Coronavirus (COVID-19): National and Local Information and Guidance

UPDATED: 26th February 2021

We know this is a difficult time as families are adjusting to this new way of living. We hope that this page will be able to help by giving specific information that you need, tips and advice on how to help and support your child at home, and also answer any questions you may have.

If you know of any information or guidance that could be added to these pages, then please let us know by emailing [email protected]. Also, if you have any questions and cannot find the answer here, then please get in touch with us.

General information and guidance

The Government has released a 4 part road map that outlines their plan to bring the country out of lockdown in a safe and secure manner. The road map beings on March 8th. Until this date it is necessary to remain at home as much as possible.

A part of the road map is to have children and students return to school and further education on March 8th. There is guidance for parents on early years providers, schools and further education on the Government website. If your child or young person is extremely clinically vulnerable, then they will still need to remain at home and receive their education remotely. More guidance for extremely vulnerable can be found on the government website.

People who have a profound or serve learning disability can now receive their COVID-19 vaccination. Also, unpaid carer’s have now been added to category 6 as part of the vaccine roll out. This means “those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill.” You can book an appointment via the NHS website

Reaching Families have produced a series of frequently asked questions that parents may have on COVID-19. You can read the faction on the Reaching Families website.

Accessing primary schools, secondary schools, special schools and colleges during the current national lockdown.

Please note the following guidance applies until March 8th.

Primary Schools, secondary schools, special schools and colleges will be closed to most students who will be required to learn remotely from home until further notice.

Schools will be open to students who meet any of the following criteria:

  • If one of the parents in a family is a critical worker they can go to school
  • The child/ young person is vulnerable they should go to school

    Find the list of critical worker roles and what makes someone vulnerable on the Government website

    Special schools and alternative provision are also open to those that meet the criteria. Please bare in mind that as a result of expanding the criteria, the number of pupils that are able to attend school is much greater than what it was during the national lockdown in 2020. All schools are working hard to ensure they are safe for those that attend them and work in them. The quick change from central government and the new, more transmissible, strain of COVID-19 means schools may have to prioritise which students they can receive first, whilst they develop systems that allow for greater numbers and security from COVID-19.

    Children and young people who are clinically extremely vulnerable have been advised to not attend educational settings in West Sussex. If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should have received a letter from the NHS or your GP informing you of this. The Government has Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19

    Accessing childcare during the Current national lockdown.

    Please note the following guidance applies until March 8th.

    The government have confirmed that, unless clinically extremely vulnerable, children can attend early years provision.

    Parent carers will be able to access other childcare activities (including wraparound care) where reasonably necessary to enable parents to work, seek work, attend education or training, or for the purposes of respite care for parent carers.

    It is anticipated that most families in these circumstances will continue to access childcare following their usual patterns, or reduce the amount of childcare to reduce the risk of the spread of infection. However, if you do need to access additional childcare during this period, please speak to your current provider or contact the Family Information Service (01243 777807) who can support you to find childcare. For information about help with the costs of childcare, please visit the government website. You can also view more detailed information on childcare during lockdown.

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, parent carers should be aware that it may not be possible for childcare providers to offer the same level of provision as they have previously. This could be due to a number of factors, including:

  • The measures needed to reduce the risk of the spread of infection – for example, implementing social distancing and keeping children in bubbles
  • A reduction in staffing – for example if some staff members are unable to work due to being clinically extremely vulnerable, or being unwell or needing to self-isolate, or if someone in their household is unwell and needs care

    Please speak to you childcare provider to try and resolve any difficulties and contact the Family Information Service if you would like some additional support.

    More Information

    You can see the West Sussex County Council Data Dashboard for statistics on cases across West Sussex.

    If you are in need of support there is a range of ways you can access it. The West Sussex Community Hub has more information on this.

    Contact has a series of questions and answers on COVID-19 vaccines should you need any information on them.

    There is 'Guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic'. You can also look on the Local Offer for counselling services.

    If you want to have a look at COVID-19 cases across the country then have a look at the Governments interactive map.

    If you are having to attend any meetings with professionals virtually then these 'Top tips for virtual SEND meetings' will be of use to you.

    For fun activities and even more advice look at the Shorts Breaks Wiki.

    Please note the resources below were from the Lockdown that occurred in Spring, please bare this in mind when viewing them.

    Information from Central Government

    Information about First-teir Tribunals

    More national information and support available