HPCI Parent network update – 16th April

Welcome to our first update of the summer term and let’s hope that things keep moving in a positive direction.
This issue has lots of things in it – local things first and then national ones.

  1. Hertfordshire Chat Health Service for 0-5s.
  2. 16+ SEND Transport Application Process for Sept 21
  3. Cambridge Children’s Hospital
  4. Inclusive Theatre group – Stevenage
  5. Carer’s Allowance earnings limit frozen
  6. Covid 19 vaccines and clinically vulnerable children
  7. Unpaid Carers and Covid 19 vaccine
  8. Test and Trace support payment for low income families
  9. Bell Foundation leaflets for families with English as a second language
  10. Calibre Audiobooks – free for SEND CYP
  11. Afasic – free information sheets on speech and language impairments

Hertfordshire Chat Health Service

The new Hertfordshire Chat Health service will give parents and carers of babies and children aged 0-5 years advice with health-related issues and improve their access to health care. Messages sent to the dedicated number 07480 635164 are delivered to a secure website, and responded to by a member of the Health visiting team. The service is available Mon – Fri 9-5pm.

16+ transport applications

If your young person, aged 16-18 years has HCC provided transport to education then the renewal process for September 2021 has begun.  You should have received an email from HCC’s transport team (check spam/junk) last week with attachments and a link to the application form.  You need to complete the application EVEN IF you don’t know what course your child will be attending to ensure that you are on Transport’s radar.  Any issues with completing the forms then the Transport team will be able to help you.

Cambridge Children’s Hospital

Work to design and develop the new Cambridge Children’s Hospital is moving on.  They are at the stage now where they want to get as many children, young people, parents and carers involved as possible.  They have put together some surveys about how parents, carers, children and young people might like the wards to look and feel. There are three surveys:
Parents and carers
Young people (aged 14-25)
Children under 14 (with parent or carer)

You can fill in the survey confidentially or, if you do choose to share your email address you have the chance to win a £50 voucher.

Herts Inclusive Theatre

National Living Wage to increase but Carer’s Allowance earnings limit frozen update from Contact

The National Living Wage for over 23s has increased to £8.91 per hour. While this is good news for many people in low paid work, it may not be that helpful if you’re claiming Carer’s Allowance. This is because there is a maximum amount that you can earn and remain entitled to Carer’s Allowance. This figure is currently £128 per week, and unfortunately the government has decided not to increase this figure for the financial year 2021/22. This means that carers who are working more than 14 hours a week on the National Living Wage may have to pay out more in expenses if they want to retain their Carer’s Allowance. Find out more including what you can do if you are affected by this.

How to get the Covid-19 vaccine for you clinically extremely vulnerable children

A recent Contact survey found that one in 10 parents wants their disabled child to have an Covid-19 vaccine right now via the unlicensed or off-label route. However, only 3 in 200 were successful so far.

One of Contact’s parents has helpfully pulled together practical advice for families in the same boat who may be facing barriers to getting their child vaccinated via this route.
Contact has written to the JCVI asking for clarity on the vaccine roll out for high-risk children and asking them to issue clear guidance and a process through which children can get off-label use of a Covid vaccine

Unpaid Carers and Covid 19 vaccine

Unpaid carers who are not on their GP’s register of carers or who are not known to council services will now need to contact their GP practice to arrange their vaccine as they will no longer be able to book via the National Online Booking System

Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme for parents and carers

The Department for Education (DfE) have announced that parents and carers of children who have been advised to self-isolate by their education setting or by NHS Test and Trace are now able to apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment of £500, if they are eligible (which includes being in receipt of certain low-income benefits).  In Hertfordshire this is arranged through district and borough councils.  This scheme lasts until 30th June 2021.  Further detail is available on the SEND Local Offer coronavirus page:  HERE

Bell Foundation information leaflets for parents about transition back to school in other languages                                                                                                                                                                The Bell Foundation has created a series of leaflets in 18 different languages about transition back to school for EAL families and children. They provide guidance for parents on how to get
involved in school life and to help their child to learn. Go to https://www.bell-foundation.org.uk/eal-programme/ to download individual leaflets. Languages are Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Chinese, Gujarati, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Somali, Spanish, Turkish and Urdu’#

Calibre Audio–helping to bring the joys of reading to every young person

Calibre Audio offer a completely free audiobook service for anyone that finds it difficult to read the printed word. They have a collection of over 3,000 audiobooks specifically for children and young people, ranging from Key Stage 1 up to GCSE and A-Level texts to assist with studies. As well as providing free access to school texts, with unlimited borrowing, the service is a fantastic tool to allow children to escape and unwind and enjoy a wonderful array of stories.
To help out parents they’ve pulled together a list of the best free resources currently available. You can also visit their regular blog page for more tips, tricks and curated book selections here.
Membership is completely free for anyone with a disability that makes reading print difficult. You can find out more about how to join here, sign up to their newsletter here and listen to their podcasts by searching Calibre Audio podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.


Afasic is a national charity for speech, language and communication needs and has a free downloadable range of information sheets on 30 of the most common speech and language impairments.
Find them here: AFASIC free info