Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice: Children and Young People
- Safeguarding children
- Keeping our youngsters safe online
- Health and wellbeing:
- Support with learning:
- Early Help support to children and families - videos
The Government has advised that, where possible, primary schools and nurseries should begin a phased reopening from Monday 1 June (external link).
It is expected that our schools will reopen to different year groups at different stages in June. These re-openings will be purposely slow and considered, only building to a wider opening when schools are confident to do so and it is safe and right for our children and families. Your child’s school will be in touch with you to let you know when they intend to re-open and the steps they have put in place to ensure social distancing guidance and safety measures can be followed.
On 23 March, the government closed schools to all but the most vulnerable children and the children of key workers.
Vulnerable children have been defined by the government as “those who have a social worker and those children and young people up to the age of 25 with education, health and care (EHC) plans.” The full definition of vulnerable children can be viewed on GOV.UK (external link).
If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response – or you work in one of the key worker sectors – and you cannot keep your children safe at home, then they will be prioritised for education provision.
Measures will also be taken to provide for children who are in receipt of free school meals (see below).
A small number of Haringey schools are closed, but have developed a ‘hub’ with another local school to ensure that vulnerable children and key worker children have access to a school place. A hub is where two or more schools link with other local schools or colleges to ensure that provision can continue to be offered.
If your school is closed for any reason, you have not been advised of alternative arrangements for your child and your child meets the criteria for access to a school place (vulnerable or key worker and cannot be cared for safely at home), you should contact the school in the first instance (using the office email address on the school’s website or on our school pages) to see what alternative hub arrangements have been made locally for your child.
You should only contact the council via email at email@example.com if your school has not provided you with information and if you are unable to contact them.
During the current lockdown, school opening times at your school may vary from those that are normally applied. These times will vary across our schools and across term and holiday times and are provided based on the school’s individual ability to make staff provision at any given time.
All group activities and most health services in children’s centres have stopped.
With the exception of Triangle and Woodside Children’s Centre, all children’s centre buildings will be closed until further notice - see the Children's Centres page for more details.
Voucher scheme for kids staying at home
A national voucher scheme has been introduced by the Government that will allow children eligible for free school meals to still access that provision while they stay at home.
While schools are closed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), every eligible child can now be provided with a £15 weekly shopping voucher by their school to spend at supermarkets.
Where it’s no longer possible for schools to provide meals for collection or delivery, they can now provide these vouchers to families either electronically or – for those without internet access – as a gift card.
The vouchers can be spent at a range of shops, including Asda, M&S, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose.
- For further information, see the Government’s guidance on free school meals (external link).
Schools in the borough should now be making arrangements to provide these vouchers to eligible children.
If you are eligible but are not receiving vouchers, please contact your school to inform them.
During the current time, some families’ working circumstances may have changed, which means that their child(ren) is/are now eligible for FSM. Please apply now if you believe you now meet the qualifying criteria for FSM.
The government announced on 7 April that eligible children not attending school over the Easter holiday may now receive a free school meal as part of the national voucher scheme. The provision of free school meals over the holiday is new as meals or vouchers had previously only been available in term time.
Because the scheme was only announced on 7 April, it is hoped you will receive your vouchers for the Easter holiday period as soon as possible from your school.
- For more information, see our free school meals page
Following Department for Education advice in relation to school closures due to the coronavirus, we are cancelling all Fixed Penalty Notices issued after 16 March 2020. Where possible we have contacted parents to advise them to ignore any received Fixed Penalty Notices from this date.
This summer’s exams, including GCSEs, AS/A-Levels and those for vocational and technical qualifications (eg: BTECs), have been cancelled.
Instead, the Government has developed an alternative process to recognise students’ work and make sure they get their grades in time to progress.
The Department for Education (DfE) has published full details on how these qualifications will be awarded this summer (external link). Among other resources, on the page you will find:
- Guidance for carers, parents, students and teachers
- An open letter to students who were expecting to be taking their exams this summer
The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges in effectively safeguarding children and promoting their welfare.
In the current climate of uncertainty, it is now likely there will be a prolonged period where children’s school attendance will be significantly reduced, and many children and young people will continue not having contact with professionals.
The low take-up of the eligible vulnerable cohort of children not attending school reduces support to families.
Children’s social care are conscious that many children will be well looked after by their families, however for some of the UK, lockdown has increased the exposure to risk vulnerabilities and isolation for children and young people.
A number of families are experiencing financial hardship and the service – along with partners – is working towards ensuring access to food and essential supplies does not place children and their families at a further disadvantage.
It is vital that all professionals and members of our wider community are vigilant in supporting the safeguarding of children and young people in Haringey.
Haringey has a multi-agency safeguarding hub called the MASH that works with all partners and the community over the COVID 19 lockdown period to ensure Safeguarding Children is everyone’s business.
The MASH will advise anyone (professionals and members of the public) observing or coming into contact with any concerns about a child. The MASH can be contacted on:
- Tel: 020 8489 4470
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The MASH has a dedicated team working alongside Early Help & Connected Communities to support children and their families with a wide range of support and interventions, including offering food parcels, parenting advice, financial support and access to essential services during the COVID-19 period.
If you are not sure and need to talk to a social worker about a concern, you could also call MASH Consultation line on 0208 489 4430.
EDT (Emergency Duty Team ) can also be contacted during the Easter weekend (Friday- Monday) on 0208 489 0000.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) (external link) and Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command (CEOP) (external link) have produced a toolkit (available for download below) that aims to promote their #OnlineSafetyAtHome campaign.
The toolkit has been designed to give children, parents and practitioners the best advice on how to keep children safe and do everything to stop online child sexual exploitation and abuse.
- Download the CSA COVID-19 Campaign Toolkit (PDF, 993KB)
We know there will be a period of transition as we adjust to our ‘new normal’ now that schools and colleges across the UK have closed.
For those who need it during this difficult time, Kooth.com provides free, online mental health and wellbeing support to 11-18-year olds, and up to 25 years for those with additional needs.
The platform is available via any internet accessible device and allows children and young people in a crisis, or need of support, the opportunity to receive one-to-one support from a qualified counsellor, write in a daily journal and interact with other young people.
For schools, Kooth also offers video conference teacher training, and information sheets that can be shared on school online portals.
- To find out more, please visit the Kooth website (external link)
- What is coronavirus? A fact sheet for kids
- Staying healthy at home - Information sheet for parents and carers
Have you been searching for basic information to let your children know what is happening with coronavirus?
Public Health England have created a Coronavirus fact sheet for kids (PDF, 3.6MB) and a video animation (below) in partnership with Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust.
Many parents, carers and their children will now need to be at home to stop the spread of coronavirus. The files below include some useful suggestions for staying emotionally, physically and mentally healthy during this challenging time. We hope this information provides you with helpful ideas you can adopt within the home:
The Educational Psychology Service have also provided two fact sheets.
The first one contains some tips and ideas on mindfulness/meditation for parents to use for themselves or with their children to help with calming anxiety. The second focuses on teenage sleep and aims to provide parents and teenagers with some key tips to help them to develop healthy sleep habits.
- Tips for calming anxiety using mindfulness (PDF, 111KB)
- Tips for helping teens with sleep (PDF, 71KB)
Schools are approaching remote or distance learning in a number of ways and with a variety of resources used. Each school will make its own arrangements to meet the needs of the children in its community. Your school has the best interests of your child’s learning at its heart when it decides how to deliver remote learning.
Other online resources beyond the school will also have been made available to you as part of the information your school has given you. More information on useful education websites is provided below.
There are a range of online resources and materials to keep your children educated and entertained remotely while they are away from the classroom.
Here’s a few taster samples for starters (note these are all external links and may require registration or be offering paid for services):
- 100 Things To Do Indoors - free eBook
- Audible Stories - the service is currently offering a number of free audiobooks for children
- BBC History for Kids
- BookTrust HomeTime
- Hungry Little Minds
- Quizlet - learning flashcards for school age children
- School of Spurs - download a fun, entertaining and educational resource pack for kids
- Twinkl - free learning materials aimed at children aged 3-11
- White Rose
It’s also really important that you look out for signs if your child isn’t coping with the confinement and social isolation of staying indoors at home. If that’s the case, they and you can get support from the likes of Kooth (external link) and YoungMinds (external link).
Following school closures, Literacy Pirates have created a brand new ‘Virtual Ship’ which gives children access to writing and reading activities and tutorials from home during the coronavirus outbreak.
Literacy Pirates is a charity, working to improve the reading, writing, confidence and perseverance of children who are falling behind at school. Their incredible pirate themed learning centres offer specialised teacher and volunteer support.
To prevent some children falling even further behind during school closures, the Virtual Ship offers bite-sized activities using low tech, so that everyone with access to a mobile phone can use the materials.
There are weekly writing challenges that give children the chance to get creative, a special ‘Diary of an Extraordinary Spring’ which allows children to record their thoughts at this time, and a selection of ways to motivate children to read every day.
Find out more on the Literacy Pirates website (external link).
Our Early Help team have produced some videos - both to provide some fun for your children and to make sure you are all taking good care of your wellbeing.