Coronavirus Schools

Here in Solihull we are continuing to work in partnership with schools to ensure they are fully supported during the current lockdown period.

Our schools remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers, all other children will learn remotely until February half term. Early Years settings remain open.

Remote learning across Solihull

All schools, including academy schools, across Solihull have remote learning systems in place. Some of these systems are directly supported by the council but a number of schools arrange their own IT provision.

Schools that are directly supported by the council all have access to Microsoft Teams and Google Classroom, as well as other systems that individual schools choose to use alongside these core systems.

Schools that support their own IT systems all also have Microsoft Teams and/or Google classroom in place. All schools, particularly secondary schools, have made significant progress since the start of the pandemic.

Solihull Council has worked with its schools to address the extraordinary challenges that primary and special schools, in particular, have faced with implementing remote learning during the pandemic. Solihull Council has funded and appointed additional advisory teachers to support school staff in their use of remote learning, making available a range of training resources and training sessions to all primary and special schools across the borough. This work continues.

We also have provided strategic support for school leaders, addressing the range of approaches that are available to schools, as different schools have different cultures and face different challenges.

This strategic support includes looking at how schools can best meet DFE requirements with a blend of live lessons, recorded video resources and independent self-study using other, more familiar, resources.

Separately, we are working through the education improvement service to help schools monitor and evaluate their progress with remote learning. Alongside this, we have also provided training for school governors to ensure that they are confident in their role of supporting schools as schools adopt new approaches to learning.

You can find information for children of critical workers and vulnerable children here.

Community Educational Psychology Service

We are offering additional support to families through a telephone consultation service. Parents and carers can contact us Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm, and have a personal consultation with one of our educational psychologists. They will offer support to help with any concerns you may have. For example how to manage difficult behaviour or how to talk to children about Covid-19 and their worries related to it.

To book a free 30 minute telephone consultation please call 0121 779 1734. Find out more about the service here, including some basic information you will be asked prior to the consultation.

Solar - Solihull's Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Service for 0-19 year olds

During the current pandemic, Solar is still open and continuing to provide care to all young people.

The team can be contacted Monday to Friday from 9am-5pm on 0121 301 2750. The out of hours crisis contact is available 7 days a week between 8am-8pm on 0121 301 5500.

If children and young people do require mental health support, Solar is providing video and phone calls routinely. Children and young people can access Solar without getting referred. Families can call directly or fill in the ‘self-referral’ form on their website. 

Support for children who receive free school meals

Schools will contact parents directly about the vouchers or advise of alternative arrangements, if necessary.

If you are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of coronavirus and would like to find out more about eligibility for free school meals, please email edfreesm@solihull.gov.uk or call 0121 704 6611.

School transport

Information for families to support children during the coronavirus outbreak

It can be difficult trying to talk to children and young people about coronavirus but there are lots of resources and helpful websites for you to use.

Here are some resources which we hope you will find useful:

Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) - the charity has produced resources for very young children to help them understand coronavirus. The video at the bottom of the page called 'While we can't hug' aims to support the understanding of social distancing.

Home-schooling helpline for parents - The Department for Education (DfE) has announced that STAR Academies Trust has launched StarLine - a national helpline for parents who are home-schooling in England. The free telephone helpline aims to offer confidential advice to families from qualified teachers and parenting experts, including advice on behaviour and timetabling, as well as help for those looking after children with special educational needs or disabilities.

Oak National Academythis is an online classroom and resource hub created by teachers to help teachers and parents to support their pupils and children. The Academy provides a plan of video lessons and learning resources covering a range of subjects including maths, English, art and languages. Teachers can use these resources to complement their own lesson planning and remote teaching. Parents can access all the resources to support home learning, as guided by their child’s school.

Government guidance on supporting your children's education - this website provides information, guidance and support for parents and carers of children who are learning at home.

Children's guide to coronavirus - this guide from the Children's Commissioner aims to answer children's questions about coronavirus, tell children how to stay safe and protect other people, and how to help them make the best use of their time at home.

Parenting support - this website provides useful information and advice for parents and carers during the coronavirus outbreak.

BBC Newsround - this website has a section on coronavirus with text and video guidance, focusing on tips if a child is worried, how to wash your hands, and what self-isolation means.

Mencap easy read - Mencap have produced an easy read information sheet about coronavirus. This would be particularly useful for children, young people or adults whose understanding is improved with visuals and when information is given in bitesize chunks.

Coronavirus (Covid-19): online education resources - this Department for Education website provides online educational resources for schools and parents to help children to learn at home. 

Here is a list of tips and resources for primary and secondary pupils that you may find helpful while children are learning at home.