HPCI Parent Network Update – 10th September

Lots of important news this week including:

  • A further update on which children should be offered the Covid-19 vaccination.
  • A new campaign urging the government’s SEND Review not to erode disabled children’s rights and to listen to the views of disabled children and young people, and their parents/carers.
  • A revised Herts SEND Toolkit.
  • Events this week – SEND Strategy Community event in Ware, and HPCI webinars on Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments.
  • A workshop for family carers on Annual Health Checks for people with Learning Disabilities.

Covid-19 vaccination offer expanded

Last week the JCVI (the UK’s vaccine advisory body) expanded its list of those children aged 12-15 who should be offered the Covid-19 vaccination.  In addition to those we mentioned in our update a couple of weeks ago (those with severe neurodisabilities, Down syndrome, immunosuppression or profound and multiple or severe learning disabilities), the list now also includes children with:

  • Blood cancers
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Chronic respiratory disease
  • Chronic neurological disease, including cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy and muscular dystrophy

Additionally, the JCVI have said that children with poorly controlled asthma and less common conditions, often due to congenital or metabolic defects where respiratory infections can result in severe illness, should also be offered COVID-19 vaccination.  The full updated advice can be found here.  You will also note that they have said that they do not support the roll out of the vaccine to healthy 12 to 15 year olds at this time.

Finally on vaccines, it was also announced last week that people aged 12 and over with severely weakened immune systems will be offered a third Covid vaccination, with the timing to be decided by the individual’s GP or consultant.

Let Us Learn Too Campaign

You may be aware that, due to the fact that HPCI receives some funding from the Department for Education, as part of our agreement with them we are unable to actively campaign. However, HPCI is free to send out information about SEND related campaigns or campaign groups.

With this in mind, we thought our members would want to be aware of the Let Us Learn Too campaign which launched this week and asks the government, who are currently doing a review of the SEND system and laws, to make sure they include the views of disabled children and young people, and their families.  You can read the letter that was sent to the Prime Minister and can sign the petition online too.

Revised Herts SEND Toolkit

Also published last week was the revised Herts SEND Toolkit (which one of our members previously described as a SENCO in a box!).  This is a resource aimed at professionals in Hertfordshire to help them deliver high quality provision for children with SEND, but it’s also really useful for parents to refer to and to check that their child’s school is doing all it can.  If you would like an electronic copy of the toolkit, please let me know.

Events this week

The next SEND Strategy community event is taking place next Thursday (September 16) in Ware. HPCI will be there along with a huge range of local support groups, activity providers and advice and information services.  All details are here.

And if you can’t make this, or the sessions in Bushey or Stevenage, you can always come to the online version of the event that we are hosting on 17 September.

Also taking place next week are two webinars about the EHC Needs Assessment process – these are happening on 15 & 16 September and your can book your free place on the HPCI webinar page.

Workshop on Annual Health Checks for people with Learning Disabilities

Finally, please find below details of a workshop taking place on September 23 for family carers about Annual Health Checks for people with Learning Disabilities.  These checks should be made available to young people aged 14+ who are on their GP’s Learning Disability register and this session, being run by Ace Anglia, is open to all parent carers who want to find out more (not just those in Suffolk as the poster suggests!).