Educational Support Services

Information for schools and parents on continued access to essential services and who to contact for help.

Education Authority staff are working hard to ensure that essential education and support services continue to be provided and that children and young people are supported during this time.

You will find information here on which services are operating, how to access them and where to for help.

Special Educational Needs

During the period of school closure, EA SEN Pupil Support Services are continuing to provide remote advice and guidance, signposting and resources for the parents of children and young people with a range of special educational needs. Staff in EA Special Education Teams are working hard in exceptional circumstances progressing requests for Statutory Assessments so that Statements of Special Education Needs are issued or amended as soon as possible and that delays are kept to a minimum

Image: Special Education Needs

What support is available for children and young people with autism?

What support is available for children with literacy difficulties and dyslexia?

What support is available for children and young people with hearing impairment, visual impairment or multi-sensory impairment?

What support is available for children and young people with Moderate Learning Difficulties?

What support is available for children and young people with Down Syndrome and/or complex needs?

What support is available for children with language and communication difficulties?

What support is available for pre-school children with special educational needs?

What information is available for parents of children going through the Statutory Assessment process?

Parents can contact the SEN Helpline on 028 9598 5960, where staff will be able to assist with any queries relating to Statutory Assessment. The SEN Helpline is available from 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays).

Does the Covid-19 pandemic mean changes to the duties of parents, schools, health and education authorities?

During the Covid-19 pandemic, duties in relation to Special Educational Needs have been modified in line with temporary legislation issued by the Department of Education. These modifications relate to the duties of the Education Authority (EA), schools, boards of governors, Health and Social Care Authority and parents.

The modified duty states that EA, schools boards of governors, HSC Authorities and parents should make their best endeavours to meet their original duty.

In relation to EA, the modification applies where it is difficult for EA to meet its original duties because of the temporary closures of schools, or where education or health staff have been relocated to meet other essential services due to coronavirus.

During the COVID 19 Pandemic, EA staff who work in Special Education are mainly working from home, in line with government advice. Special Education has had to consider how best to deliver critical services. This includes statutory assessments, arranging placements and provision for pupils with special educational needs. It also includes the issue of documents such as proposed statements, amendment notices and final or amended statements.

During this time, EA’s priority is to ensure that the provision of suitable school places are available for all pupils and that delays are kept to a minimum. 

Covid-19 means that communication will also change from visits to schools and paper documents issued via the postal system, to telephone calls and the issuing of documents by email. Steps have been taken to ensure that this is done safely and that personal information and privacy is protected.

Paper copies of correspondence and documents will be available to be sent out to parents, on request, when the EA staff are no longer required to work from home.

The Department of Education Notice in relation to the modification of duties can be viewed here: DE Temporary Modification Notice

For queries relating to Statutory Assessment, parents can contact the SEN Helpline on 028 9598 5960. The SEN Helpline is available from 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays).

Transport

Current arrangements during Covid-19 outbreak

Is transport being provided for children whose parents have been identified as key/critical workers that are going to school?

No. Home to school transport is not currently being provided to children attending either special or mainstream schools in these circumstances.

When will transport start running again?

This will be kept under review however it would be our intention that Home to School Transport services will become operational when schools reopen to all pupils and this will be communicated via the website www.eani.org.uk and EA social media platforms.

I submitted an exceptional circumstances/road safety appeal, when will I hear about this?

Transport Appeals are not currently being processed for the 2019/2020 school year.
This will be kept under review and as the situation progresses.

I recently applied for an annual Parental Allowance payment, when will I receive this?

We believe that the majority of these payments have been processed, however if you have made application and have not yet received payment please email your local office with full details and we will endeavour to respond as soon as possible https://www.eani.org.uk/transportcontacts

I am a key worker whose child is attending school and I apply monthly for my Parental Allowance.

  You will be entitled to your monthly payment and claim forms can be submitted to your local office https://www.eani.org.uk/transportcontacts.

I am not a key worker and I apply monthly for my Parental Allowance.

Payments will be made up to and including the 20 March 2020 and claim forms can be submitted to your local office https://www.eani.org.uk/transportcontacts
However, payments will not be made for any dates that the schools are not fully operational.

Transport Arrangements for the academic year 2020-21

How do I apply for transport for September 2020?

The online transport application process is now available for Primary Applications, to apply access here.

Post Primary schools applications will open on 16 June 2020.

Our eligibility checker can also be accessed at transport.eani.org.uk/EligibilityChecker

 

I applied recently online, when will I hear about my transport?

The Transport Section will endeavour to process applications as quickly as possible however we ask for your patience during this time as the coronavirus outbreak has, and will, continue to impact upon our business.

Will I get a new travel pass for the new academic year?

For the new academic year 2020-21Translink passes will be sent directly to the schools for collection as in previous years.

My child is due to go into Year 13 in September, do we have to reapply?

In light of current circumstances it has been decided that current Year 12 students DO NOT need to re-apply for transport assistance for the incoming year 2020/21 unless they:

  1. Change school and/or address
  2. Attend a school that does not have Yr 13 & 14 provision

If any of the above exceptions apply you must apply online as usual - www.eani.org.uk/financial-help/home-to-school-transport

Otherwise, all current transport arrangements for Year 12 will roll-over for the next school year.

My child has a statement of special educational needs and requires transport assistance. How will I know what transport arrangements are in place for the new academic year 2020-21?

Transport will continue to work alongside colleagues in Children and Young People’s Services (CYPS) and given the recent circumstances and impact upon our operations, we would ask for your patience during this time however we will do our utmost to have transport in place for the new academic year.

Private Operators

My contract for EA Home to School Transport is due to end in August 2020 – do I still need to register with E-tenders NI and apply for lots through the new Dynamic Purchasing System?

Yes. All operators who wish to be considered for runs from September 2020 onwards will need to be registered onto the Dynamic Purchasing System. 

I am a taxi driver, will I get paid while the schools are closed?

The Education Authority has issued correspondence to all private operators currently on contract to provide home to school transport services confirming arrangements until the end of June.
You are advised to speak directly with your company in this regard.

My private taxi/ bus is no longer compliant due to delays with PSV testing / issuing of driver licence renewals etc – will I lose my contract?

No. However Operators should ensure they comply with government guidance issued by the Department of Infrastructure during this time.

Further Transport Advice and Guidance

If there are any queries/issues that have not been addressed here, you can email hometoschool.transport@eani.org.uk.

Please note that this account will not respond to queries relating to individual pupils or specific school transport routes. 

Child Protection Support Service (CPSS)

The EA Child Protection Support Service will continue to be available by telephone to provide advice and guidance in relation to safeguarding concerns that arise during online interactions with children or young people, specifically school based staff, education professionals and youth service staff.
Across Northern Ireland 10 Multi Agency Risk Assessment (MARAC) meetings continue to take place. These meetings are arranged to take place every two weeks or monthly as required. At these meetings safety plans for victims of high risk domestic abuse and their children are discussed. The education sector is represented at these meeting by Designated Officers who provide information from and to schools that are open and EA services as appropriate.

I work in a school and need Child Protection advice. Is the EA Child Protection Support Service (CPSS) Helpline still in operation?

The CPSS Helpline is still functioning as normal. Callers can make contact via the same telephone number, 028 95985590 and will be able to receive advice and guidance from a Designated Officer.  Alternatively you can also email (Monday - Friday, 9.00 - 5.00)

Child Protection

Helpline: 028 9598 5590

Antrim

CPSSAntrim@eani.org.uk

Armagh

CPSSArmagh@eani.org.uk

Belfast

CPSSBelfast@eani.org.uk

Dundonald

CPSSDundonald@eani.org.uk

Omagh

CPSSOmagh@eani.org.uk

Children in Entertainment & Employment Team (CEET)

ceet@eani.org.uk

 

I was scheduled to attend Child Protection training. Is it still going ahead?

Given the unprecedented situation with Covid-19, training has been postponed.  However, EA staff are busy increasing the quantity of online materials available for Designated Teachers, Principals and EA staff to ensure your knowledge is kept current.  The current suite of CPSS resources are available at: https://www.eani.org.uk/school-management/safeguarding-and-child-protection/resources

I am a member of the School Safeguarding Team. How do I keep in contact with other agencies working with children and young people?

You should telephone relevant agencies such as a Social Services and confirm who your contact is. Schools should maximise their websites and social media presence to make available their contact information generally.

I am a teacher and a child has made a disclosure while I was speaking to him/ her online or I am concerned about the child’s welfare. What should I do?

Child Protection and Safeguarding concerns follow the same process, whether they happen online or face to face.  You should adhere to your school’s child protection policy and contact the Designated Teacher, Deputy Designated Teacher or Principal.  They can then make contact with the CPSS helpline for guidance and advice if necessary.  Designated Staff can also make contact directly to Social Service Gateway and or PSNI Central Referral Unit.

My school is currently closed. As a teacher should I still attend multi-disciplinary meetings?

Yes, during closures, school and EA staff will continue to be involved in multi-disciplinary meetings including Child Protection Case Conferences, Looked After Children Reviews and Family Support Meetings. The views and assessment of those staff who know the children and young people are crucial in the decisions made at these forums. 

Designated Safeguarding Staff should virtually attend via teleconferencing or skype. If this is not possible a report should be sent to the conference and shared with parents prior to the meeting.

I am a Designated Teacher for Child Protection or a School Principal. Should I share my contact details with the EA?

Yes. You should contact the CPSS and provide this information. Other agencies will often contact EA because they know many schools are closed. We will not share your information with another agency or professional.  We will make contact with you and ask you to contact the agency or professional involved directly.

As a teacher how much contact should I have with the children in my class?

It is important that your children and young people hear from you. The purpose of contact is to check in with parents, children and young people on the child or young person’s emotional health and well–being, educational needs and to provide feedback on any work completed.  At some point children and young people will return to school. Regular contact from their teacher is very beneficial for a child as it lets the child, young person and family know that the school community cares about them individually and can help mitigate against any anxiety or worry about returning. This activity is naturally aligned with your school’s Pastoral Care policy and will reflect the importance of the child’s well-being within all learning contexts.

  • Teachers should monitor the use of online teaching programmes and make contact with parents if a child has not accessed same on a weekly basis.
  • Nursery school teachers could consider contacting parents fortnightly.
  • Primary school teachers could make contact with parents of the children in their class and with permission contact with the children in their class regularly, for example, once per fortnight.
  • In post-primary schools, form teachers could consider making contact with the young people in their form class regularly, for example, once per fortnight.

Children in Entertainment and Employment Team (CEET)

Last updated 02 April 2020

I am a chaperone who was scheduled to attend training that has now been postponed. When will I receive my training?

Given the unprecedented situation with Covid-19, all training has been postponed.  However, EA staff are busy increasing the quantity of online materials available. Current resources for Chaperones are available at:

https://www.eani.org.uk/help-available/apply-for-child-employment-children-in-entertainment-and-chaperone-applications

My production company applied for performance licences however due to Covid-19 the production is now postponed. Will the applications be returned to me?

This information will be returned to you if requested. However, if the production is likely to take place at a later date, we can hold your information securely in line with Data Protection requirements. 

My child has a work permit. Given schools are closed can my child work more hours outside of what is agreed on the permit?

No. While schools are closed this is not a school holiday and remote learning is ongoing.

Post Primary Behaviour Support and Provisions

Direct delivery to young people is available for all Service users at EOTAS Centres across the region. Young people can access learning and pastoral support and guidance, as well as food and transport. Centres are open as per the usual operational hours where pupils are attending.

All young people have been provided with work packs (hard copy) for home learning collated by their teaching staff. These work packs have learning materials set for individual young people. Work packs are refreshed via email, picked up from the Centre or delivered to young people’s home. Young people return work for marking and feedback via email, return at pick up or through telephone communication feedback.

Some young people have been set-up on online learning platforms and teaching staff are delivering lessons directly to groups of young people. These sessions are delivered by 2 staff members as safeguarding for all is paramount. Parental/carer consent is in place for these sessions. 

Staff have an allocated cohort of young people with whom they make regular telephone contact via parents/carers to offer support and monitor progress. In addition, staff communicate via email about online learning platforms, work and food delivery and direct contact in Centres.

Staff may also speak with parents and carers, other Services and external agencies, as part of the Service Delivery Model. We acknowledge that our relationship with families is very positive, and we aim to ensure that this is maintained at this time.

Young people, parents and carers should contact their Centre staff directly for guidance and support.

I am the parent/guardian of a young person who had access to Post-Primary Behaviour Support in school, can we access this from home?

No Behaviour Support is not provided at home.
Please link with your young person’s school for advice and guidance should support be required.
Our Behaviour Support staff are in contact with schools to ensure each young person’s needs are being met as far as possible.

I am the parent/guardian of a young person who normally accesses education at a Post-Primary EOTAS Centre. Are these Centres still open?

All EOTAS Centres are open to all young people who are registered with that centre. Usual opening hours apply.
Transport assistance can be arranged through your Centre Manager if required.
Young people have also been provided with resources for online learning and work packs to support continued learning at home.
Staff are maintaining regular contact with parents and young people to support continued learning and offer support.

I am the parent/guardian of a young person who usually attends a Post-Primary EOTAS Centre but have decided to keep him/her at home. I am worried because they will be out of routine and will miss the contact with staff?

Staff have an allocated cohort of young people with whom they make regular telephone contact via parents/carers to offer support and monitor progress. In addition, staff communicate via email about online learning platforms, work and food delivery and direct contact in Centres.

Staff may also speak with parents and carers, other Services and external agencies, as part of the Service Delivery Model. We acknowledge that our relationship with families is very positive, and we aim to ensure that this is maintained at this time.

Young people, parents and carers should contact their Centre staff directly for guidance and support.

Who do I contact about my young person’s work, progress and pastoral needs at this time if they usually attend Post-Primary EOTAS?

You should contact your allocated staff member from EOTAS directly, or the relevant Centre Manager.

Intercultural Education Service

The Intercultural Education Service (IES) will at this time, continue to conduct essential services by email, mobile phone and online for all target groups including Newcomer, Roma, Traveller and VPRS asylum seekers.  This includes the translation of online home learning resources for schools, parents and pupils.

I am a member of the Traveller/Roma community, or am a newcomer to Northern Ireland. Can I get help to find my nearest school?

Yes. Please email ies@eani.org.uk or call the IES Help Desk on 028 9448 2210 for assistance.

I am a member of the Traveller/Roma community, or am a newcomer to Northern Ireland. Can someone help me complete school enrolment, school transport or Free School Meals applications?

Yes. Support is available from Karen Turner who can be contacted by email or phone:  Karen.Turner@eani.org.uk or 07765 411285.

How do I book an Interpreter or get some information translated into my home language?

Please email or call Karen Pollock at Karen.Pollock@eani.org.uk or 07850 927603.

Learning Resources & Contact Details

Links to useful on-line learning resources have been shared with partner agencies and communicated on-line and uploaded to the EA webpages.

 

Please note all contact information is available on the EA website at:

https://www.eani.org.uk/school-management/intercultural-education-service-ies

 

Newcomers

 Email: ies@eani.org.uk

Telephone: 0289448 2210

VPRS

Email ies@eani.org.uk

Telephone 028 9448 2210

Ciaran McPeake - 07739976790

Traveller Education Support

 

Telephone

Karen Turner - 07765411285

Intercultural Education Service

Email: ies@eani.org.uk

Telephone: 0289448 2210 

Kieran Shields - 07876136509

Education Welfare Service

Education Welfare Services continue to support schools, parents and others with concerns. The Service is reviewing all open cases and are maintaining contact with all those children and young people and their families who are currently referred to the service by telephone, to offer support as required.

The Service is also retaining links with the most vulnerable groups: - such as those involved in the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme (VPRS) (in co-ordination with the Intercultural Education Service (IES); those children placed on the Child Protection Register and Children Looked After (LAC) Cases.  

Information about the service, including information about the Movingforward.me, which is a resource used to provide support around study skills and transitions is available on the EA website at: https://www.eani.org.uk/parents/education-welfare-service/moving-forward  
http://www.movingforward.me

Our Contact details (Monday-Friday, 9.00-5.00): 

Ballymena - Tel: 028 2566 1266 or 07730284056 - Email: michael.kelly@eani.org.uk
Armagh - Tel: 028 3751 2386 or 07766477815 - Email: andrea.wills@eani.org.uk
Dundonald - Tel: 028 9056 6498 or 07793965022 - Email: paul.blanchflower@eani.org.uk
Belfast - Tel: 028 9056 4031 or 07899892425 - Email: heather.grimason@eani.org.uk
Omagh - Tel: 028 82411289 or 07970844530 - Email: patricia.devine@eani.org.uk 
Head of Service - Tel:07717732011 - Email: adrian.nugent@eani.org.uk

If you are unable to make contact on the number provided for your area, please ring one of the other numbers provided.

I am a parent and have had a recent court appearance for my child’s non-attendance at school. What will happen now?

All Education Welfare Service court cases have either been adjourned or withdrawn.
Your EWO will be in contact with you accordingly.

What can I do as a parent/carer to support my child and their learning?

  • Encourage and maintain good routines and boundaries within the home.
  • Take an interest in your child’s day and school work.
  • Encourage your child to complete school work in a timely manner.
  • Talk to you child about their day, their friends, their school work.
  • Communicate effectively with your child’s school/EWO.
  • Keep a diary/day book/planner of your child’s work.
  • Be mindful of your child’s perception of the current situation and encourage age appropriate news feeds. 
  • Listen and encourage your child.  Let them know you understand if they are worried.
  • Praise your child for their achievements and commitment at home and appropriately reward them.
  • Encourage appropriate contact with friends through social media.
  • Monitor your child’s usage of games consoles and the internet.

I am a school age mother – what support can I receive?

All School Aged Mothers (SAM) have a key contact worker within EA and involvement continues as long as the young person is happy to receive this help. Issues in relation to childcare and pathways towards a return to school or 3rd level Education can be addressed by the Education Authority SAM Team.
We are continuing to work in partnership with the Health and Social Care Family Nurse Partnership – (a cluster group of midwives) all issues of support can be raised within this multidisciplinary support forum. All SAM Co-ordinators are in regular contact with the SAM Group and are addressing identified medical needs in partnership with Family Nurse Partnership (Trust Support Service).
For new referrals to the Service, support is unchanged, and as soon as a referral is received, a co-ordinator is allocated immediately. SAM coordinators have been in contact with the Careers Service and with Student Finance, particularly for those SAM planning to leave school in June 2020 – and are able to signpost SAM to a number of Web chats and websites. These include:

If the SAM is still of compulsory school age, an Education Plan is put in place with the help of coordinators, to help plan for when the baby is born.
SAM coordinators can be contacted as necessary, should further advice be required concerning applications for student finance, which normally has to be completed by 25th May 2020.
The SAM coordinator is also able to direct SAM to information sites such as NETMUMS and MUMSNET to access reliable information from Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists for some very anxious pregnant SAMs. Information and advice on payments and benefits is also available by contacting the co-ordinator

Our Contact Details are (Monday-Friday, 9.00-5.00):

Telephone: 02882 411289

Armagh, Newry, Lisburn - lisa.grimley@eani.org.uk

Antrim, Newtownabbey - Yury.fleming@eani.org.uk

Derry, Omagh, Enniskillen - Janice.stewart@eani.org.uk

Belfast - Deborah.gormley@eani.org.uk

Ballymena, Coleraine - Adele.fulton@eani.org.uk

Primary Behaviour Support and Provisions

I am a parent/guardian of a child receiving primary behavioural support. How can Primary Behaviour Support and Provisions (PBS&P) support me at this time?

PBS&P will provide advice and support to those parents/carers of children currently referred to the service. The service will also maintain regular contact with pupils and parents/guardians identified as most requiring contact. PBS&P will be supporting pupils remotely through google classroom, online sites and resources, email, video chat/conferencing, hard copies of support packs and telephone contact.

I am a parent/guardian and my child usually accesses a partnership placement in a Primary EOTAS Centre. What is currently available to them?

Parents/guardians will have been contacted by a member of staff or teacher from the service to discuss their child’s individual circumstances and agree how they can be best supported including any bespoke support arrangements.
Arrangements will include the allocation of support packs for pupils and agreeing a schedule of frequent contact with pupils/parents by staff.
Primary EOTAS operational arrangements will remain under review and may change in the future.
 

I am a parent/guardian of a child receiving primary behaviour support. Who do I contact about my child’s support arrangements and pastoral needs at this time if they usually attend Primary EOTAS?

Primary schools and pre-school settings seeking to contact the service for advisory support should use either the service email address or contact one of the officers below directly:

primarybsp.enquiries@eani.org.uk

Locality South West (Armagh/ Omagh/ Fermanagh):Alison Curran - Alison.Curran@eani.org.uk

Locality North: Strabane/ Derry/ Coleraine: Clare Meehan - Clare.Meehan@eani.org.uk

 

Locality North: Antrim/ Ballymena/ Glengormley: Rachel Galbraith - Rachel.Galbraith@eani.org.uk

Locality East: Belfast/ Dundonald/ Newry & Mourne: Ruth Thompson - Ruth.Thompson@eani.org.uk

Between Monday-Friday, 9.00-5.00

The senior manager responsible for Primary Behaviour Support and Provisions is Andrea Kelly, Andrea.Kelly@eani.org.uk

Student Finance

Given the unprecedented situation with the Covid-19 Virus which continues to affect us all, the following questions and answers have been devised to assist parents and students with any concerns regarding Student Finance support.

Am I still entitled to the third instalment of my Student Finance now that I am no longer physically attending my course?

Yes. Although you may not be attending lectures or tutorials, most institutions will still be providing online tuition which you will be expected to access.  You are, therefore, still considered to be in attendance on your course and eligible for funding.

Even though all students have been asked not to attend their institutions, I had already made the decision to suspend/withdraw from my course. Am I entitled to Student Finance for the remainder of the year?

No. As you have suspended/withdrawn from your course, you will obviously not be taking part in any online tuition or submitting any required course work and therefore are no longer in attendance.  You need to inform your institution that you have suspended/withdrawn and also let your local Student Finance NI office know the date when you last attended.

I receive assistance from the Disabled Students’ Allowance to help me with my course. Can I still access my approved Non-Medical Help?

Yes. While most universities and colleges are now closed for teaching it has been agreed that essential Non-Medical Help can be delivered remotely to ensure you get the support you need.

Can I still get support for a Note taker to help with online lectures?

Yes. If you require a Note taker to take notes for you this can still continue for online lectures.  Remember that you may already have AT software which can be used to transcribe lectures into notes.

I have received a DSA 1 letter to confirm that I need to arrange a Needs Assessment with my institution to determine what support I will need on my course. How do I get one if the institution is closed? Will this delay any support I need?

You should contact the Disability Adviser at your institution by telephone or e-mail as soon as you can.  They will be able to advise you further as they can arrange to have the Needs Assessment carried out remotely via telephone or Skype.

I have just received my DSA 2 letter to confirm that I can order my equipment which has been approved through the Disabled Students’ Allowance. Will it be delivered as stated?

You should contact the equipment supplier using the number shown on the letter you received in order to get confirmation of delivery.

I am due to go abroad/on placement as part of my course. Am I allowed to go?

You should contact your institution for advice. If there are any changes to the information which you previously provided to us, you must inform us of those changes so that your entitlement can be amended i.e. you may no longer be due a higher rate of loan for study abroad.  You can do this by emailing your local Student Finance NI office.

I am due to commence a Higher Education course in September but I don’t know what will happen now that schools are closed and examinations will not take place. What should I do about Student Finance?

‘The portal for online Student Finance applications opened on 6th April. Please log on to www.studentfinanceni.co.uk  to make an application. Please complete your application with your first choice of course and institution and submit it before 30 April.  If there are any changes later and you attend a different course or institution you can let us know.  Do not delay your application as staff absences due to illness may cause delays in the processing timetable.

Who should I contact if I want to change from my current course to a different course in September?

You should contact the institution that you are currently attending and discuss the situation with them.  You should also make contact with the institution which you hope to attend if you have not already done so. When you confirm your new course and institution you must inform us by emailing your local Student Finance NI office.

I was / am in receipt of EMA and have a Customer Reference Number (CRN) but I don’t remember my password / secret answer.

You will need to ring the SFNI Call Centre on 0300 100 0077 and staff will guide you through the process to have your password / secret answer reset.
Please be aware, in response to government guidance on the COVID-19 pandemic, the Call Centre will also be operating with reduced staff.

Who should I contact if I want to change from my current course to a different course in September?

You should contact the institution that you are currently attending and discuss the situation with them.  You should also make contact with the institution which you hope to attend if you have not already done so.  When you confirm your new course and institution you must inform us by emailing your local Student Finance NI office.

Can I bring my Identity documentation or details of my sponsors’ income to my local Student Finance NI office?

Following recent Government guidance, we’ve had to restrict public access to Student Finance NI offices temporarily.  This means you won’t be able to contact us via phone or visit the office.  However you can continue to email your local Student Finance Office with your queries / attach any documentation you need to send us.  You can find the email address by accessing Find your local office on the SFNI website - www.studentfinanceni.co.uk

Please note, with limited office resources, it will take a number of days before you receive a response.

My parent has lost their job due to the Covid-19 virus and can no longer support me while I am on my course. Can I get any extra money?

If your household income has fallen by at least 5% you can ask your local Student Finance NI office to look at their estimated income before deductions for the current financial year.  Current year Income Assessment forms can be downloaded from www.studentfinanceni.co.uk

Income for the prior financial year must be fully verified before a reassessment on the current year’s income can take place.

I have had to give up my part-time job. Can I get any extra money?

No. You will not be entitled to any extra Student Finance.

Independent Counselling Service for Schools (ICSS)

Counselling sessions will be provided for post primary aged pupils via telephone and secure online video calling at the same time and day the counsellor is usually in school. ‘Drop-Ins’ will be delivered via telephone at the same time and day as normally provided. Referrals from teachers, pupils and parents can be facilitated through the School Key Contact/Deputy Key Contact who will hold and manage the waiting list. Weekly School Counsellor and Key Contact meetings will continue via telephone. Further information is available on the EA website: -

Our Contact Details (9am - 5pm Monday - Friday):

Sheila Gamble - ICSS Contract Manager Tel: 028 7186 4785
Nicola Topping – Tel: 07917525327

ICSS – Information for Schools

What counselling support is available for post primary pupils?

The Independent Counselling Service for Schools (ICSS) provides counselling for post primary aged young people in mainstream and special schools.

Has the counselling service changed since the coronavirus outbreak?

Because of the recent COVID-19 restrictions, it is not possible to continue with normal service delivery. The Education Authority wants to ensure that the current counselling provision in post primary and special schools will continue and therefore measures have been put in place to ensure that young people continue to be supported.

Instead of face-to face counselling in school, counselling sessions will be provided for young people via telephone or secure online video calling. This will be provided at the same time and day as the School Counsellor would normally have been in the school.

Drop-Ins sessions will be provided for young people via telephone. School Counsellors will provide a telephone contact number for young people to contact them at the same time and day as the School Counsellor would normally have been in the school.

How can young people self-refer for counselling?

Referrals for counselling will be arranged via the School Key Contact as normal.
The Key Contact will hold the waiting list and liaise with the School Counsellor to arrange the counselling.
The Key Contact will provide the Counsellor with the young person’s relevant contact details (with permission from the young person). 

Can parents refer their post primary aged child for counselling?

Yes, if parents are concerned about their post primary aged child, they can refer him/her for counselling by contacting the School Key Contact.

If I have any queries about accessing the school counselling service who do I contact?

Your school will be able to answer any queries in relation to the school counselling service.

EA Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT)

The Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) will provide telephone advice, resources and support as required for Principals.

Further Information and resources are available on the EA website at:

Our Contact Details:

Principals should ring the EA Helpline (028 3751 2515) if they require support. This will be monitored during office hours and out of hours. Please leave a message and contact number and all calls will be returned.

I am a school Principal. How can I contact the EA Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT)?

Schools can contact the EA CIRT through the regional CIRT Helpline 028 3751 2515.

When is the CIRT Helpline available?

The CIRT Helpline is available during office hours and out of hours.
Principals are asked to leave a message and contact details on the voicemail facility. Phone calls will be returned in a timely manner.

What support is available from the CIRT if a school experiences a critical incident?

During the coronavirus outbreak the EA CIRT will provide critical incident management advice, support and resources via telephone only.

Exceptional Teaching Arrangements (ETA)

Pupils who are currently referred to the Exceptional Teaching Arrangements Service (ETA) will continue to receive teaching support which will be facilitated via telephone contact and online learning. Parents and children will be advised of this and provided with advice on how to access this support.

Pupils who have no access to technology will receive learning packs to work on with the remote support of their teacher.

Resources have been provided to the children and young people supported by ETA.

Our Contact Details:
General Enquiries should be sent to eta@eani.org.uk Our emails are checked on a daily basis and a response provided.

N.B. There is no helpline telephone number but parents who are supported by ETA have access to local contacts should they require support to address issues or queries.

Is the Exceptional Teaching Arrangements Service accepting new referrals?

As schools are currently closed and given the current context, new referrals to ETA no longer apply. This will remain under review.

What supports are being offered to current ETA pupils?

ETA teachers will be supporting their current pupils remotely via a number of methods which will include, google classroom, online sites and resources, email, video chat/conferencing, hard copies of education resource packs and telephone contact.

I am a parent, do I need to be present when my child is in contact with the ETA Teacher via telephone/video chat/google classroom?

Telephone contact will be maintained on a regular basis each week from the ETA teacher to each of their pupils and/or their parent/carer.
Parental/carer cooperation is needed during this process to ensure continued support for their child, so yes it would be helpful if a parent/carer was nearby when the ETA teacher is in contact.

My child is an ETA pupil. Can they access their school’s online resources/remote learning packs?

Where possible ETA staff will support your child in accessing their school resources, however parents/carers should contact the registered school if they are having difficulty accessing the school resources.

My child is an ETA pupil. What is happening with external examinations?

ETA would advise that you keep informed via the CCEA website for GCSE and the OCN website for Essential Skills.
Alternatively feel free to ask your ETA teacher who can help you find the information you require.

My child is a Year 12 ETA pupil. Should my child continue with their curriculum since there are no external exams?

Yes, in as far as possible.
Predicted Grades for external exams haven’t been made yet, so continued evidence of course completion may still be required.

Nurturing Approaches in Schools

The Nurturing Approaches in Schools Service (NASS) will continue to provide advisory support to schools at this time in relation to nurturing approaches and emotional health and wellbeing. 

What about pupils who had been receiving support in schools?

For pupils that would have accessed support in school, arrangements are also being established to facilitate staff from Primary BS&P to make consented contact for learning and implementation of particular aspects of the pupil’s support plan.

Who can I contact?

Our Contact Details:

sean.irving@eani.org.uk

The senior manager responsible for Nurturing Approaches in Schools Service is Andrea Kelly Andrea.Kelly@eani.org.uk

 

Between Monday-Friday, 9.00-5.00

Children Looked-After Education Project

The Children Looked-after (CLA) Education Project Team will continue to promote the educational, social and emotional well-being of CLA, at key stage 2 (Primary 7), and currently involved in the Project, by supporting the team around the child using email, telephone and a consultative model of practice. This support is organised by a shared understanding of the impact of trauma and attachment on learning and development.

What resources are available?

A Designated Project Worker will make contact with individual Schools, Field Social Work, Residential Social Work and Supervising Social Work Staff. The following will be shared and learning implemented and reviewed against the needs of this specific cohort of CLA:

  • Putting Care into Education

http://www.education-ni.gov.uk/publications/looked-after-children

  • Library of Resources, including a quick reference guide
  • A Guidance paper on `Trauma and Attachment Informed Rooms and Spaces in Schools)
  • Calm Boxes (Meeting Sensory Needs)
  • The project will develop and make available a range of resources and products including: Directory of Resources and Tools to support home learning and emotional connection with CLA during the outbreak of COVID-19: Supporting Children Looked- after during the outbreak of COVID-19 – A Guide for Schools, CLA coping with exceptional School closures and Supporting Children Looked-after during the outbreak of COVID-19 – A Guide for Parents/Carers
  • Virtual Forum (Fronter) for School Staff to interact, share learning and good practice

 

In addition, there is a Project `Helpline` and `Electronic Post Box`. These are universal interventions available to all School, Health & Social Care Staff and CLA Partners who are supporting CLA of statutory school age, in education, across Northern Ireland. 

Who can I contact?

 
 

CLA Education Project Helpline

028 7051 1086

Electronic Post Box

lookedafterchildren@eani.org.uk

EA CLA Champion – Anne-Marie Bagnall

anne-marie.bagnall@eani.org.uk

Telephone – 07970 886 188

 

N.B.The mail box is manned by 3 members of staff and a duty rota has been established for calls to the helpline, between Monday-Friday 8.00-5.00

Admissions

Induction and Early Professional Development

When will induction and EPD courses resume again? Have beginning teachers missed any due to COVID-19 school closures?

No, the induction and EPD courses completed in March 2020 before the COVID-19 school closures and registration for courses in the 20/21 academic year will open at the end of August.  The first courses are usually in early October.

What can I do to complete my induction or EPD portfolio whilst schools are closed?

Teachers may be engaged in online teaching which they can use as evidence for their induction action plan or EPD professional development activity at the discretion of the teacher tutor.  Teachers can engage in online learning and add this to their induction or EPD portfolio, for example the induction and EPD section of the EA website, the induction and EPD section of the Microsoft TEAMS site (all teachers who attended a course this academic year and had c2k addresses are registered), induction and EPD Edmodo site (all teachers who attended a course this academic year are registered) and other sites with education sections such as Open university, Future learn and Coursera.

Will my salary be impacted if I have not completed induction or EPD?

No, a teacher progresses incrementally regardless of whether they have completed induction or EPD from MS1 to MS6 as long as they teach for a minimum of 26 days in 26 separate weeks in any academic year.  This is determined by pay branch in L/Derry. However, to progress to UPS1 (after MS6) the teacher needs to have completed EPD2 and 2 cycles of PRSD.

I have nearly completed induction/ EPD1/EPD2 before the school closure for COVID-19. Do I have to redo the year?

No, a teacher should retain the evidence they have obtained thus far and have a discussion with the teacher tutor when schools reopen.  All cases are different as teachers will be at different stages but where possible the teacher tutor and school will seek to progress the teacher.  If, for example, a teacher has only one more observation left to do, this may be conducted in any class, as a quality assurance.  This will be at the professional discretion of the school but it is possible to complete induction/EPD1 in a calendar year as well as an academic year and progress to EPD1/EPD2 in for example January 2021.

Is there a set amount of time for completing induction or EPD? Will this be reduced due to COVID-19 school closures?

Induction normally takes an academic year and the teacher completes 2 action plans and has 2 observations per action plan during this. EPD1 and EPD2 likewise normally take an academic year each and have one professional development activity with 2 classroom observations. Teachers progress incrementally from MS to MS6 as long as they teach a minimum amount of days per academic year regardless of whether they have completed induction or EPD. The current COVID-19 school closures should therefore not impact on teachers unless for example the teacher is completing EPD2 and is on MS6, in which case, schools will use professional discretion. The teacher tutor may wish to have a discussion with the teacher on the work conducted thus far and perhaps a classroom observation as quality assurance depending on the circumstances.

I am a subbing teacher and have not completed my induction or EPD yet, will I be disadvantaged due to COVID-19 school closures?

A subbing teacher will progress in the usual way but it requires flexibility and resilience. As long as you teach for a minimum of 26 days in 26 separate weeks in any academic year you will progress incrementally from MS1 to MS6 regardless of whether you have completed induction or EPD. It is possible to complete one action plan in one school, a second action plan in a different school or phase. It is also possible to do likewise with EPD1 and EPD2. Schools will be supportive and you should contact the teacher tutor in any school where you are for a sustained period of time. For example, it is possible to do an action plan with a set class, one day a week over 4 weeks etc. On the induction and EPD section of the EA website there is a notification advising teachers to update their NISTR details as current positions may be available.

Education Psychology Service

Where can I find out more about the Education Psychology Service?

Click here to find out more about the Education Psychology Service,

Free School Meals

Last updated: 20/05/2020