HPCI Parent Network Update – 2nd July

Welcome to this week’s HPCI network update.
There are 3 local items:

  1. Parents of under 7s wanted for case studies
  2. SEN Funding in mainstream schools and banding – an update
  3. Hold the date for SEND Strategy Community events next term

Then 4 national items:

  1. Contact’s national Counting the Costs Survey – reminder
  2. The Achieve Project in Stevenage
  3. New NAS information and support around admissions to mental health hospitals
  4. No More Exclusions parent forum on Alternative Provision

Early Years workstream – case study volunteers wanted
HPCI has parent reps on the Early Years workstream in HCC which would like to look at the journeys of 2 or 3 parents of children 7 years old or under who have either had a good experience or a poor one of identifying help for their child with SEND.  Ideally, they are looking for someone whose child was diagnosed very young and one who had needs were identified as they got older.
If this is you and you would like to get involved, please email our Coordinator, Carol Kelsey, at coordinator@hertsparentcarers.org.uk

SEN Funding in mainstream schools and banding
In recent weeks HPCI has seen a number of social media posts around the new funding system in Hertfordshire for High Needs in mainstream settings and about banding in particular.  The following update from one of HPCI’s parent reps who is involved in this work will hopefully explain things more clearly.

The new Hertfordshire High Needs (Top-Up) Funding (HNF) for Mainstream Schools’ funding system has now been in place for almost a full academic year and is gradually replacing the previous exceptional needs funding (ENF) system. Along with the changes to how funding is allocated, there has been a significant increase in the amount of funding being made available to mainstream schools, pre-schools and nurseries up to £14.5m in the 2020/21 financial year (compared to £9.5m in 2019/20). This expenditure includes HNF for children with education, health and care plans (EHCPs), the local version of the system (LHNF) for children without EHCPs, remaining ENF allocations and additional targeted funding (ATF) for the most inclusive schools.

A banding tool is used to help allocate a funding amount to individual children and this tool has helped to improve the transparency and consistency of decision making.  Full information on the banding tool is available on Hertfordshire Grid https://thegrid.org.uk/send-and-additional-needs/special-educational-needs-and-disability/high-needs-funding-hnf-in-mainstream-schools .  The current banding tool includes descriptions of the different levels of difficulties that children and young people (CYP) may face depending on the broad area of need, such as speech, language and communication difficulties. The tool is used to identify the highest level of need for an individual CYP and allocates an amount of funding that is needed by the school to support that child. CYP with the greatest needs receive the highest amount of HNF. Where a CYP has an EHCP the banding tool is used alongside the EHCP to identify the funding needed. The banding tool does not replace the description of the individual CYP’s needs set out in Section B, C or D of the EHCP.

Over the past year, feedback has been received from professionals and schools using the banding tool.  Using this feedback some further changes are being made to the banding tool to ensure that it works effectively to allocate funding at the correct level. Work is now starting to look at extending the use of the banding descriptors into special schools and also at producing descriptions of the types of provision that may be required to support the needs of CYP at each level within the banding tool. These descriptions will be used to improve understanding, clarity and consistency of provision and equity of financial resources across different educational settings. They will not replace the specification and quantification of provision in Sections F, G or H1/H2 of a CYP’s individual EHCP.
We will provide further updates on this work as it progresses.

SEND Strategy events – hold the date
HPCI parent reps have been working alongside professionals to produce a new SEND Strategy for Hertfordshire County Council’s Children’s Services.
To launch this they will be holding 4 events across the County in September and October and lots of SEND organisations and services have been invited to attend.
All the events are from 10am to 2pm.
7th September – Hatfield – Birchwood Leisure Centre
16th Sept – Ware -The Priory
22nd Sept – Bushey – Niland Conference Centre
1st Oct – Stevenage – Stevenage Football Club

Counting the Costs survey – reminder.
Survey link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CountingtheCosts

Tell national charity Contact how the pandemic affected your family’s finances
Your answers will help Contact build a stronger case with government for better financial support for families of children with disabilities and additional needs.
The survey is open until 7 July to all families of children with any disability or additional need. It takes around 25 minutes to complete. As a thank-you for your time, you will be entered into a draw to win one of three £100 vouchers.

The Achieve project offers a person-centred programme aimed at fulfilling the aspirations of young people with learning disabilities and special needs across Stevenage, Luton and Bedford.
If you’re looking for transition support for yourself or someone you know… This two year mentoring support project runs 50 weeks in the year and is aimed at helping young people aged 16-21 years to gain the confidence and skills they need to move towards independence and a positive place in the community. That’s especially about transition from school and college as well as into new opportunities. The programme provides support in a variety of ways such as weekly skill sessions, 1-2-1 mentoring, socialising, cooking, employer visits, travel training and more. You can find more information on our website: Achieve — Transitions UK   Transitions UK is a registered charity and part-funded by Hertfordshire Community Foundation.

Advice and Support for Inpatient Mental Health Admissions from the National Autistic Society (NAS)
The NAS has produced guidance and information for families on what to do if there autistic family member is at risk of admission or has been admitted or discharged from a mental health hospital.  There is also an animation providing top tips on avoiding crisis and admissions to an inpatient mental health hospital HERE

No More Exclusions virtual forum