Big freeze forecast – remember the school closure procedures
The weather is forecast to turn colder this weekend, with severe frosts overnight, and the possibility of snow. So, we thought it would be timely to remind you of the procedures for school closures.
Instructions for ‘closing’ and ‘reopening’ your school on the Dorset County Council GIS system:
1. Follow this URL to access the login page http://mapping.dorsetforyou.com/closedservices/admin (you can do this on any device with internet access including PCs and mobile phones).
2. Enter your username and password and click on the login button or hit 'enter'.
3. You will be presented with a list of services that you can edit – for headteachers this will just show schools.
4. When you click on ‘schools’ you will be presented with the name of your school.
5. If your school is open the green box alongside it will be selected. If you select the ‘closed’ box this will show your school as being closed. If you select ‘partially closed’ this will show your school as being partially closed. The school closure or partial closure will then be displayed on dorsetforyou.com. Ideally you should do this by 6.30am.
6. At 4 p.m. all closed schools will default back to open. If the school is closed on subsequent days you will need to CLOSE it again.
7. You can check the correct status is shown by logging out and going to http://mapping.dorsetforyou.com/closedservices.
Notifying the local media, particularly radio stations:
1. Schools will NO LONGER be required to notify local radio stations themselves.
2. Dorset County Council’s communications unit have notified the local media that the process has now changed and that they will find the DEFINITIVE list of closures on dorsetforyou.com.
3. You should notify parents that radio stations will still carry information about closures but that they can also access the information on http://mapping.dorsetforyou.com/closedservices.
If you have forgotten your username you can also use your registered username address to login. This is normally your ‘office@’ email address.
If you have forgotten your password follow the 'Forgotten your Password' link on the login form. This will then send a new password to the registered e-mail.
For questions about the GIS system, please call: 01305 224861 (07967 504716 in emergencies only).
For other queries regarding the school closure process please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01305 22 4995
New Advocacy and Independent Visitor Service launches in Dorset
It is important that we ensure that the views and wishes of children and young people are taken into account when key decisions about their lives are being made.
Advocacy provides independent one to one support for children and young people to make sure that their voices are heard when decisions are being made about them, or if they want to make a complaint.
If they are Looked After/Leaving Care, Children in Need, or involved in SEND transition assessments, mental capacity assessments or child protection processes – they may be entitled to the support of an independent advocate.
"My advocate helped me say the things I wanted to say but was too scared to…."
Independent visitors are trained volunteers who befriend and mentor a child or young person in care who has little or no contact with their birth parents and who would benefit from having an independent adult in their life. Whether it's trying a new activity, going out and about, or just being a listening ear, the independent visitor will be there for the long haul.
Independent visitors are highly valued by the young people as they are often the only person involved in their lives who are not paid to be there.
"She's like the aunty I never had ."
DCC now has a contract with Action for Children to provide both these independent services. The services are free for children and young people who meet the criteria
You can find out more and how to make a referral from their website.
Action for Children, Bournemouth Learning Centre, Bournemouth, BH10 4HG
Support is available if you have young carers in your school
Do you have pupils in your school who you know are – or you believe to be – young carers? The Dorset Young Carers Service can help you identify young carers, and take the first steps in supporting them. This includes assessing young carers to identify their individual needs and decide how to meet them.
Please read through these guidelines before making a referral to the Dorset Young Carers Service. We understand the complicated dynamics of some families, so please feel free to contact us if you are unsure whether a referral is appropriate.
Definition of a young carer
Young carers are children or young people aged under 18yrs who provide significant care to someone in their family who has a disability, a long-term illness, or is affected by mental ill health or substance misuse. Young carers take on caring responsibilities, both practical and emotional, that an adult would normally undertake.
To meet eligibility for the service, children and young people must meet our definition of a young carer. The service is funded to work with young carers aged 5-18, and we are unable accept referrals for young carers outside this age bracket. We advise agencies to contact the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 01202 228866 for children aged under five years, where there is concern that they are significantly affected by caring responsibilities. In all cases, it is important that parental consent is given for the referral.
Children and young people may not be eligible if their caring responsibilities do not have an adverse impact on the following:
• physical/mental health
• emotional and behavioural development
• family and social/peer relationships.
Children and young people may not be eligible if:
• care tasks are age appropriate and do not exceed what an ‘average’ child of their age would undertake (e.g. a teenager helping with some house work, walking to the local shop etc)
• they are helping to support a primary adult carer with care tasks i.e. they are a secondary carer
• they are living with a family member who is ill, disabled or misusing substances but are not providing care for that person, for themselves or for siblings.
• their caring responsibilities are due to parenting issues or neglect (i.e. caring for siblings because parents are working or inattentive)
• parental consent has not been given.
Referrals can be made directly to the young carers service by completing a request for service form.
If appropriate, we will complete an assessment as soon as possible and will inform the family and the referrer whether we are able to offer a service.
If the child or young person meets our criteria, we will offer them a service, which includes access to group activities, one-to-one and family support. Each young carer will have an annual review to take into account changes in circumstances, and to ensure that the young carer is still eligible for support.
To contact a member of the Young Carers team, please call 01305 225677 or email email@example.com