Coronavirus: Changes to local SEND services

1st February 2021

TAGS coronavirus

  • This page explains how services in Sheffield that support children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities are responding to the pandemic.

    As this is a quickly-evolving situation, we cannot guarantee that all the information will be correct at all times. We will update this page as soon as we learn about any changes. Last updated 1 February 2021


    All schools should maintain regular communication if a child with SEND is not in school due to the impact of Covid-19. SENCOs will discuss with families on an individual basis how provision and support is being put in place. Where parents are concerned about delivery of remote learning and SEND needs, they should discuss this with their SENCO.

    Information about SEND provision during the January/February 2021 lockdown can be found here.

    Returning to school following lockdown periods:

    The following information was produced for September 2020 but remains relevant following any lockdown period:

    Sheffield City Council SEND services

    SEN Transport Services

    The service has introduced a range of safety measures, such as spreading out passengers, additional cleaning of vehicles, providing PPE for drivers and escorts, and keeping windows open during journeys. Parents can choose to take their child to school in their own vehicle and claim reimbursement for their travel costs.

    Further information is available in this letter to parents (dated 20th August 2020 but still relevant). Information for children is available in the form of a Social Story and two Easy Read documents, one with symbols and one with photos.

    Educational Psychology Service

    The service continues to provide statutory psychological advice to the Local Authority.

    Due to Covid-19 measures, it is not currently possible to carry out full psychological assessments of young people. To comply with statutory timescales for EHC needs assessments, advice is based on information available at the time.

    The service continues to provide advice, guidance and support to all schools in Sheffield:

    • This includes advice about measures to meet the SEND needs of children and families who are likely to be most at risk.
    • Educational Psychologists regularly check-in with key staff in schools. This is to support SEND arrangements and monitoring the well-being of children and young people. This includes those with or without EHC plans.

    Educational Psychology is currently operating remotely where possible. But the service carries out face-to-face visits if there is no alternative route to complete their work.

    Parents, carers and young people over 16 years old can ask for support by emailing  Please include:

    • Your name/child’s name and date of birth
    • A contact phone number
    • Your question or details of what you need advice on.

    The service will get back to you as soon as possible. If you do not have email access, please leave a message with the same details on 0114 250 6800 and someone will call you back. Please note that messages are being picked up daily and then passed to the team to respond.

    Autism Education Team

    The Autism Education Team continue to run a support line for families and services during term time where advice can be requested. Parents and Schools can ask for support initially by emailing

    Please include:

    • The child or young person’s name and date of birth
    • The name of their school/setting
    • A contact phone number
    • Your question or a few details of what you would like support or advice with.

    The service will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

    If you do not have access to email, please leave a message with the same details as above on 0114 250 6800 and a member of the team will call you back. Messages are being picked up daily and then passed to the team to respond.

    The team continues to operate remotely wherever it is possible to do so. They are attending Zoom meeting reviews with school staff and parents, advice sessions with SENCOs and teaching staff, and virtual school support visits with key staff.  Autism Team Teaching Assistants are running Zoom sessions to share strategies and approaches for school staff. Telephone support for parents and school staff continues as normal and resources are provided to pupils as required.

    The team continues to provide supporting information towards the EHC Plan assessment process.

    Vision Support Service and Service for Deaf and Hearing-Impaired Children

    The services that support children and young people with hearing or sight difficulties continue to operate. They are visiting schools and nurseries as usual for the children who are attending.  Where children are not attending school, and would usually have regular input, phone or video support will be offered.

    If you have any concerns, please contact your Teacher of the Deaf or Teacher of the Visually Impaired. If you are not sure who to contact please get in touch with:

    For deaf and hearing-impaired children and young people: Caroline Chettleburgh, / 07875 677532
    For children and young people with a visual impairment: Sarah Blake, / 07875 767408


    SSENDIAS is open and available to provide information, advice and support to children and young people with additional needs aged 0-25 and their parents/carers. You can get in touch  via any of the following ways:


    The SENDSARS team continues to work on EHC needs assessments, consultations for school places and finalising EHC plans. SENDSARS staff are mainly working remotely from home and so there may be some occasions where there are delays in responses.

    Local authority decision making on issuing EHC plans and arranging school places takes place virtually. Decision making and completion of EHC Plans is dependent on the input of other services and so if a service is unable to operate in the usual way this may have an impact on SENDSARS work. If this is the case, officers will contact young people and their families directly to advise of this.

    SENDSARS are available on 0114 273 6394.

    Children with Disabilities Team, SNIPS and MAST

    Daytime short break services (SNIPs) and overnight short break services remain open. These services have introduced new ways of working to ensure they adhere to national guidance, including social distancing (where possible), increased hygiene, the wearing of PPE in line with recommendations, and systems for dropping children off and collecting children. If you have any questions, please speak to your club or contact your SNIPS Mentor ( / 0114 2735368) or your respite provider.

    Sheffield City Council have produced an information sheet about support for families who have a social worker, MAST worker or SNIPS worker. This includes frequently asked questions about Direct Payments, Personal Assistants, and transition to adult social care.

    Short Break Grant

    The deadlines for the grant have been extended:

    • The deadline for applications is now 31 March 2021.
    • The deadline for spending the grant is now 31 May 2021.

    Parents who have received the Short Break Grant but can no longer carry out their planned activity because of Covid will be able to use the grant for something else – provided they comply with the guidance notes. Before doing so, parents are advised to contact Ashley Gray on or 0114 2736032 so that their grant application can be altered accordingly.

    Health services

    Sheffield Children’s Hospital

    If your child has a medical condition or injury they should continue to access treatment and attend medical appointments as recommended by their hospital, GP or healthcare professionals. Face coverings must be worn, and patients are limited to one visitor – a parent or appropriate adult – during their stay, attendance at appointments or at the Emergency Department. This should be the same visitor each time when possible. More information about hospital visits

    Information for parents of young people aged 16+ attending adult hospitals

    Face coverings must be worn. Sheffield Teaching Hospitals (Northern General, Hallamshire, Charles Clifford Dental Hospital, Western Park Cancer Centre, Jessops) have suspended visiting to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. However, the government has issued guidance stating that, if a patient has a learning disability or autism, another adult will be allowed to stay with them, even if the patient is showing symptoms of Covid-19 or tests positive for Covid-19. Staff on the wards may not be aware of this guidance, so it is advisable to take it with you and speak to the ward beforehand, especially if there is the need for a private room. Parents should explain what the consequences may be if a private room is not offered. If your young person is due to attend for a routine outpatient appointment and needs a parent/carer to accompany them, it would be a good idea to call the number on the appointment letter to check the arrangements and explain their additional needs. If your young person is admitted to hospital, you should discuss their additional needs with the nurse in charge of the ward. If your young person needs to attend hospital A&E for a non-coronavirus emergency, ask the ambulance crew to let the hospital know that you will need to attend with them or, if you are taking them to A&E yourself, try to call ahead to let them know (0114 243 4343).

    Please note: For any patient over the age of 16 who is receiving care from Sheffield Children’s Hospital for any specialty, even if some transfer of services to Sheffield Teaching Hospitals has occurred, they can still access Sheffield Children’s Hospital Emergency Department accompanied by one parent or carer.

    Speech and Language Therapy Service

    The Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust Speech and Language Therapy Service is continuing to operate. The service has published an update outlining their current service for children in schools.

    You should be able to contact your child’s Speech and Language Therapist on their usual number and email address. If you need some help finding out who your therapist is, please contact:

    • Bev Charles for pre-school children (Ryegate):
    • Dana Welch for pre-school children (Firth Park):
    • Alice Woods for children in mainstream primary and secondary schools:
    • Claire Wickham for children in special schools:
    • Jane Shaw for children with eating, drinking and swallowing needs:

    Please contact by telephone on 0114 226 2333.

    Families of children under five years old are able to phone a Speech and Language Therapy advice line which replaces the Speech and Language Therapy Drop-in sessions during Covid-19. Call 07825 801 936 on Mondays between 9.30am and 12pm.

    Physiotherapy Service and Occupational Therapy Service

    The Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy Service continues to operate. They are offering all families initial telephone consultation, video consultation and face to face appointments where necessary. This should be discussed with your child’s therapist over the telephone before you attend.

    If you do not have a telephone number for your child’s therapist, please contact the department at Ryegate on 0114 271 7610 or 0114 271 7227 for the out-patient Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy Team at the Children’s Hospital and someone will be able to help you.  The service has produced a range of online resources which you can access through their webpage (may take a while to load).

    Hearing Services at Sheffield Children’s Hospital

    Hearing Services are offering telephone appointments, with face to face only for medical emergencies.  If you need batteries or a replacement for a faulty hearing aid, these will be sent in the post.
    Please email, leave a message on 0114 2717450 or text 07854089810 if you have an urgent query and they will be in touch when they can.

    Ryegate House

    This service is temporarily closed to reduce infection risks and to provide the opportunity for staff to support others across the Trust. Any patients who access this service have been communicated with directly and arrangements have been put in place with them to offer support over the telephone. If any patient or family or colleague needs support from Ryegate House, please get in contact with the Helena Team on 0114 226 0600. This is open 7 days a week.

    Sleep Service

    A number of sleep service nurses are currently working with other departments at Sheffield Children’s Hospital and won’t be providing their usual telephone clinic service. However, if patients need urgent help they can contact the Sleep Disorders Nursing Service on 0114 3053139.  If they require medication, they are asked to call medical secretaries on 0114 305 3847. Sleep practitioners will also maintain follow-up support for patients and will be keeping the sleep nurses informed.

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