Page last updated: 3rd April 2020
Message from our Chief Operating Officer
During this challenging time, there is a need for us to change working practices in order to keep our children and staff safe. I need you to know that my number one priority is the safety of those children in our schools, children’s homes and fostering service. I understand that some of the changes to visiting protocols may be upsetting, please be rest assured that we will do all we can to ensure contact takes place, albeit at times using alternative media.
The senior team across our children’s services are committed to supporting our service through this difficult period. Every day we monitor each site to ensure that they have the correct supplies, children are feeling well and various quality aspects. We monitor for government guidance daily and enact it immediately. We have researched and implemented many innovative ways to deliver education in our schools and our children’s homes continue to amaze me with the creative activities they come up with in order to engage children. Our staff are certainly going the extra mile for which I am eternally grateful.
During these difficult times, it is important that we work together to combat this global pandemic. We must ensure that we keep communication lines open and support our children 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, staff member but most importantly our children.
Chief Operating Officer
Priory Education and Children’s Services
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 will continue. 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. Due to the ‘stay at home’ agenda we are reviewing alternative ways in which we can offer assessments through Skype and other online communication platforms, as the three-week period of stay at home is concluded.
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, 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.