Easter Holidays and Placement Stability - Social Worker FAQs

Apr 9 2020

Are schools and pre-school settings open during the Easter holidays?

Practically all schools will be remaining open over the Easter holiday with most remaining open on both Bank Holiday Friday and Monday.

Schools are communicating their exact arrangements to parents and carers directly. This is emergency childcare for the children of workers critical to the Covid-19 effort and vulnerable children. A few schools are conflating provision with other nearby school but not many. Again, the exact arrangements will be communicated to each parent or carer by the school. A small number of schools will be closing because parents and carers eligible to access the provision have chosen not to do so and therefore there is no demand for the school to be open. If parents or carers experience any difficulties accessing provision they should email epinfocell@hants.gov.uk and LA officers will do what they can to assist.

What about preschools, childminders and nurseries during the Easter holidays?

As per Government guidance re Early Years settings and closures (April 1 2020), early years and childcare settings and schools are encouraged to continue to look after critical workers’ children and vulnerable children throughout the Easter holidays.

Contact childcare@hants.gov.uk if there are any issues with early years provision being closed.

In summary, schools, and all childcare providers, are therefore being asked to continue to provide care during the Easter holidays for a limited number of children - children who are vulnerable, and children whose parents are critical to the COVID-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.

Will the provision be free for the children of key workers and vulnerable children including those who are looked after?

Yes, the provision being put in place by schools will be free for these groups of children.

I think a child may now need some on school site provision because there are signs that their care placement is under strain. What should I do?

If the situation has changed, please get in touch with the child’s school to request on site provision. This offer remains in place and should be available if needed. The Headteacher and carer can work together to determine the days and times which can be individualised to the child’s needs – there is flexibility to offer part time provision for example.

The LA would not expect numbers of vulnerable children attending school to be large but there may be exceptional examples such as a children’s home struggling due to low staff numbers. Childcare provision during the day might make all the difference in keeping the home open. Schools are asked to be flexible in responding to such requests.

What about transport if this is needed?

If it is difficult getting a child to a school, it is possible to request help from the school transport team, though please bear in mind that this may take a little time to set up and that a child may have to cope with another unfamiliar adult e.g. if their usual transport is not available.

What happens if carers are informed that the school is shut for the Easter holidays?

This may be because no carers/parents have requested this provision during the holiday period. However, if it is needed, please confirm this with the Headteacher and encourage carers to get in touch with the child’s school as soon as possible. The school should be able to provide an onsite provision or signpost carers to an alternative provision offer for the Easter holidays. If this is not possible, we would encourage social workers to alert the Virtual School so that we can put you in touch with the appropriate LA officer from School Improvement.

What if my usual point of contact – the Designated Teacher is on leave during the Easter break and I need to speak to them?

We have asked DTs to make sure that there is an alternative “DT contact” in place during this time, that this is known by the staff on site, and that the DT provides the named “DT contact” with the Virtual School’s contact details should support be needed.

Please get in touch with us at the Virtual School if you need any help or support. Some of the team will be on leave, but there will always be a member of staff checking the Virtual School inbox and phones each day. The answering machines on 01962-835227/835229 will be checked regularly by staff who are working remotely. You can also send an email to our shared inbox virtualschool@hants.gov.uk. If you could please enter 'Reply Required COVID19', this will enable a member of our team to identify the email and ensure you receive a prompt response.