HPCI Parent Network Update – 1 October

This week’s newsletter has a number of updates about SEND in Hertfordshire that we think may be of interest:

  • Update on HPCI discussions with HCC
  • Webinar news – a new session on Home Education
  • October is ADHD awareness month – do you know an ADHD hero?
  • Update from the ESMA teaching service
  • Request for feedback from the SEND Specialist Advice and Support Service (SENDSAS)
  • Last chance to add your feedback on the HCC Equipment Service


HPCI discussions with HCC

HPCI is in constant discussion with officers at Hertfordshire County Council (and other statutory bodies) raising issues that families have told us that they are facing.  I’m sure you will be aware that there are ongoing issues with the Education, Health and Care Plans process and staffing of the SEND teams.  I wanted to reassure members that we are very aware of the impact that these issues are having on children and young people, and their families, and that we are doing everything we can to make sure that HCC also understands this impact and is taking the steps needed to address these as a matter of urgency.  We will keep members up to date with developments as they happen.

We are also in discussion with senior officers on a wide range of other issues, including

  • The issues being faced in DSPL2 (Stevenage) relating to the overspend against the Local High Needs Funding pot
  • Transport, in particular post-16 arrangements
  • Special school places
  • Early Years specialist nursery provision

Again, when we have updates to share, we will do so.


Webinar news

I’m really pleased to announce that, following requests from parents, we have added a webinar to our Autumn programme to look at Home Education: Choices, Realities and Reintegration.  This will take place on 23 November (10:00-11:00) and you can book your free place here.


October is ADHD awareness month – do you know an ADHD hero?

The Hertfordshire ADHD Hero Awards have been created by a group of local charities (Add-vance, Angels, Families in Focus, Potential Kids and SPACE) which support families living with ADHD in Hertfordshire. The initiative is designed to acknowledge and celebrate the outstanding contributions of individuals, teams and organisations who have shown dedication and commitment to understanding ADHD.

If you would like to present an ADHD Hero Award to a teacher, healthcare worker, mentor or anyone else who has made a real difference to you or your family, please complete the online form and describe the impact they have made. You will then be sent a certificate to present to your hero personally.

More information about support in Hertfordshire can be found on the Local Offer website.


Update from the Educational Support for Medical Absence (ESMA) team

ESMA have recently revised and developed their service to better meet the needs of more young people. This has included:

  • making it clearer what their service provides, which is a teaching service for students unable to attend school for medical reasons.
  • revising the ESMA team structure and practices to increase teaching capacity.
  • working to a ‘graduated approach’ model, offering 5 types of support – depending on the needs of the pupil.
  • introducing a Teaching Assistant role to support teachers paired / group learning.

Click here to learn more about the newly updated ESMA Service and if you would like to feed back, you can do so directly by emailing esmaenquiries@hertfordshire.gov.uk.  ESMA also has a new duty line, for parents to call and ask for advice. 01442 454 802 (school hours, term time only).


SENDSAS survey

The SEND Specialist Advice and Support Service (SEND SAS) would like to hear from parents/carers whose child has been supported by the service during the last academic year (Sept 2020 to July 2021). Your feedback will help the service find out what is working and if any improvements need to be made.

SENDSAS is made up of specialist teaching and advisory staff with in-depth knowledge of different special educational needs and disabilities. These include:

  • Specific learning difficulties inc. dyslexia
  • Speech, language, communication and autism
  • Sensory impairment: hearing, vision or multisensory impairments
  • Physical and neurological impairment
  • SEND in the Early Years

If your child and their school has been supported by SEND SAS over the last academic year, please do add your thoughts and feedback here: Complete the SENDSAS survey


HCC Equipment Survey

The survey that we flagged a couple of weeks ago is closing today (1 October) – if you have experience of requesting or receiving equipment for your child or young person with SEND (such as standing frames, hoists, equipment for showering/toileting, beds, specially adjusted chairs or learning aids), you can share your feedback here.


That’s all for this week! Hope that you are well and that you have a good weekend.


All best wishes,

Kate Hudson

HPCI Membership and Comms Officer