs are met?

You might want to create a quiet, sensory area in your home, it doesn’t need to be a big area, a corner of the room would do. We understand that this is a tricky time - we are all getting used to this different way of living. Some children and young people might find it really hard to communicate how they are feeling – you know your children best so agree with your child how you will communicate with them this might be via text, pictures, or writing, or at specific times of the day. 

IPSEA has developed a list of FAQs on how the Coronavirus measures will affect children and young people with special educational needs (SEN)  FAQ's COVID-19 SEND

GDA Pathways FAQs

Has the referral to the GDA pathways changed as a result of Covid-19?

No changes.

Is there a delay in processing requests?

No delays or changes, processed in usual manner and added to waiting list.

Are appointments with the paediatrician still taking place or on hold?

The only GDA appointments taking place with the Community Paediatricians at present are those that are deemed by the consultants to be urgent. This will include new appointments for children who are under the age of two who have developmental issues, and follow up appointments where children are on long term medication which needs to be reviewed at specified intervals.

Are any new appointment being made at the moment are they on hold?

DBTHFT are currently not undertaking any routine new or follow up GDA appointments, but children will be added to the waiting list if a referral is accepted.

Helpful Links for Parents, Young People and Children 

Below are a list of different links that offer information about COVID-19, easy reads to help understand COVID-19 and helplines operating to support parents and families. 

Family Fund is still open and available for grants specially at this time of lockdown due to items may have been broken due to frustration -  https://www.familyfund.org.uk/

Information and Advice from Government 

  • GOV.UK have developed guidance for vulnerable children and young people Vulnerable Children and Young People
  • Gov.uk Webpage Supporting disabled people through the coronavirus outbreak - Outlining how the government plans to support disabled people, their carers, and their families during the coronavirus outbreak
  • The government has also produced guidance on how children and young people with SEND can be supported safely as they return to education
  • The DFE has also provided lots of information about changes within education and childcare during COVID-19
  • There have been changes made to some of the procedures that must be followed in relation to school exclusion in relation to exclusions to give greater flexibility to schools, parents and local authorities during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak: Guidance on secondary schools returning to education
  • Young carers and young adult carers: providing care during coronavirus

Websites with Coronavirous (Covid-19) Updates in regards to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities 

  • Advice was developed by Public Health to help adults with caring responsibilities look after the mental health and wellbeing of children or young people, including those with additional needs and disabilities, during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak Advice on Supporting Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • This link explains about the Social Care ombudsman complaint process during the Covid-19 lockdown Social Care Ombudsman Complaints
  • Contact have developed a guide developed for parent/carers to gain a better understanding on benefits  Understanding Benefits 
  • The Well Child.org has developed this information regarding children with complex needs to help parents through the Covid-19 period 10 Ways To Keep My Child With Complex Needs Safe  
  • Scope is giving information and advice but is also offering over the telephone support for parents with children and young people with SEND SCOPE - SEND Support
  • This link been developed to help families and professionals in different sensory activities Sensory Support
  • Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group - provides the latest information for Doncaster patients and the public with regards to medical needs CCG Website
  • Downs Syndrome Association have produced a Coronavirus information page with lots of useful advice specific to Down syndrome

Easy Reads for Parents, Young People and Children

Helplines for Parents 

  • Cerebra is still operational and able to support families who are living with a child with a brain condition and complex needs Cerebra Helpline
  • Scope gives information, advice and support to parent/carers of SEND children SCOPE Helpline
  • Green Gables is accessible through the website and through the Doncaster Early Help service. Green Gables service is base in Mexborough. For further information on the support they offer to families please visit their website www.ywcayorkshire.org.uk/doncaster
  • A confidential telephone service, providing emotional support to parents and carers of autistic children and adults Autism Org Helpline
  • CONTACT.ORG is for families with children who have SEND. They offer a free helpline for parents and carers who want to talk through their issues with expert advisers Contact Helpline



Last updated: 08 January 2021 11:44:25