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Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice, including help if you are struggling financially

Dorset Council's SEND Local Offer

Dorset Council's Local Offer for children and young people from 0 to 25 years with special educational needs and/or disability (SEND) provides information, advice and support for children and their families.

Support for families of children with SEND during coronavirus

Find useful support and guidance  from the council for Disabled Children.

All children in England are expected to be back at school for the academic year starting in September 2020.

There are new rules in place to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Classrooms may feel different to before lockdown.

We know that the thought of your child going back to school after months of being at home may be worrying. You may have concerns about:

  • what your child's school day will look like
  • how they will cope with any changes
  • your child's health and care needs
  • whether your child will be safe

We have asked schools to continue to work with you to assess what impact these changes will have on your child.

Support for health needs

We've also been working with Dorset health providers to make sure we're still meeting the needs of children with the most complex needs.

Our frontline teams are currently looking at every child's situation and their needs. This is a difficult time and we know that it may be even more challenging for our SEND families.

Support for schools and educational settings

Our education team are working with local schools and educational settings. You will have been contacted by your school about arrangements.

Our commissioning teams are working with all of our service providers, including: 

  • residential settings
  • schools 
  • short breaks providers

This is so they understand their business continuity plans and to talk to them about different ways of delivering support to families if they close, either because of staff shortages or if they're forced to close. We're assessing where services may need to be delivered differently and how we'll support them to do that. 

Our teams are working with many community providers to consider how to help and support vulnerable families, particularly those who are eligible for free school meals.

We have already made extra resources available to food banks and are working with our schools and school meal providers to find the best way of supporting families who will need it over the coming months.

Education, health and care (EHC) plans

We're also working hard to keep the EHC plan process moving. Assessments for an EHC plan may look different as it becomes more difficult to do our work face to face. We may need to do more by telephone or video calls where possible. Our decision-making panels are moving to online meetings. We'll continue to review this. 

Sign up for our SEND newsletter for regular updates. 

SEND travel arrangements

We want to reassure you that we're following the advice from the Department for Education (DfE) when we arrange your child's school transport.

We'll continue to provide transport where needed and we'll contact you about any changes to the service.

If you decide to take your child to school yourself, you will not lose your school transport place. You can change your mind if your situation changes. Families can claim for petrol and wear and tear expenses for their journeys to school. This will not affect any benefits you may get. 

Contact the SEN Travel Team to claim your SEND travel expenses.

SENDIASS drop-in sessions

The SENDIASS drop-in sessions have been cancelled until further notice.

You can still contact SENDIASS by phone or email for support. 

Sign up to receive our SEND newsletter

Get our SEND newsletter for useful information about support and activities for families of children with SEND in Dorset.

Find out more about the support we can offer in this short video:


Contact the 0 to 25 SEND Assessment Team

Speak to a member of our 0 to 25 SEND Assessment Team if you have a question.

Find SEND information for BCP Council

Visit the BCP Council Local Offer

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