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Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

Maintaining connections

Maintain connection between children and trusted adults during lockdown?

The aim of this guide is to support schools to maintain key trusted relationships with children during the current climate.
The guide has been developed from questions and ideas taken directly from Devon schools with the intention of sharing good practice and widening understanding.

Why does connection matter?

Schools provide a safe base for all children. Schools connect individuals, groups and communities through shared experiences and supportive, trusted relationships.

Being the significant adult to a child is a vital role within a school or setting. The relationship between the significant adult and the child, instils feelings of safety, security, and belonging.

Many children will be missing these relationships that are so consistent, reassuring and familiar to them. Maintaining these vital relationships between adults and children in some way during the current climate is important and will help to:

  • Sustain trusted relationships
  • Support the child’s wellbeing
  • Maintain a sense of wider belonging and broaden the child’s current social engagement
  • Support successful reintegration back to school life when the time comes

Still together even when apart…

Connection for all

Make use of safe communication tools and online platforms. There are some great examples of creative practice across Devon schools with many different communication tools and platforms being used.

  • Record and upload videos of staff
  • Set class quizzes/fun tasks
  • Sing/sign together
  • Teacher Q&A sessions
  • Other creative ways to promote a sense of togetherness

A few fun ideas to enhance connection…

  • Sharing a little joke with your class – Brampford Speke C of E Primary School

  • A group of teaching staff share a quiz creatively – Brampford Speke C of E Primary School

  • Children and adults join in together – the Makaton Sing and Sign – My Lighthouse and Fight Song are wonderful – Mill Water School

  • Q&A session with a class teacher – Newton St Cyres Primary School

  • Staff fun being shared with the children – St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School

1:1 connection

Consider how the child’s significant, trusted adult can connect with them. Take into account the child’s individual needs, likes and dislikes and connect accordingly. Make use of safe online communication platforms, telephone or post to keep in touch.

  • Help the child to know that they can be separate from school/you but still be thought about. Let them know you are holding them in your mind. “I was thinking of you when I was…”
  • Let them know that you are okay and that you are missing them
  • Show interest in what they might have been doing. ‘I wonder if you have been…’
  • Tell them what you have been doing. Share an anecdote. Tell them a joke
  • Share a memory of something that you have done together. Something fun. Something they (and you) were proud of. A time when…
  • Share something that you are looking forward to doing with them when you are together again. ‘What would you like us to do when we see each other again?’
  • Think of a way for the child to be able to respond to you (given the current circumstances) and, equally, let them know that they do not need to respond and that you will be in contact again
  • Try to provide some predictability to your contact. The same time/day every week where possible.

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Remember that you can make contact with our SEMH Team for support and advice should you need to –