Coronavirus

Last reviewed: Friday 19 June 2020 at 9am

What is the current position for schools?

On Monday 1 June some primary schools (including infant and junior), other educational settings and early years childcare facilities in Solihull started welcoming back more children.

This is in the following order of priority, as outlined in the government guidance

  • Children of key workers and pupils who already qualify for a place under current government guidance
  • Nursery aged pupils
  • Reception aged pupils
  • Pupils in year 1
  • Pupils in year 6

All schools and settings carried out risk assessments and have put in place a range of protective measures to ensure they were able to safely re-open to more children and staff. Here is some information for parents to help explain this.

The remaining primary schools (including infant and junior) re-opened to more pupils on Monday 8 June. Each school has been contacting parents directly to let them know their arrangements.

Some schools have needed to consider how to prioritise places for pupils and this guidance was shared with them, which we hope will help parents understand the decisions schools have had to make. A parents version of this guidance is here.

Secondary schools re-opened for year 10 and year 12 pupils on Monday 15 June after carrying out risk assessments and putting their plans in place. The government has advised that pupils in year 10 and year 12 should have some face-to-face contact with their teachers before the summer holiday, whilst also continuing to study at home with work provided by the schools.

This letter explains more about the phased re-opening of secondary schools in the borough.

Special schools are following the same protective measures as mainstream schools but are not being asked to prioritise particular year groups.

Please see our latest letter to parents and carers.

This leaflet provides more information about returning to school. 

These videos also help explain to children what to expect when they go back to school or a nursery/childcare setting.

We are aware that there is a lot of information and support for parents coming out from local and national organisations, so this has been collated into one document: back to school transition guide.

Further information may also be found on your school’s own website, details for these can be found here.

If your child lives in Solihull but attends a school outside the borough, please contact their school directly to find out what the arrangements are for pupils returning.

Children of key workers and vulnerable children

The majority of maintained and academy schools, special schools and free schools in Solihull have remained open throughout the Covid-19 pandemic for children who are vulnerable and children of key workers who cannot be safely cared for at home. These children are encouraged to carry on attending their school even if they don’t fall into one of the priority year groups mentioned above.

Parents of children who have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) will be contacted by their school to clarify the needs of their children and the support that is wanted. Schools are very conscious of the importance of stability and routines for children and will work closely with families to ensure this is maintained.

Early years childcare facilities are also open to support key worker parents. Our Family Information Service is updating their directory regularly with details of the facilities that are open. If the setting is closed, there will be a CLOSED COVID-19 marker next to its name.

Go to the Family Information Service Directory.

You can also call 0800 389 8667 or email familyinfo@solihull.gov.uk for more information.

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. Ch ildren 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

Parents of children eligible for free schools meals are being supported with vouchers to spend in supermarkets and local shops, to the value of £3 per child per day. The government has announced that this has been extended throughout the school summer holidays.

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 

Please see the latest school transport information for parents of children with Special Educational Needs or a Disability (SEND). We have also produced important information for school transport providers.

School buses

T1 will run to Alderbrook, Langley and Hazel Oak.
George Fentham Primary School bus will run.
T2 will run to Solihull Academy

The following school buses will not be running:

  • 197 and 825 to Heart of England
  • 811 – 821 – 822 – 823 - 894 – 895 to Blossomfield campus
  • Berkswell CE Primary School bus
  • Lady Katherine CE Primary School bus

Taxi transport

For pupils currently receiving travel assistance in the form of a taxi, please let your taxi provider know if you no longer need it.

Exams

The Department for Education (DfE) has confirmed that they will not go ahead with primary school assessments (SATs), secondary exams (GCSEs) or AS/A Level exams this summer and will not be publishing performance tables.

The DfE will work with the sector and Ofqual to ensure children get the qualifications they need.

More information about the awarding of qualifications this summer can be found here.

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.

This video explains what children can expect when they go back to school. Thank you to Warwickshire County Council for sharing this.

Here are some other 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. 

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