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Changes to our services for children with SEND

How our services for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) will operate during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
How to contact the SEND team

The SEND Team is available by phone on 020 3049 1475 and by email at sen@lewisham.gov.uk.

Annual reviews
  • Annual reviews can still be completed via phone and emailed to the SEND Team to be processed.
  • Annual reviews may be postponed until further notice.
  • Placement panels to be run remotely.
Consultations with other settings

Consultations may still be sent to other settings, though exemptions to the 15 day response time may be made in line with present circumstance of the school consulted with.

Education, health and care needs assessment (EHCNA) requests
  • This process may experience major delays due to COVID-19 and the Government’s guidelines regarding social distancing and self-isolation.Requests will still be received and processed, as per usual.
  • Parents and schools will still receive a decision within six weeks, as per usual
  • Panel meetings to discuss requests to assess will be run remotely. Panel members will submit their views for an overall panel decision to be reached by panel chairs.
  • If the panel decides to assess a request, a request for professional advice will be commissioned in line with the panel’s decision.
  • If the panel decides not to assess a request, a phone call will be made to parents.
  • If the panel agrees to assess a request, the professional assessment contributing to EHCNA may be delayed due to COVID-19.
  • The six-week timeframe in which professionals are expected to provide reports may see major disruptions
  • We will offer modified education plan (EP) assessments for cases that do not require face-to-face observations and meetings with children and young people (CYP) and parents.
  • If the panel decides not to issue, the team will make a phone call to parents, where possible, instead of sending a letter.
  • If the panel decides to issue, letters will be emailed and a phone call will be made to parents, where possible. Plans will be drafted and emailed to parents and schools. Parents agreements will be sent by email.
  • Final plans will be emailed to school and parents.
Specialist Teachersand Educational Psychology Service (STEPS)

Educational Psychology Team

Activities continuing as usual

SLA work

  • For new referrals virtual/telephone consultations to be offered to staff parent/carers. This could be offered by individual educational psychologists (EPs) or in pairs remotely through zoom.
  • Writing up of consultation records and sharing of resources
  • Virtual consultations for systemic issues offered by individual EPs or in pairs remotely through zoom.
  • Listening and well-being support for staff and parents
  • Writing education health and care plans (EHCPs) (following telephone consultations), especially in our link schools where we know the SENCO/have met parent and child

Statutory work

  • With new EHCNAs, the special educational needs (SEN) caseworker will telephone the parent/ carer and ask if they are happy for a limited virtual assessment to be completed OR would they agree to statutory process being delayed. The SEN team will need to update STEPS on which EHCNA cases are to be delayed.
  • For EHCNA cases that have already been allocated to an EP or are yet to be allocated to an EP from the backlog: EP to telephone the parent/ carer and ask if they are happy for a limited virtual assessment to be completed OR would they agree to the statutory process being delayed or delayed further.

Early Years

  • For new referrals virtual consultations to be offered
  • Writing up of consultation records and sharing of resources
  • Virtual consultations for systemic issues
  • Virtual supervision for Portage workers as required
  • Attending virtual LA meetings

SEND panel

  • EP will read panel docs and make decisions re request and issuing
  • EP will complete the new panel reading template and forward to Enomwoyi or Barb for allocation. This includes making a decision about how much time needs to be allocated to the EP who will be allocated the EHCNA.
  • Cindy will make Chair decisions on Thursdays and e mail decisions to the EP. The EP will then let Cindy know whether they agree with her decisions (process to be confirmed).

Communications Clinic

  • Weekly involvement with the Communication Clinic consisting of follow up telephone reviews with parents of CYP with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

    Service Development

  • Continue work on STEPS Development Plan and add to in terms of COVID-19 response:
    • Communications
    • Working Together
    • Engagement
    • Data

    Continuing professional development

  • Continue reading and developing expertise in:
    • Attachment behaviour mentoring
  • Local authority general data protection regulation (GDPR) and Safeguarding online training

    Suspended activities

  • Attending face to face meetings
  • Face to face assessment work with CYP
  • Providing face to face training
  • The team are not running any training events unless directed otherwise.
  • Staff have been instructed to work at home as far as possible
  • All school/home visits are cancelled until further notice
  • Communications Clinic

Additional activities

  • Covering the backlog of EHCNAs
  • Weekly check ins with staff re emotional well being during COVID-19 pandemic
  • Virtual consultations with parents as required
  • Developing protocols for COVID-19
  • Bereavement
  • Developing C-19 relevant resources for staff and parents which can be uploaded to Services for School, Local offer and e mailed out
  • Making training packages that can be offered to schools in the future
  • School transition planning for vulnerable children

SpLD Team (Specialist Teachers)

Activities continuing as normal

  • The Team is in contact via email, text, phone and Zoom so that liaison about any school queries can take place and we can respond to any queries as soon as possible.
  • Parents and carers can obtain the team leader’s information from the Services for Schools website or by phoning STEPS business support if they have any queries.
  • The team is continuing to write up their reports and send to schools and parent/carers as normal with offers of telephone call discussion if anyone has queries
  • The team continues to send any relevant information about literacy/SpLD support to special educational needs and disabilities coordinators (SENDCOs) which they can share with parent/carers about learning at home but is conscious that at this early stage we don’t want to overwhelm them with too much information
  • The team is available by phone or email as usual to answer any queries, provide support and advice to SENDCOs or parent/carers

Suspended activities

  • The team is no longer going into schools for 1:1 face-to-face assessments of children and young people (CYP) unless directed otherwise
  • The team is not running any training events unless directed otherwise.

Additional activities

  • The team is planning work to complete once the reports have been written up
  • The work will consist of making training packages that can be offered to schools in the future
  • We aim to develop a series of useful advice/strategies for literacy handouts which will support teachers and parents with the recommendations that we make in our reports
  • We aim to draw up some advice sheets to put on the services for schools websites for parents based on reading and writing activities
  • Research and share relevant continuous professional development (CPD) opportunities
  • Team members expecting to complete their Assessing Practicing Certificate can complete this process.
Outreach Inclusion Service (OIS)

The Outreach Inclusion Service (OIS) is dedicated to supporting the social and emotional wellbeing of Lewisham’s children.  Assisting and working collaboratively with schools to make adjustments that will have a positive impact for all learners. As a service we offer every Lewisham mainstream Primary and Secondary school access to an Outreach Teacher and/or Mentor to offer support by way of improving the outcomes of children and young people (CYP) who are  most at risk of exclusion.

We work with:

  • CYP displaying varying degrees of challenging presentations
  • CYP vulnerable to poor attendance and/or refusing to attend school
  • CYP new to the borough with a history of challenging presentations
  • CYP reintegration from a specialist or AP (Alternative Provision) returning to a mainstream school
  • CYP who need support with transition particularly with changeover from primary to secondary school

In addition to this the OIS aims to be flexible in supporting  schools by taking into account their differing needs and requirements and  by responding in a ways that best accommodate their needs with their more vulnerable CYP.

How we can help

During the uncertain times of the COVID-19 outbreak, the OIS is still active and looking for ways to support CYPs and parents/carers.

If you would like any help with finding resources to occupy your young ones or timetabling your days to help build a routine, our team is here to help you. Within the team we have qualified counsellors and therapists who can offer sessions with CYPs and parents/carers, aiming to help people better cope at this trying time.


In the interest of everyone’s health we will mostly be working remotely. You can reach us via email or by calling us using the contact details below.


Name Job title Phone number Email address
Eva Tabaton Outreach Manager 07720 091 659 e.tabaton@newwoodlands.lewisham.sch.uk
Adrian Cairns Outreach Teacher 07720 091 661 a.cairns@newwoodlands.lewisham.sch.uk
Pat McCarthy Outreach Teacher 07720 091 660 p.mccarthy@newwoodlands.lewisham.sch.uk
Deb James Outreach Teacher 07720 091 658 d.james@newwoodlands.lewisham.sch.uk
Freddie Smith Outreach Mentor 07802 621 897 f.smith@newwoodlands.lewisham.sch.uk
Manny Brown Outreach Mentor 07456 492 478 e.taiwobrown@newwoodlands.lewisham.sch.uk
Michelle Singh Outreach Mentor 07720 091 655 m.singh@newwoodlands.lewisham.sch.uk
Dani Ashley Outreach Mentor 07515 416 379 d.ashley@newwoodlands.lewisham.sch.uk
Paris Archer Outreach Mentor 07921 924 625 p.archer@newwoodlands.lewisham.sch.uk
Monique Eastmond Outreach Mentor 07720 091 663 m.eastmond@newwoodlands.lewisham.sch.uk
Maggie Martin Outreach Teacher 07720 091 665 m.martin@newwoodlands.lewisham.sch.uk
Penny Hunter Outreach Teacher 07939 028 090 p.hunter@newwoodlands.lewisham.sch.uk
Ellen Stewart Outreach Administrator 0208 325 4579 e.stewart@newwoodlands.lewisham.sch.uk


Preparing for Adulthood (PFA)
  • The PFA team will move forward to meet the 31 March 2020 deadline. If consultation has been sent out to settings and it has not been replied to within 15 days, the PFA team will still finalise and name placement in the education health and care plan for September 2020.
  • Any reassessments will follow the same process, consent form to be sent out and once this is received the assessment process will begin. Caseworkers will notify family that it won’t be possible to assess face to face so they can look at delaying it or continuing it over the phone.
Sensory Teachers Team (STT)

Activities continuing as normal

  • Individual team members are available by work phone or email to answer any queries special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs) or parent/carers may have.
  • Parents/carers and SENCOs have also been emailed/texted with current arrangements for contacting the Team Manager, Eileen Clifford, and STEPS business support if they cannot get through to their team member.
  • The Team are in contact with each other via email, text and zoom so that liaison about any parent or school queries can take place and we can respond to any queries.
  • Outlook diaries are kept up to date and accurate so that working logs can be completed centrally
  • Those children and young people (CYP) and their families at the highest level of support (NatSIP level 1* and 1) are being offered weekly support via video conferencing/telephone.
  • The team are continuing to write up these contacts as well as recent visits and reports and send to schools and parent/carers as normal, with offers of telephone call discussion if anyone has queries.
  • The team continues to send any relevant information about to SENCOs but are conscious that at this early stage we don’t want to overwhelm them.
  • The team manager continues to carry out supervision, case list management, budget monitoring, quality assurance and all other management duties.

Suspended activities

  • Staff have been instructed to work at home as far as possible
  • Weekly Teacher of the Deaf groups at Kaleidoscope are cancelled until further notice
  • All school/home visits are cancelled until further notice
  • Training for school staff is cancelled until further notice
  • Attendance at external meetings/training is suspended