SENDIASS COVID-19 (coronavirus) advice and guidance

We know it's tough right now with the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak and it's going to be a long journey of keeping ourselves and others safe and healthy. 

To help you get through we have put together some general information to help you with the basics, education and finding things to do.

We also thought it might be a good idea to share some ideas that you might find helpful, you may also have much better ones to share with us - let's help one another by swapping our ideas.

Get in touch via email or Facebook Messenger to share your tips.

Supporting children and young people during COVID-19

The government has produced some helpful guidance for parents during this difficult time for children and young people. 

All children are finding it difficult; their worlds have been turned upside down. But for the parents of children with additional needs this is undoubtedly more difficult. Routines are out of the window, anxieties are running high and the last thing that you should be worrying about is whether they have completed six hours of academic work per day! 

Remember to be kind to yourselves, it is so difficult for us all now to juggle everything that has been thrown at us. Many of us find ourselves in a state of anxiety, worrying about what is happening and whether our loved ones will stay safe and healthy.  First and foremost, our job as parents is to keep our children safe and well - mentally as well as physically.

You may find this guide about looking after your own mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak helpful.

Getting up, dressed and keeping your child happy for the full day may be as much as you can do - that is enough; you are enough.

What is COVID-19 (coronavirus)?

It can be hard to explain what coronavirus is, especially to young children. This video from the INEQE Safeguarding Group, explains it in simple terms.

These top tips about talking to your child about coronavirus from are really valuable.

  • Try not to shield your child from the news, as it’s likely they will find out somehow from school, being online or from friends.

  • Talk to your child about what is going on. You could start by asking them what they have heard.

  • Try to answer their questions and reassure them in an age appropriate manner. Remember, you do not need to know all the answers, but talking can help them feel calm.

  • Reassure your child that it is unlikely they will get seriously ill, and if they do feel ill you will look after them. Your child might be concerned about who will look after you if you catch the virus. Let them know the kind of support you have as an adult so that they don’t feel they need to worry about you.

  • Give some practical tips to your child about how they can look after themselves. For example, show them how to wash their hands properly, and remind them when they should be doing it.

  • Keep as many regular routines as possible, so that your child feels safe and that things are stable.

  • Spend time doing a positive activity with your child (e.g. reading, playing, painting, cooking) to help reassure them and reduce their anxiety. This is also a great way of providing a space for them to talk through their concerns, without having a ‘big chat’.

  • Encourage your child to think about the things they can do to make them feel safer and less worried.

  • Be aware that your child may want more close contact with you at this time and feel anxious about separation. Try to provide this support whenever possible.

  • Remember to look after yourself too. If you yourself are feeling worried, or anxious about coronavirus, talk to someone you trust who can listen and support you.

Wash your hands

We're being told to learn how to wash our hands properly and to do this regularly. This video is a great clip for children to watch and is only 47 seconds long.

Government advice

Browse the links below to find the most up to date official information relating to COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Useful links

You can discover more resources below that can help you to explain coronavirus to young people.


We have gathered together guidance about school closures, exams/qualifications and SEND provision including EHCPs to help you through the coronavirus period. 

General information

Visit our school closures webpage for information about school meals, transport and resources to keep children learning whilst they're not in school.

You can also read Special Needs Jungle: School attendance and exclusions advice

EHCP/SEN provision – SEN support and EHCPs

Read guidance and advice from IPSEA about SEND support and Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs).

There is also information available from Special Needs Jungle about EHCP timescales and what my child’s EHCP still provides.

Exam/qualification advice – GCSEs and A-Levels

Find government guidance about the cancellation of GCSE and A-Level examinations and awarding of qualifications.

Mediation and tribunals 

Special Needs Jungle has advice and guidance about EHCP Mediation, tribunals and tribunal appeals.

You can also find official advice from UK Courts about remote access to family courts.

Are you aged between 15 and 25?

Please contact us if you are worried about exams and qualifications, or if you are at college.  We can talk to you about what happens now and in the future.  Don’t worry – we are here to help.

Phone: (01226) 787234
Facebook Messenger:

Barnsley SYPS

Barnsley SENDIASS will launch the Young Person’s service SYPS in 2020.  If you are aged 16 to 25, you are welcome to join our Facebook group.

Advice for local authorities and educational settings

Other advice and guidance

Things to do

We understand that keeping everyone happy, entertained and learning over these weeks and months is very hard. You will have probably seen a lot of information, tips and ideas on how to keep busy. We’ve collected some bits and written-up some ideas. We hope you find them useful!

Please do send us any further useful tips and ideas or links to websites and we will keep updating this guidance.

Visual timetables

As a service we see how effective visual timetables can be for children to lessen anxieties, process information and keep structure to their day.  As a family we're sure that you will decide whether this will be useful or not but here are some examples:

Making your own timetable

Currently Twinkl are offering a free subscription - offer code: PARENTSTWINKLHELPS 

There are lots of different visual timetables you can create from the resources on here.

Learning with play

  • Play Doh
    A great way to keep youngsters busy and at the same time help them practice their fine motor skills is to play with play doh - its great for squeezing and rolling, you can make letters and words out of it or simply just play with it. there are loads of different recipes for making play doh online so could be worth checking it out.

  • Twinkl 
    The website Twinkl has provided a free access code for parents (PARENTSTWINKLHELPS).  Twinkl is a website to share ideas and resources for teaching.

  • Phonics Play 
    Phonics Play has provided a free access code for parents.  Phonics Play provide resources to support the teaching of phonics.

    Username: march20
    Password: home

  • CBeebies
    The BBC’s CBeebies website provides lots of useful and fun activities for young children, to encourage learning and play.
  • Barnsley Libraries
    Barnsley Libraries offer a free eBook service to download on eReaders and tablets.



Science and nature

  • Wildlife with Steve Backshall - Facebook everyday 9.30am
    Facebook, every day at 9.30 for answering wildlife, biology, conversation, geography related questions

  • Science with Maddie Moate, 11am weekdays
    YouTube, weekdays at 11am – Maddie and Gregg chat about science and nature.

  • BBC Bitesize
    The BBC’s Bitesize website is regularly updated with new content during the pandemic.

  • Barnsley Libraries
    Barnsley Libraries offer a free eBook service to download on eReaders and tablets.

Sign language

Health and wellbeing