Coronavirus: Changes to local SEND services

7th May 2020

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 coronavirus outbreak.

    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.


    Information about the full reopening of schools and other educational settings is available on the Sheffield Council website.

    Further information about arrangements for learners with SEND and resources you can use with your child are available in a special “back to school” edition of our Sheffield Parent Carer Forum newsletter.

    Sheffield City Council and Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust have published two guides for parents on supporting children to return to school after lockdown. One is a general guide aimed at all parents, and one is specifically for parents of children with SEND.

    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). 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

    This service is continuing to operate remotely. The service will carry on providing statutory psychological advice to the Local Authority. Advice, guidance and support are being provided through calls, emails and shared documents to all schools in Sheffield. This includes advising on active measures to meet the SEND needs of those children and families who are likely to be most at risk. Parents can ask for support by emailing Please include your child’s name and date of birth, a contact phone number and your question or details of what you neeed advice on. The service will look to get back to you as soon as possible. If you don’t have access to email, you can leave a message with the same details on 0114 2506800 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 run a support line for families and services during term time where advice can be requested. Through this time they have moved this to an email support service for parents of children with autism to ask for help and support. Parents can ask for support by emailing Please include your child’s name and date of birth, the name of their school, a contact phone number and your question or details of what you need advice on. The service will look to get back to you as soon as possible.
    If you don’t have access to email, you can leave a message with the same details on 0114 2506800 and someone will call you back. Please note that messages are being picked up daily and then passed to the team to respond.

    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, but will not be carrying out home or monitoring visits at present.  If your child receives a high level of specialist support in their setting, or is in a HI Integrated Resource or at Tapton School Integrated Resource, your Teacher of the Deaf or Teacher of the Visually Impaired will be in contact with you by phone or email.
    If you don’t have the direct number for your Teacher of the Deaf or Teacher of the Visually Impaired, or you’re not sure who to contact, or you have any general queries, please get in touch:
    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 are still available to give you information and advice over the phone (0114 2736009) and by email ( You may get an answerphone message when you ring them; please leave your name and number and they will call you back. If you email them, you will be sent an automatic message asking you to ring them, orr to redirect your email to another address. Please forward your message on, or call them on 0114 273 6009. They aim to get back you as soon as they can.

    If you have any upcoming meetings that SSENDIAS were going to support you with, please give them a call to discuss. For mediation and tribunals, you will receive direction from Collis Mediation or the tribunal to explain what will happen. Please let SSENDIAS know so that they can still support you.


    The SENDSARS team continues to work on EHC needs assessments, consultations for school places and finalising EHC plans. However, they have fewer staff who are able to access the office and electronic systems, so expect some delays in their response time. Local authority decision making on issuing EHC plans and arranging school places now takes place virtually.

    SNIPS clubs

    All short breaks daytime clubs closed on 27 March. The charging policy for SNIPS clubs, which was going to be introduced from 1 April 2020, has been postponed by one year. If you have any concerns, please contact SNIPS on 0114 2735368 or email

    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. 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.

    Physiotherapy Service and Occupational Therapy Service

    The Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy Service continue to operate. They are offering all families telephone consultation and therapists will be in touch as soon as possible. They are also trialling Skype and WhatsApp if parents and children would prefer to talk face to face online. Where it is deemed essential, they are offering face to face appointments in person. 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 2717610 or 0114 2717227 for the out-patient Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy Team at the Children’s Hospital and someone will be able to help you.  The service is working very hard to increase the resources they can send out to parents and offer through their webpage. Please bear with them.

    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.

    Further Education Colleges

    Sheffield College

    The Sheffield College is planning to offer a mixture of face-to face lessons on campus, face-to-face lessons delivered remotely, and self-directed study during the first term. The balance will depend on the subject studied. Most of the infection control measures outlined on page xxx will also apply in college.

    Young people with SEND who are moving from school to college are advised to:

    • Email and arrange to discuss their needs before they start their course (unless they have already done so). The college will also contact the schools previously attended by new students to request information. This information will be shared with the college staff team so they can prepare resources and equipment.
    • Contact the College if they are worried or want to ask questions about starting college – email or message 07876 843268.
    • Take a look at the virtual campus tours on
    • Watch the transition video that the Foundation Learning team have prepared for their high needs students. This video will be sent out to students when they have enrolled.
    • Join in with any activities the college staff are arranging.
    • Read the coronavirus information on the college website.
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