Welcome to a bumper edition of the HPCI newsletter – with lots of interest for Hertfordshire families of children and young people with SEND. This week’s update covers:
Update on the Hertfordshire County Council’s statutory SEND service
Last week HPCI hosted a public forum, where officers from HCC presented an update on the new SEND Strategy, with a particular focus on their plans to improve the current statutory SEND service (the team whose work includes managing Education, Health and Care Plan applications and special school placements). It was a timely discussion, especially in the light of the results of the recent Herts SEND Crisis survey, that highlighted ongoing issues with being able to contact SEN officers. After the presentation, there was a Q&A session, where questions from families were put to the HCC officers, covering issues about staffing, quality of EHCPs, special school places, and children without suitable provision. If you weren’t able to attend and would like to watch the recording, you can do so here or via the HPCI webinars page.
On the topic of contacting the council, I have included at the bottom of this page two posters which have contact details, both for the SEND teams, but also for the SEND advice lines (which include Educational Psychology, Specific Learning Difficulties, Speech Language, Communication & Autism, Early Years, Physical and Neurological Impairment and Attendance).
New Hertfordshire Emotional wellbeing and Behaviour Strategy
HCC has recently published its new Emotional wellbeing and Behaviour Strategy, and also an Implementation Guide for schools. If you have concerns about your child in this area, you might want to ask your school if they are using this new strategy and guide, and maybe draw their attention to the emphasis that the strategy puts on working in partnership with families (this is covered in section 5.5).
New Children’s Wellbeing Practitioners
On the same topic, families may want to know that Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust has launched a new service this month: Children’s Wellbeing Practitioners Service. This aims to provide access to preventative and early intervention support for common emotional wellbeing and mental health difficulties. Full details are in the link above, including how parents and carers can make referrals into the service.
Personal Travel Budgets
A Personal Travel Budget (PTB) is funding to allow you to make your own travel arrangements to school or college rather than travelling on a vehicle provided by the council. You can apply for a PTB if your child/young person lives in Hertfordshire and is eligible for home to school/college travel support and attends school/college. I’m including this reminder as I know a number of families who had made the decision to drive their child to school without being aware that, as they would have been eligible for HCC transport, they can get funding to provide the transport themselves. Full details are here: Personal Travel Budgets
A free webinar on Annual health checks for people with learning disabilities
The National Development Team for Inclusion is running a free webinar on 17 March (10-11.30) about annual health checks for people aged 14+ with learning disabilities. Details about the session and how to book a place are here: NDTi
Hertfordshire Family Centres would like to hear from families of pre-school children with SEND
If you have a pre-school aged child with SEND (with or without a diagnosis) and live in the West of the county, then the Family Centres team would like to hear from you. Please click on your area to access the right survey for you: Watford, St Albans, Dacorum, Hertsmere.
A survey about the PALMS service
Just a quick reminder that PALMS (Positive behaviour, Autism, Learning disability, Mental health Service) is currently running a survey for parents and carers whose children are currently using the service. If you have received a survey, please do fill this out, as accessing this service is something that we hear about so often from families, and it would be great to have the voices of families heard as they consider how the service currently meets the needs of children and young people.