HPCI Parent network update – 27th August

I hope that you have had a good summer and, if you have a child or young person in education, that you are feeling prepared for the new academic year.

This week’s email includes updates on:

  • Covid-19 vaccinations for children and young people aged 16 to 17 and 12 to 15 – advice from Herts County Council, Contact and Mencap
  • Updated guidance on school exclusions.
  • HPCI webinars booking up fast
  • Free wellbeing courses in Hertfordshire.
  • Parent carer views are being sought for research into young people’s mental health.

Covid-19 vaccinations for children and young people

HCC has updated the Local Offer page this week to update families about Covid-19 vaccinations for children and young people ages 16 – 17 and 12 – 15.  This advice includes the list of those conditions where the vaccine should be offered to the younger age group, which includes severe neuro-disabilities, Down’s Syndrome, underlying conditions resulting in a weakened immune system, profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD), severe learning disabilities, or children who are on the learning disability register.

Contact, the charity for families with disabled children, has also this week put out some guidance about what to do if your eligible child has not yet received their vaccination invite, with the first step being to contact your GP.

Some families have expressed concern about difficulties that their child may face in receiving the vaccine, particularly around anxiety.  There have been some really positive stories shared on social media about various centres in Hertfordshire offering understanding and adjustments to people who are anxious about the process.  If you would like to read more about how to prepare your child or young person, and how to ask for support on the day, you may find this guidance from Mencap useful. The guidance is aimed at people with learning disabilities but the advice can be applied across a range of additional needs.

Update on school exclusions

The Department for Education has decided that, from September, the phrase “fixed term exclusion” is no longer to be used and instead schools should use the term “suspension”.   Whatever term is used, if you are facing issues with your child, have a look at the newly revised HPCI guide for parents of children with SEND about exclusions, suspensions and other attendance issues, which is available here.

HPCI webinars are booking fast

Last week’s update focussed on the new term’s webinar programme, which kicks off with sessions in September on SEN support in mainstream schools; applying for an education, health and care needs assessment; the new HCC SEND Strategy; and understanding the Local Offer.  Sessions are booking up fast and we will start to promote these via social media this week, so do book a place now if you’re interested.

Wellbeing courses for Hertfordshire residents

Hertfordshire Partnership NHS University Foundation Trust (HPFT) are offering a number of courses and resources free to any Hertfordshire resident over the age of 18, to help improve their mental wellbeing.  Courses this term include “Understanding Stress” and “Building Healthy Relationships”.  Find out more here.

Research on young people’s mental health

The Emerging Minds Network are giving parents and carers the opportunity to feed into research on young people’s mental health.  They are running a workshop on Monday 13th September, from 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm to discuss priorities for research in this area. You must be the parent or carer of a child with lived experience of mental health problems to take part. If you are interested, you can click here for more details.

Thanks for reading and I hope that you have a good weekend.

Best wishes,

Kate Hudson
HPCI Membership and Comms Officer