Coronavirus advice and support for Schools

The City of Wolverhampton Council Educational Psychology Service is committed to supporting children, families and schools during the Covid-19 pandemic. Below we provide an overview of support that you can access from us and resources available online.

The Coronavirus is presenting many challenges for us all, with restrictions to normal life, impacts on social relationships, a new way of school and work life, and uncertainty about the future. We know that schools have been working extremely hard during this time and they have a significant responsibility now to provide care for the children of keyworkers and vulnerable children and young people. Schools are also trying to keep in touch with and provide work for pupils who are staying at home and maintain staff safety and well-being.

Five key messages for supporting children and young people’s emotional well-being:

1.    Make time to talk and keep in touch: For those children still attending school, use the timetable to provide children with time to talk and to understand this unexpected change in their circumstances. For some children at home, relationships with school staff will have been very important for their well-being; helping these children to feel that they are not forgotten is crucial. Consider ways to keep in touch with these children remotely via phone calls, emails or sending video messages.

2.    Be understanding when setting learning tasks: Schools should be sensitive to the fact that families are under many pressures at the moment and so setting a child a ‘full timetable’ of work, as if they were at school, is not going to be possible. Such an approach risks leading to conflict and heightened stress at an unsettling time. This is particularly important where households have a number of children attending school and where parents are having to work from home.

3.    Prioritise mental health and emotional wellbeing: There will be some cases where children and families may be experiencing significant levels of anxiety due to the general situation or a family member being ill. This may mean that for these children focusing on their wellbeing and mental health is the priority, rather than educational activities.

4.    Signpost children and families to support: There is lots of information on the internet and social media and this can feel overwhelming for some people. Signpost children to support and guidance from Kooth (free online counselling service) and Young Minds. Signpost families to our websiteguidance from the World Health Organisation and consider whether they would benefit from our free parent consultation service (information below).

5.    Make time for your emotional wellbeing as a keyworker during this time: Teachers are doing an amazing job providing care and education for children of keyworkers and those in vulnerable groups, whilst also maintaining links with and providing work for children who are at home. This can be very stressful, tiring and anxiety provoking and so ensuring that you make time for staff well-being is essential. Check-in regularly with your staff and organise staff peer support groups who can keep in touch virtually via tools such as Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Teams. There is a useful article in TES talking through 7 ways teachers can protect their mental healthWe can provide telephone support for staff and they can also access support and guidance from Education Support, who have a free, confidential helpline for all those working in education.

We want to support schools and settings within the City of Wolverhampton to do this and are offering support through the following ways:

  • If you have a Service Level Agreement with us
    Please speak to your link Educational Psychologist who can provide remote support (via phone call, video call or email). We can help in the following areas:
    • How you can best support the well-being of pupils.
    • How to promote the well-being of staff.
    • Consultations for families regarding supporting their children at home.
    • Remote support for children and young people who are struggling with the change to their lives.
    • Offering supervision or coaching for staff.
    • Critical Incident support following bereavements.
    • Planning for when schools re-open to all pupils.
  • If you do not have a Service Level Agreement with us
    Please email inclusionsupportadmin@wolverhampton.gov.uk and one of the services Senior Educational Psychologists will contact you to discuss support we may be able to provide.

Useful resources for schools:

Up-to-date local information from the City of Wolverhampton Council:

City of Wolverhampton coronavirus advice and information

Wolverhampton Information Network

 

Talking to children about Coronavirus:

A guidance document from the British Psychological Society

A book for children about coronavirus illustrated by Axel Scheffler (illustrator of the Gruffalo) aimed at children aged 5-9 years-old.

 

Coronavirus and UK School Closures:

Support and advice for schools and parents/carers from the British Psychological Society

 

Supporting children’s mental health and well-being:

Young Mind’s resource

A useful guidance page from Childline which includes ’10 tips to cope during lockdown’

A list of organisations focused on children and young people’s mental health and well-being complied by Mental Health First Aid England

Online Counselling Service available for children who attend schools in Wolverhampton delivered by Kooth

 

Supporting children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities:

Supporting children who have an Autism Spectrum Condition

Easy Read information about Covid-19 developed by Mencap

The Wolverhampton Outreach Service supports mainstream schools to more confidently meet the needs of children with SEND and has put together information for parents who are supporting children with SEND at home.

The Council for Disabled Children have gathered a list of resources and guidance for parents and education practitioners.

A podcast for parents focusing on helping children who have autism during the Coronavirus pandemic from the Association of Child and Adolescent Mental Health (ACAMH).

 

Loss, bereavement and critical incidents:

Coping with Crises: a Guide for Schools and Services for Children & Young People within the City of Wolverhampton Local Authority

A resource for supporting children who have been bereaved from Child Bereavement UK

Dealing with bereavement and grief during coronavirus (a resource from Cruse Bereavement Care)

Telling a child someone died from coronavirus – a resource from Winston’s Wish

Coronavirus: how to say goodbye when a funeral isn’t possible – a resource from Winston’s Wish

Wolverhampton Educational Psychology Service bereavement support offer during the Coronavirus Pandemic

 

Looking after your own Mental Health and Well-being:

An NHS resource about mental well-being whilst staying at home

Information from the Mind Mental Health Charity

Support and guidance from Education Support, who have a free, confidential helpline for all those working in education.

Teacher Resilience during coronavirus school closure: Advice from the British Psychological Society

Lots of practical ideas for supporting mental health and wellbeing of school and college staff in this short document from the Anna Freud Centre

 

Keeping children safe online:

Resources from the NSPCC

A parents’ guide to technology from the UK Safer Internet Centre

Guidance to follow if you are concerned about abuse online

 

Supporting your child’s learning at home

A guide about home learning from Education Otherwise – the 10 key messages on page 1 are really helpful.

A list of online resources from the Department for Education to support home education

Guidance from the Inclusion Support Specialist Learning Support Service about supporting your child’s learning at home: