COVID-19: Children, Education and School closures

Advice for parents, schools, nurseries and children’s centres.

Children and education

Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, there will be disruptions to the usual services offered by the Council and its services, children’s centres, youth clubs and schools, including the usual access to meals and in-school support. 

Family Information Service

Families in Kensington and Chelsea can get advice and inspiration during the Covid-19 pandemic using the Family Information Service. The site has resources for parents to support children’s learning at home and activities for those aged under five all the way up to those ready to start secondary school. Learning and teaching from home is a new and unfamiliar situation for countless families across the country, and the Family Information Service site has tips for that too, with smart tricks on how to convert regular things you’ll have around the house into immersive lessons and activities. Visit the Family Information Service website for this and more.

Schools

Statement from Bi-borough Executive Director of Children’s Services

The Council has worked with all local schools to keep them open throughout the Coronavirus pandemic for vulnerable children and children of critical workers. We know how vital it is for a child’s development and wellbeing to be in school, particularly for the most vulnerable children.

The Council is supporting its schools to complete their risk assessments to help get children in nursery, reception, Years 1, and 6 back as soon as possible, as well as supporting plans to enable some face to face contact for students in Years 10 and 12. However, the safety of children, their families and staff will always be the top priority.

Therefore, we are providing flexibility for our schools in planning for a phased return for small groups of eligible children from 1 June onwards. Heads and governing bodies are best placed to know what measures need to be put in place to enable this safe return and we offer schools our full support for the plans they are putting in place. The Council is working closely with public health professionals who have confirmed that this phased approach is the right course of action.

Sarah Newman, Bi-borough Executive Director of Children’s Services

Schools have been open for children of key workers and vulnerable children throughout the pandemic. Now, following government advice, schools will see pupils return to school in a phased approach from 1 June 2020 onwards.

Pupils in reception class, Year 1 and Year 6 will be encouraged to return to schools where new measures have been put in place to aid social distancing and allow for safe learning in the classroom.

The Government has advised that schools need to speak to their school catering provider to see if they can prepare meals or food parcels that could be delivered to or collected by families. They are developing a national approach to providing support through vouchers and will provide further details shortly, but schools are being told that if they close and cannot provide meals or food parcels, they should offer an alternative such as ordering supermarket and shop vouchers directly from retailers.

Government has shared guidance on free school meals.

Public Health England has shared the latest advice for schools on the Government website, including posters for use in schools.

 

Children’s Centres

We have closed all children’s centres in the borough until further notice.

We know these are difficult times for many families, but it is important that we put your health and safety first.

We are committed to supporting you and your family and will be offering virtual one-to-one support. We are contacting all families on our database by email or text to see what support you may require in the coming months.

We have already invited families across the borough to safely collect some home play resource packs for your children. 

Those interested in receiving an activity pack should call 020 7938 8400 or email childrenCentresNorth@rbkc.gov.uk 

Families who need one-to-one advice, guidance and support over the phone are encouraged to call our staff for support on 020 7938 8400.

One-to-one support for families is also available by calling Early Help on 020 7598 4601 or 020 7361 4129 or by emailing us at earlyhelp@rbkc.gov.uk

 

Youth Clubs

The following centres are closed:

  • Chelsea Youth Centre, SW10 0EQ
  • Lancaster Youth Centre, W11 1QS
  • Earl’s Court Youth Club, SW10 9AF
  • Golborne Youth Club, W10 5QJ
  • Harrow Club, W10 6TH
  • Dalgarno Club, W10 5LE
  • Rugby Portobello Trust, W11 4EY
  • Al-Manaar Youth Club, W10 5YG

Youth Club providers are looking at how they may be able to continue to support young people remotely and online and in line with public health guidance.

 

Support for hardship or difficulties

Current unprecedented events may affect the emotional wellbeing and mental health of many children and young people in the borough. It is critical that all children, young people and their families are aware of the support available to them and can access this over the coming weeks and months.

There is a wide range of support available online, by phone and by text message. In addition to this, our usual face-to-face services are changing the way they work so that they can continue to provide support remotely. 

Healthy London has developed a Mental Health Toolkit for schools in partnership with Public Health, the NHS, London Councils and the Mayor of London. Supporting children with their emotional wellbeing and mental health is a growing priority for health services and for schools. We encourage school leaders and staff, health care professionals and commissioners to use the toolkit for a wide range of information and guidance on how to promote emotional wellbeing and mental health within schools.

Read the Knowing your mental health leaflet for information and contact details of organisations that are available to help.

Knowing your mental health

Access to resources and information that may be useful to families and those working with children and young people who have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are available on our SEND Local Offer website.