Getting help with Education

This page is intended as a basic introduction to education for parents and carers of children and young people with SEND.   You will find much more detailed and extensive information about education and SEND in Hertfordshire on the Hertfordshire SEND Local Offer website HERE

Every local authority must, by law, have an online SEND Local Offer which covers education, social care and health services available to children and young people in their area.

Updated HPCI Exclusions Parent Guide – August 2021

This updated HPCI guide to exclusions was developed and written by two of our parent reps – Serena and Raine.  It has been welcomed by lead education officers in Herts County Council and also features on the SEND Local Offer

We developed this guide as a response to the increasing number of children and young people with SEND who (locally and nationally) are being excluded from education in various ways.  The guide covers all forms of exclusion  that can affect our children and young people.  These include suspensions, permanent, internal, unofficial/unlawful exclusions, reduced time tables, managed moves, elective home education, medical conditions and attendance issues.

The guide has internal hyperlinks on the index page (6) and also included links to a range of information and support both local and national.

Please let us know if you found this useful and feel free to share with other parents.

Returning to School/College – SENDIASS Covid-19 – Returning back to school booklet

This has been put together in collaboration with HPCI and covers:

  • Managing anxiety and wellbeing
  • Transition Support
  • Social Distancing and PPE
  • Changes to provision
  • Catching up on education


Information and resources about education have been divided into three main areas:

Early years

This the period when your child is old enough to start nursery/day care and covers pre-school, reception when they are aged 4/5 and is called The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

Statutory or compulsory School Age:

This is a phrase that you may hear from time to time.  It means the age at which the law requires you to be receiving an education.  Your child is of “compulsory school age” on the 1st January, 1st April or 1st September following their 5th birthday. Children becoming 5 years old between 1st January and 31st March are of compulsory school age at the beginning of the term after 1st April.

School (Primary & Secondary)

School education is divided into Key Stages 1 to 5.

Key stage 1 consists of reception and years 1 & 2 in infants or primary school.

Key stage 2 – lasts for years 3, 4, 5 & 6 when children are aged 7 – 11 in juniors/primary school

Key stage 3 is from years 7, 8 & 9 in Secondary school from ages 11 – 14.

Key stage 4 is when they are aged 14, 15 & 16 and covers the time when they do GCSEs or other public exams.

Key stage 5 is when they are aged 16, 17 & 18 in a school sixth form.

Post 16/19

When children are aged 16, 17 & 18 (or 19 if in specialist provision) it covers going to College (Further Education) and University (Higher Education).

Everyone born on or after 1st September 1997 must stay in some form of education or training until 18.

Post-16 options are full-time education (e.g. at a school or college), an apprenticeship or traineeship, or part-time education or training – as well as being employed, self-employed or volunteering for 20 hours or more a week.

Delivering Special Provision Locally (DSPL) is exclusively a Hertfordshire initiative.

Parents, carers, staff in early years settings, schools, further education colleges, local authority officers and representatives from other agencies work together as part of an area group.  The group has a small budget and works to ensure that there are a range of provision and support services available in the area that work to:

  • Meet the needs of children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), aged 0-25, as close to home as possible.
  • Improve outcomes for wellbeing and attainment
  • Widen choice for children, parents and carers
  • Remove barriers to learning
  • Use resources effectively

There are 9 area groups that between them cover the whole of Hertfordshire. More information and to find our more about what is happening in your DSPL area can be found on the SEND Local Offer.

Many of them run courses, events and groups for parents of children in their area with SEND.

HPCI has parent carer representatives on the DSPL groups. If you want to know more about becoming a DSPL parent rep please contact our rep coordinator by emailing: .

Useful information documents for parents:

The Department for Education publishes a guide to SEND for parents that can be found here: SEND guide for parents and carers.

Mainstream schools and settings – the following guides can be found on Hertfordshire’s SEND Local Offer and cover what must and should happen for children with SEND in school.

SENDIASS leaflet about SEND support in schools

Hertfordshire County Council have their own booklet written in partnership with HPCI and can be found here: SEN Support in Education 0 – 25

People involved in your child’s education

Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO)

Every state funded school must have a SENCO. The SENCO is a member of staff who has responsibility for coordinating special educational needs provision. In a small school the SENCO may be the head teacher or may be part-time or work across several schools. The SENCO will be able to answer many of your more detailed questions about how the school are meeting your child’s special educational needs.

School-based Assistants

Some pupils with special educational needs require more help than it is reasonable to expect a teacher to provide. Depending on pupils’ special educational needs, school may employ a variety of assistants.

For example, there are classroom assistants, general assistants, supervisory assistants and learning support assistants. Assistants work under the overall direction of the school’s principal. If your child has an assistant, then s/he will be part of the team assigned to meet your child’s special educational needs.

Educational Psychologist (EP)

An Educational Psychologist gives advice as part of your child’s statutory assessment. An educational psychologist is a psychology graduate who has gained a post-graduate qualification in developmental and educational psychology.

Educational psychologists are also able to advise on the educational needs of children and young people and to suggest ways of helping your child.

Further information about Hertfordshire’s Educational Psychology Service can be found here.

Specialist Advisory Teacher

Specialist Advisory Teachers have experience in teaching children with learning problems. This teacher may help your child directly or may support teachers in school.  Specialist Advisory Teachers in Hertfordshire are part of ISL (Integrated Services for Learning) and you can find out more about these services here.

Named EHC Coordinator 

This person manages the process if you are being assessed for or have a child with an EHC (Education, Health and Care Plan).  The EHC statutory assessment process is complex and sometimes difficult for parents to understand. Make sure that you know the name and contact details of your EHC Coordinator.