The Educational Psychology Service, which includes four different services has adapted well to the demands of the Covid-19 new ways of working. Since lockdown and the temporary “closure” of schools and pre-school settings, the services have adapted to a virtual way of working, continuing to offer support for those children already known to us.
Early Years Inclusion Service (EYIS)
The Early Years Inclusion Service (EYIS) supports pre-school children identified either by their early years setting or by health service colleagues as having or likely to have special educational needs and/or disabilities; these notifications and referrals are now coming in by email. The paediatric assessments are often being carried out by video-conferencing with parents. The notifications and referrals continue to be discussed at the monthly, now virtual, Early Years Support Panel. The outcomes of panel for individual children continue to be offered to parents and the referrer via a postal service letter or email.
Early Years Inclusion Advisor (EYIA)
Early Years Inclusion Advisor (EYIA) continues to support providers to support children who may have special educational needs or disabilities. Previously planned reviews of progress for children already known, have been carried out with the setting by phone or audio-conferencing, being shared with the parent by phone, written notes being shared by email. Parents have welcomed the opportunity to liaise with the advisor in depth, one-on-one. The EYIA continues to keep in touch with pre-school settings by telephone, email and via early years weekly briefings.
Early Years Inclusion Teachers (EYITs)
Early Years Inclusion Teachers (EYITs) who similarly support young children with complex SEND but in their homes, are keeping in touch with their families by phone and where possible are sharing strategies and modelling interventions via video-conferencing. Parents have found the continuity of ongoing support, albeit virtual, extremely helpful.
Early Years - planning for transition to school
The Early Years Inclusion Service (EYIS) has developed a range of short documents, to support families and settings with possible alternative ideas for effective transition within the restraints of Covid-19. These have been published on the Wokingham Schools Hub and emailed to settings and parents for those children with SEND moving to school this Autumn.
Early Years - training for Providers
The Early Years Inclusion Advisor (EYIA) is starting to adapt training sessions for early year’s providers, so that essential training such as the Early Years SENCo Networks can be delivered virtually using Microsoft Teams.
Learning Support Service
The Learning Support Service supports children in primary school who have complex literacy or numeracy needs. The Learning Support Teachers assess and review children’s needs, developing programmes of support, which are modelled to school teaching staff. The programmes are now being delivered via video-conferencing. The Learning Support teachers are also updating, creating and delivering online advice and training to school teaching staff including dyslexia training as well as contributing virtually to the termly school planning meetings.
The Mental Health Support Team - Education
Continue to fulfil their training, are developing skills in supporting children and young people experiencing mild to moderate mental health needs. They are supporting pupils in twelve designated schools. Current social distancing regulations have impacted on some activities offered, although some young people have been happy to continue with their support via What’s App or Microsoft Teams.
Educational Psychology Team (EP)
Are continuing to fulfill the statutory obligations related to Education Health and Care needs assessments. Video conferencing is being used with parents and school/setting staff and is being trialed with older children.
School planning meetings
School planning meetings between Educational Psychologists, schools, learning support teachers and Foundry College have continued virtually so that teacher support and advice can continue. School SENCos and teachers are contacting their link EPs by telephone, email and video conferencing. Key annual reviews are continuing using Microsoft Teams as are the SENCO networks.
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Panel (SEND)
The Educational Psychologist service continues to contribute to the weekly SEND panel which is now run virtually using Microsoft Teams. Information provided to panel is also based on any prior knowledge of the child as well as evidence of need which may have been already provided by a range of professionals.
On-Line school training offer
Educational Psychologists continue to deliver support as tutors, as well as sharing advice and guidance on supporting families through the lockdown. This includes support for the mental health and well-being of children and young people, as well as bereavement and critical incidents support. Associated documents have been published on the Wokingham School’s Hub in both the School’s and Early Years’ sections as appropriate.