Due to the current situation with COVID-19, all our physical events and coffee mornings  have been postponed.  We now have a fully licensed Zoom package to enable us to do virtual groups and meetings, please keep an eye on Facebook for the latest news on events.


We will use this page to post regular official guidance and other information which you may find useful.  Please don’t struggle alone during these uncertain times, sometimes a quick text chat can be enough to lift you for a while; if you are on Facebook, there are a few support groups, including those set up specifically to offer help to people who are struggling to get essential items.

Press release –  Schools and colleges to reopen in full in September

Detailed plans have been unveiled for all children and young people to return to full-time education from September, read the full release HERE.

Update from SEND support services in Sunderland

Click the documents below to see updates from the various SEND support services in Sunderland, including contact details where appropriate.

Autism Outreach Team    aot

Behaviour Support  behaviour support

Language & Learning language & learning

Occupational Therapy  OT

Sensory Team sensory team

Government Guidance on the full re-opening of schools.

Click the indivdual headings to go to that specific guidance.

Guidance for the full opening of schools

This guidance will apply from the start of the autumn term.   It applies to all schools in England including:

  • local-authority-maintained schools
  • academies
  • free schools
  • alternative provision schools
  • pupil referral units
  • independent schools
  • boarding schools

Special schools and other specialist settings guidance

The plan is that all children and young people, in all year groups and setting types, will return to education settings full time from the beginning of the autumn term.   This guidance is intended to support special schools, special post-16 institutions (SPIs) and other specialist education settings, such as hospital schools, to prepare for this.

Further education and skills providers

Early years and childcare providers

Sunderland Covid-19 Control Plan (sunderland City Council)

As we move into the next phase of the response to the virus, local authorities have been asked to developCOVID-19 Control Plans as a means of preventing, rapidly identifying and swiftly responding to complexcases in high-risk places, locations and communities. This allows the response to be targeted and tailored tolocal circumstances and supports the move towards recovery from the pandemic. The aim is once again tocontain the virus.

Read the full document HERE.

Sunderland Parent Carer Forum Covid 19 Survey.

We have finalised and published the reports from our survey that we ran last month – thank you so much to everyone who took a moment to complete it.

You can read the reports HERE

Wearing face coverings on public transport from 15th June 2020

New rules came into effect on the 15th June 2020, requiring face coverings to be worn on public transport –  click to read the Safer travel guidance for passengers 

There are exemptions listed in the guidance – if you are unable to wear a covering,  there are various resources to download/order in case you are challenged.

Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme   have produced a ‘Face Covering Exempt’ card,  currently priced at 0.55p – there are many other ID cards etc that may be useful.

Stagecoach Buses (who operate in Sunderland) have a journey assitance card that you can send for at no cost.

PhotoSymbols (on Facebook) have produced cards to print.

Arriva buses have produced assistance cards to print.


Useful Documents if someone with LD/Autism is admitted to hospital.  Added 10/5/2020

Hospital Passport

“This Is Me, My Care Passport”   This passport has been developed for Sunderland clinical commissioning group by The Learning Disability Liaison Nurse Team based at City Hospitals Sunderland. Find the full passport HERE

Grab & Go Guide

The Grab and Go guide has been designed in partnership with people with learning disabilities, families and nurses.  It gives the information that doctors and nurses will need if you go to hospital because of COVID-19 and, for example, are struggling to breathe.  It is not a replacement for the everyday, detailed hospital passport above. You should update your hospital passport and take that to hospital along with the Grab and Go guide if you need to be admitted. The Guidance can be found HERE

Government clarifies guidance on exercise

The full guidance on what you can and can’t do regarding exercise can be found HERE .  

15. Can I exercise more than once a day if I need to due to a significant health condition?

You can leave your home for medical need. If you (or a person in your care) have a specific health condition that requires you to leave the home to maintain your health – including if that involves travel beyond your local area – then you can do so. This could, for example, include where individuals with learning disabilities or autism require specific exercise in an open space two or three times each day – ideally in line with a care plan agreed with a medical professional.

Even in such cases, in order to reduce the spread of infection and protect those exercising, travel outside of the home should be limited, as close to your local area as possible, and you should remain at least 2 metres apart from anyone who is not a member of your household or a carer at all times.

Below is a joint letter from Northumbria Police and Newcastle Gateshead CCG relating to the guidance.

Support advice letter police CCG re Coronavirus April 2020

NHS Visitor Guidance

With the majority of hospital visiting suspended, NHS have provided guidance for exceptional circumstances where one visitor –an immediate family member or carer –will be permitted to visit.

Find it HERE


You can also find information from Contact around hospital admissions, and hospital passports HERE

Some useful resources for LD and/or ASD

Information for families and individuals from Learning Disabilities England.

Find it HERE

Guidance for people receiving direct payments

Advice for people who buy care and support through a direct payment, as well as local authorities, clinical commissioning groups and those who provide care and support.

Find it HERE

Information Booklet

This information pack aims to support parents of children with an ASD or LD during this tricky time and will hopefully make things a little more manageable.

The booklet was produced by Child Health Professionals in Cardiff & Vale UHB.  Find it HERE

Need support or want to help?

Information from Sunderland City Council on getting help or volunteering your time during the current crisis.

NHS Letter

in relation to the use of the Clinical Frailty Scale(CFS) and the use of do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (DNACPR) with younger patients, those with a stable long term physical need, learning disability or autism.

nhs letter re CFS.DNR

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State  for Children and Families, Vicky Ford MP,  has written an open letter to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, their parents, families and others who support them. The letter signposts key Covid-19 guidance published over the past week.

You can view the full letter HERE

Information for families with disabled children from Contact.

Up to date info from Contact can be found HERE

Information on benefits during the current crisis HERE

Over the next few days I’ll add further links on where to find support, online activities such as zoo live cams, free books and other resources.   Please email spcfoffice@sunderlandpcf.co.uk if you have any links to share.