Skip to content

Covid-19 ( Coronavirus) Advice , Guidance and Resources

This page of the Local Offer website has been created to provide information and helpful resources to support SEND families through the current Covid-19 ( Coronavirus) outbreak.

Portsmouth City Council’s Inclusion service is working hard to ensure children and young people with special educational needs are at the centre of all planning and preparing at these challenging times. Please keep checking this page for updates and news.

Government Guidance

The Government has taken the decision that all schools will be closed from the end of Friday 20 March. They will remain closed until further notice, except for some vulnerable children and children of parents or carers who are critical workers and who absolutely need to send their child to school. This is a key part of the Government’s measures to reduce the spread of Corona Virus (Covid-19).

Central Government has issued guide on school closures including information on vulnerable children.

Click here to read the guidance.

UPDATE – 24/03/2020 – An open letter to children and young people with SEND, their Families and others who support them from Vicky Ford, PUSS for Children and Families.

Click here to read the letter

UPDATE – 26/03/2020

Government Guidance on Vulnerable Children and Young People.

The government has realised new guidance on vulnerable children and young people. This includes information on those who have education health and care plans ( EHCPs).

We have included a few FAQ’s below but you can read the whole document by clicking here.

Key Principles

  1. If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
  2. If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
  3. Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
  4. Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.

College and nurseries have also been advised to follow the same action as schools.

Make sure you also check with your education setting’s website to keep updated with any changes.

Learning from home

Many children with special educational needs, particularly those on SEN support will be learning from home for the near future. It is currently unclear how long this will go on for.

To  support you with your child’s learning and well-being we have gathered  some helpful resources.


Talking to your child about Coronavirus



Calm Harm

Head Space


Learning Resources


Portsmouth Education Partnership – Portsmouth Education Partnership has put together useful resources for students, teachers and parents. Click here to view.

BBC Bitesize – Education resources across all key stages as well as post-16. Boredom busting tips and neurodiversity resources. Click here to visit the page.

Twinkl – Primary and secondary resources as well as a section on Home Learning – click here to visit the site.

The Maths Factor – Carol Vodermans site for children 4-12 years. Free whilst schools are closed. Click here to visit the site.

The OT Toolbox- A site for both professionals and parent carers sharing activities and advice on sensory and motor skill activities for children. Click here to visit the site.

Joe Wicks – The Body Coach – Every weekday morning at 9am , Joe Wicks is doing a 30 minute PE workout for school children. Click here to watch and follow his daily workouts.



Support at Home

PCC Early Help Service – Information Sheet for Parents

Early Help Parenting Support Information Sheet

The National Autistic Society have produced some guidance and information on the Coronavirus for families. Click here to visit their site.

MENCAP – MENCAP have produced an easy read guide on the Coronavirus. Click here to read the Easy Read guide. 


Frequently asked questions

My child has an Education Health and Care Plan, what will happen to them during the Corona pandemic?

Schools, colleges, other training providers and local authorities will need to consider the needs of all children and young people with an EHC plan, alongside the views of their parents, and make a risk assessment for each child or young person.

They will need to consider a number of different risks to each individual, including:

  • the potential health risks to the individual from COVID-19, bearing in mind any underlying health condition. This must be on an individual basis with advice from an appropriate health professional where required
  • the risk to the individual if some or all elements of their EHC plan cannot be delivered at all, and the risk if they cannot be delivered in the normal manner or in the usual setting
  • the ability of the individual’s parents or home to ensure their health and care needs can be met safely
    the potential impact to the individual’s wellbeing of changes to routine or the way in which provision is delivered

We expect most children will fall into the following categories:

  1. Children and young people who would be at significant risk if their education, health and care provision and placement did not continue, namely those who could not safely be supported at home. This may include those with profound and multiple learning difficulties, and those receiving significant levels of personal care support. Local authorities will need to work with the individual’s educational setting – especially residential special schools and colleges – as well as local health partners, to ensure they are able to remain open wherever possible. This may mean deploying staff from other schools, to keep staffing ratios safe.
  2. Children and young people whose needs can be met at home, namely those who are not receiving personal care from their educational setting, or whose limited need for personal care can be met in their family home.

As part of the government’s emergency powers, the government will modify the statutory duties on local authorities to maintain the precise provision in EHC plans and will expect educational settings and local authorities to use their reasonable endeavours to support these children and their families.

Where a local authority is unable to put in place stated provision, they will need to use their reasonable endeavors to do this, but won’t be penalised for failing to meet the existing duty in the 2014 Act.

Click here to read the full government guidance

I am a critical worker or have a vulnerable child but I don’t want to send my child in to school or childcare, do I have to?

Many parents working in these critical sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. Every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.

This is an offer to parents and carers and there is no requirement for parents and carers to send their children to school if they do not need or wish to do so.

For vulnerable children, your child’s social worker will work with you to assess the best option for your child.

Where can I get information on financial support during the Corona pandemic?

The outbreak of Covid-19 ( Coronavirus) is a huge time of financial uncertainty for many families. The government have put in place some emergency measures to support families during these times. This includes the new  ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’, a new type of financial support to help employers carry on paying their workers and changes to universal credit amounts.

Portsmouth City Council have a designated page for financial support in relation to Coronavirus. Click here to visit the page.

To read the full government guide on Support for those affected by coronavirus click here 

Contact – an organisation for families with disabled children have also created a family guide on Coronavirus & welfare and benefits. click here to visit their page.

Where can I get further information and support as a parent carer?

Portsmouth Parent Voice have set up a group on Facebook to link in with parents at this difficult time.

You can also check the information on the Portsmouth City Council main website Coronvirus page.

We will soon be adding updates from services who make up the Portsmouth Local Offer so please keep checking back on this page.

Contact – an organisation supporting disabled children and families have created a very informative page for families. You can find out more by clicking here.

Portsmouth City Council Corona Updates

Portsmouth City Council have posted a Corona virus page on their main website. This page contains information for everyone and not just those with SEND. It is updated daily.

PCC Corona Outbreak Information Page
PPV Logo

Portsmouth Parent Voice

Portsmouth Parent Voice are still operating through the Corona Virus outbreak. They are working outside of the office but are able to communicate through email and social media. They have a closed Facebook group where you can talk directly to parent carers and PPV staff from home.

PPV Covid-19 Page

IPSEA - Coronavirus updates and information

IPSEA have put together a list of FAQs on the how the COVID-19 measures will affect children and young people with special educational needs (“SEN”). Visit their site for more informtion.

IPSEA CoronaVirus Updates

Get in touch - tell us what you think

Contact the Portsmouth Send Local Offer to gain help, get more information or to leave feedback about the website.

Get in touch