Families Matter - November 2020

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Welcome to your monthly bitesize e-bulletin from the Parent and Family Support Service.

In these uncertain times we understand the pressures parents, carers and families are under and provide a wide range of services and support for all parents and carers in Tower Hamlets.

We offer early help, targeted services and family support in partnership with schools and community venues and most recently due to the Coronavirus our services are available online through webinars, virtual meetings and forums.

Here you’ll find regular updates, information, advice, and opportunities for you to join one of our virtual networks, support groups or attend a virtual parenting session to meet other parents and carers, share your experiences and learn from each other.

For more information about the service, visit our website.

If you like this e-bulletin please share on social media, through community networks or your school website using the following share button, or you can click the hyperlink in the top right corner of this email.

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Nursery Child

Need help to apply for your child’s nursery or reception school place?

The Tower Hamlets Transition Support Service provides impartial advice, information and assistance to support children, young people and their families during key points of school transition. 

The service is offering free, virtual sessions to support parents applying for a Nursery or Reception place. These interactive sessions will explore how to support a child’s transition, including practical considerations, key dates and your application.

Nursery session Tuesday 1 December, 11am–12noon.

Reception session Wednesday 2 December, 11am–12noon.

For more details and to book your place, contact Tower Hamlets Transition Support Service on 020 7364 1533 by email.

Your Digital Family

#YourDigitalFamily – join the fun

Does your family know its TikTok from its Twitter, Deliveroo from Discord or Bieber from Baby Shark?!

The Parental Engagement Team have been awarded a Parent Zone grant to launch a fun new quiz which will test your family’s tech knowledge.

Our online quiz is suitable for parents and secondary school-aged children, who can take part from the comfort of their own home. All you need to join is an internet-enabled device such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop.

Take part in our first digital family quiz on Friday 11 December, 7pm-8pm

Sign up now >

Cartoon children appear in windows of their houses

How is your child doing this lockdown?

We’re calling on parents and carers of children aged 11 to 18-years-old, and up to the age of 25 with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), to encourage their young ones to complete a survey and tell us how they are feeling.

We have worked with a group of 15 young people to design this survey asking young people how they are feeling during the second national lockdown and what we can do to support them.

Please ask your child to complete the survey, which should take around five minutes to complete and the results are anonymous.

The survey will close on Thursday 4 December.

Survey >

Cartoon image of children receiving an injection

Live webinar and Q&A with clinician on flu jab

The East London Health & Care Partnership will be running live webinars about the flu jab for: 

Pregnant women (protect you and your baby)

  • Thursday 26 November, 1pm-2pm - REGISTER
  • Monday 30 November, 6pm-7pm - REGISTER

Parents with young children

  • Thursday 26 November, 6pm-7pm - REGISTER
  • Monday 30 November, 1pm-2pm - REGISTER

Living with long-term health conditions

It’s an opportunity for local residents to ask questions, and a clinician will attend each webinar to answer any specific health questions. 

Holiday Childcare

Autumn fun at the Holiday Childcare Scheme

The Holiday Childcare team delivered the October half term scheme at St Mary & St Michael Primary School in Shadwell.

The theme for early years (pictured) was the Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s book ‘Stick Man.’ Children collected sticks and leaves to explore the Autumn season and to re-enact the story.

Read more >

The next holiday childcare scheme takes place during the February 2021 half term.

Financial Support

Tower Hamlets Financial Support Team

Are you a privately renting tenant in Tower Hamlets with rent or council tax arrears?

The Financial Support Team can help by carrying out a free financial health check for you.  If they identify that you are eligible to claim welfare or grant assistance that you are not receiving, they will help you through the claim process.

For more details telephone 020 7364 3680/4080 or WhatsApp 07738 266 205/229 or email Financial Support.

More support >


Anti-bullying and behaviour workshops

Anti-bullying week 2020 took place from 16-20 November and the theme from the Anti-Bullying Alliance was United Against Bullying.

To support parents, experienced transition support officers and the behaviour support team will deliver virtual workshops to provide tips on what to do if you’re worried about bullying and explore ways to talk to your child or school about bullying.

Workshops are on the following dates:

  • Friday 27 November, 10am-11.30am
  • Friday 11 December, 10am–11.30am

For more details and to book your place, contact Tower Hamlets Transition Support Service on 020 7364 1533 or email Transitions.

Read more >


Share your information with the Local Offer

If you have used a local service and would like other parents to know about it, contact the Local Offer who can list it on the Local Offer website.

We are particularly interested in hearing about services for families with children who have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Email the Local Offer >

Follow the Local Offer on TwitterFacebook.

SEN Child

Re-organisation of Support for Learning and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Services

Consultation has begun on the proposed changes to the Support for Learning (SLS) and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) services which concludes on Wednesday 6 January 2021.

As part of the consultation process, you are invited to attend an online session which will be led by by Christine McInnes, divisional director, education and partnerships and Cllr Danny Hassell, Cabinet Member for Children and Schools. 

The next online session will be on Wednesday 16 December, 12noon–1pm. Email Farhad Ahmed for details and instructions on how to attend using Microsoft Teams.

Consultation >

Mother and Child

New SEND IASS website

Did you know that the Tower Hamlets & City Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information, Advice and Support Service (SEND IASS) has an exciting new website? 

The website was launched at the beginning of November and features lots of information including a useful frequently asked questions page, a resource library and much more.

SEND IASS also run an advice line which you can contact if you are worried about your child with special educational needs and disabilities or need advice on education health and care plans - call 020 7364 6489.

Visit the new website >

Online Sessions

Although an end is in sight, we are still living with the reality of Covid-19, including a second lockdown.

Join the Parental Engagement Team’s free virtual sessions and meet other parents to find out how you can support your child’s learning and well-being.

Upcoming sessions include:

  • Learning in the Early Years
  • Maths at Key Stage 1 & 2
  • Healthy Families

Sign up now >

Supporting your child’s learning and family well-being

Newborn baby

Infant care virtual workshops

The Nurture Early for Optimal Nutrition (NEON) study, led by University College London in partnership with the Tower Hamlets GP Care Group and community facilitators are offering free, virtual workshops for pregnant women and those with children under the age of two.

The workshops, which focus on infant care, feeding and dental hygiene, are for parents and carers from Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian Gujarati or Punjabi and Sri Lankan backgrounds, who are living in the London Borough's of Tower Hamlets, Newham or Waltham Forest.

Participants will get a voucher as a thank you for taking part in the workshops.

Find out more >

Local Infrastructure Fund

Have your say to improve your area

Tower Hamlets is one of the fastest growing boroughs in the country, but every new development increases the pressure on local amenities. It could also mean spaces like parks, roads and cycle paths feel busier than before.

That’s why developers building in Tower Hamlets are required to contribute to the Local Infrastructure Fund (LIF) - a pot of money that is used to pay for projects in the communities where development is taking place.

The LIF expected to generate around £5 million between April 2020 and March 2021. Have your say about how this fund could be used to help improve your area.

The consultation closes on Friday 18 December.

Get involved >

Cyber crime

Is your child at risk of committing 'cyber crime'?

Cyber Choices is a national programme led by the National Crime Agency designed to reduce cyber crime. The Cyber Choices Team in the Metropolitan Police Service work with young Londoners who may be vulnerable to committing cyber crime. They seek to educate them on the Computer Misuse Act (1990) and encourage them to use their skills in a productive and legal way.

Anyone can make a referral to the programme - whether you are a police officer, teacher, key worker, or a parent/carer.

Learn more >


Regent’s Canal Heritage learning pack

The Regent’s Canal has provided livelihoods, recreation and adventure for generations of Londoners. Now Regent’s Canal Heritage is keen to promote the learning potential of the canal by launching an exciting new learning pack on their website.

The pack, which will appeal to teachers, students and parents, explores the history of this famous canal which runs through the heart of London's East End. With timelines of the canal, fun activities, quizzes, and much more - there's something for everyone.

Take me there >

Have your Say

The Somali Parents and Carers Network – talk about SEND changes

Earlier in November, over 35 Somali parents and carers came together to hear about the proposed changes to special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) services with Christine McInnes, divisional director, education and partnerships.

Further discussion on this topic will continue at the next meeting to be held on Monday 14 December, 11am-1pm via Zoom.

The network is an established support group for Somali parents in the borough that meets every month during term time. It provides a space for Somali parents to share their experiences, listen to guest speakers and discuss topics relating to education, health, parenting, and safeguarding. 

For further information or to book a place, email us or call 020 7364 6398. 

Idea Store

Idea Store online activities for families

Our Idea Stores have just launched an exciting new online programme of activities for children and families.

Activities include scavenger hunts, footballing chat and quizzes as well as a daily YouTube story time. They also have a vast range of audio books and e-books for children and adults and resources to support with homework. 

Visit the website now >


Coronavirus updates and advice

The council is supporting the nation's efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus, while running our most critical services and supporting our residents, including those that are vulnerable.  

We are regularly publishing advice for residents, local businesses and more at www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/coronavirus 

We are also sharing updates with our subscribers in regular emails, and publishing stories on social media using #TowerHamletsTogether.

Sign up to our 'health and wellbeing - coronavirus' newsletter to get regular updates delivered to your inbox.

 Sign up for updates >

Did you know that Tower Hamlets offers other email newsletters to keep you up to date on a variety of topics?

  See the list and sign up!