HPCI Member Update 29 April 2022

This week’s bumper update has lots of interest including the new Statutory SEND structure, training sessions, and event information.  Read on to find out more about:

  • New Statutory SEND Team structure and a save the date
  • SEND Support from Herts Family Centres
  • Dacorum SEND information fayre – 12 May
  • Supported Employment Job Fair – Stevenage & North Herts – 12 May
  • EHCP Banding changes – training
  • ARFID (Avoidant / Restrictive Food intake disorder) research

New Statutory SEND Team structure and a save the date
You may have seen on social media this week that Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) has restructured its Statutory SEND Team – this will be of interest to those families whose child or young person has an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), or who is thinking of applying for one.  Details of the new structure can be found in this post on the Local Offer website but essentially, rather than have one SEN officer manage a case through from application to placement and annual review, there will be a new set of teams who will deal with different elements of the process.  And with new teams come new contact details!  These are also included in the blog.

Save the date – 19 May (10AM) – SEND Public Forum
We have already heard lots of questions about how the new structure will work, what this will mean in practice for families and how the new team will work with other parts of the council who support children with SEND.  Please save time in your diaries at 10AM on 19 May as HPCI will host HCC officers to explain the new system and take questions from families.  Booking details coming soon.

SEND Support from Herts Family Centres
Did you know that Family Centres support children and young people up to the age of 11, and their families, bringing together children’s centres, health visiting and school nursing?  There are Family Centres across Herts and each has a SEND Champion, who supports families of children with SEND by providing advice, guidance and a listening ear. To find out more about what your local centre offers for families with SEND, have a look at the timetable of events for your district on this webpage: What’s on at family centres in Hertfordshire or contact your local centre and ask to speak to their SEND champion.

Dacorum SEND information fayre – 12 May
DSPL8 are hosting a range of organisations (including HPCI) at the Dacorum SEND information fayre, which is taking place on Thursday 12th May, 10am-3pm at Grovehill and Woodhall Farm Adventure Playground in Hemel Hempstead (HP2 7BA).  The day will include local provider information stands, DSPL8 Parent Representatives, activities for children, and refreshments. To book your free place, visit Eventbrite We hope to see you there for a chat over a slice of cake.

Supported Employment Job Fair – Stevenage & North Herts – 12 May
A quick reminder that on the same day, North Herts College are hosting an employment fair aimed at people with learning disabilities, autism, a physical disability, mental health conditions or sensory needs.  Full details are available here: Supported Employment Job Fair in Stevenage

EHCP Banding changes – training in May
You may be aware that, once a child or young person in a Herts mainstream school has an EHCP, that plan is then “banded” in order to decide how much money the school or setting will receive to deliver what is set out in the plan.  HCC has a set of banding descriptors which helps those people making the banding decisions – they describe what different levels of need might look like, by age, against a range of different needs including: Speech and Language and Communication Needs; Communication (social) and Autism; Cognition and Learning; Social, Emotional and Mental Health; and a range of Sensory and/or Physical needs. These descriptors have recently been updated and there are some training sessions running next month to explain what the changes look like.

While this training is not essential for parents and carers, you might find it helpful in order to better understand your child’s needs in the context of other children, and to allow you to feed into the banding discussions, alongside the school, the HCC SEND service and the professionals providing the advice for the main presenting need.  To find out more and to book a place, click here: changes-hnf-banding-descriptors-training-may2022 (thegrid.org.uk)

Families might also want to be aware that the banding descriptors have now also been extended to include the needs of children in specialist provision too. This is a first step towards understanding the needs of children in Herts special schools, now and in the future, improving the clarity of the admissions process and ensuring that funding for the special schools is appropriate for the needs of the students in them. Eventually all children in specialist provision will be banded to enable better understanding of their collective needs and the resources the schools require to support them.

ARFID (Avoidant / Restrictive Food intake disorder) research
The University of Kent is undertaking some research into the ARFID diagnostic process, and are looking for parents / carers of children and young people with ARFID and a learning disability to take part.  The research would take 1-1.5 hours and be done online. If you would like to know more about the project, or know someone who will be interested in taking part, then please contact: Jonah Desalesa (jjd31@kent.ac.uk).

I’m including this information in the update as families have told us that ARFID is not well understood in Hertfordshire – if you have any further feedback you want us to be aware of on this issue, please do let us know.