Last updated: 9th June 2021
Following the introduction of the restrictions across all four parts of the UK, we have reviewed all national guidance, statements and requirements related to Covid-19 and are consistently implementing them as required across our full range of services, as we have done throughout the pandemic.
We have adjusted our visiting and leave arrangements alongside the new national guidance for the particular types of service. If you believe the service supporting your loved one may be affected by these revised national arrangements, please contact the site directly.
Message from our Chief Operating Officer
As we begin to move out of lockdown and follow the roadmap to what is the new normal, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family all the best from the Priory Education and Children’s Services team.
For many of us, 2020 was an extraordinary and challenging year. Across our services, working practises changed to ensure that we continued to keep our children and staff safe. As we adjust to the latest national restrictions, and the changes that will come, I wanted to reassure you that the safety of every young person in our schools, colleges, homes and fostering service remains my number one priority.
The senior team at Priory Education and Children’s Services continue to review government guidance daily and enact it immediately. We also monitor our services on a daily basis to ensure that they have the additional resources they need and that children and young people are feeling well. We have daily reviews of the impact of Covid-19 on our services, so that we are also responsive to any situation which may arise.
Despite the restrictions that we face, our staff are committed to ensuring that the children and young people are supported to have positive experiences and to enjoy their lives. As well as implementing innovative new ways to deliver education and care throughout the pandemic, staff teams are also coming up with many creative ideas to engage young people. Our staff are certainly going the extra mile for which I am eternally grateful.
As we stride into this new year, it is important that we continue to work together to combat the global pandemic and any further changes it may bring. We must ensure that we keep communication lines open and support our children and young people with both their physical and mental health. My team and I will do all we can to ensure that we support each Local Authority, parent and staff member, but most importantly our children and young people.
Chief Operating Officer
Priory Education and Children’s Services
Education during this time has had to change under the government recommendations of social distancing. With this is mind, our education teams at Priory have been utilising a wide range of digital platforms that can be tailored to support the learning styles of our pupils and enhance the educational experience for children and young people, who may not be able to attend their education due to Covid-19.
Our education services are currently operating in “Bubbles” and this arrangement has been communicated to the children, young people, carers and families. All of our services have Covid secure arrangements in place, which are reviewed regularly to ensure compliance with current national guidance, so that children and young people can continue to attend with some modified procedures at their school or college. We monitor the impact of Covid-19 on our services daily so that we are responsive to any situation which may arise.
We continue to review all national guidance and update our policies and procedures where necessary, and we have given particular attention to our safeguarding policy to support the enhanced online teaching methods we have put in place over this period. We are confident that we can continue to deliver the highest quality education possible during this time, as well as continuing to safeguard our learners.
Personal protective equipment (PPE)
Priory Education and Children’s Services as part of the Priory Group, is a component of a multi-nation network of services and supply routes. This gives us a wide array of expertise and resources, which have enabled the development of detailed contingency plans during the current Covid-19 pandemic.
By using the experience and systems already aligned through our Priory Healthcare and Adult Care divisions, we have been able to put in place a system of personal protective equipment (PPE) supply. This will give access to all sites a minimum of 72 hours of supply of all standard PPE set out in the National Infection Control Guidance. This emergency supply will provide enough time for our urgent supply system to engage, which allows for either the provision of PPE from our existing reserves or for supply from partner sites within the near vicinity to be provided.
We have access to supplies through the approved national supplier system with contracts established with a number of the main companies. In addition to this, we have the potential to make use of the National Supply Disruption Response (NSDR) and Local Resilience Forums (LRFs), which we have not yet needed to test.
There are clear protocols in place for the use of PPE and management escalation systems in place to ensure that any challenges within the system are able to be addressed on a 7 day a week basis.
Information on visiting
We are currently implementing social distancing in our education and childcare settings, as advised by the government. All visits will be screened prior to taking place and prior contact must be made with the service to discuss any visits. Individual services will conduct their own risk assessments around visitors and visiting, dependent upon the current presentation of staff and young people.
Our usual practice of receiving and reviewing referrals continues as we support children and young people in our services. We are committed to working closely with Local Authorities and families to ensure that children and young people have access to education and care. Our services have identified support in their regions for things such as staffing, resource, space if required and key skills, through their continuity plans.
We understand that Local Authorities will continue to require services for individuals whose changing placement requirements may override the restriction of movement set out by the government. For example, this could include children and young people who may be facing a children’s home closure. We will therefore continue to accept and review these referrals on a case-by-case basis.
For those who will require a new placement but the referral is not urgent, please do send these through to us as normal.
In the event of a child or young person being referred who is self-isolating, or is confirmed as having Covid-19, we will continue to process this request as usual and seek to offer a placement, once they are cleared as fit to move location. Where a decision has been made to admit a child or young person, please be assured that a thorough pre-admission checklist, which will include robust risk assessment, will be completed. This screening and assessment will take into consideration all relevant factors, such as the location the young person is coming from, their current health, potential exposure to Covid-19 and the current status of the Priory service into which they will be moving. All risk assessments will be signed off by a member of the senior leadership team, who are taking every possible step to ensure the continued safety of all young people and staff within Priory Education and Children’s Services.
It is important to us that Priory Education and Children’s Services is able to continue to support you and your service users during this time, and we commit to do all we can to ensure risks are managed and monitored, whilst continuing to facilitate placements, where all parties deem it safe. Discharges are not possible when a young person may be in isolation and we will work in partnership with the Local Authority to ensure support during this time.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Below you will find a helpful list of answers to the frequently asked questions (FAQs) we have been receiving at Priory Education and Children’s Services, regarding Covid-19.
We will be updating the information on a regular basis, therefore do revisit this website page. If you have any questions or specific placement enquiries, please do get in touch.