HPCI Parent Network Update – 5 November

I hope you are well and that, if you have a child at school, you had a good half term break.

A few local items this week – two of which are surveys asking for your views and the views of your child.  Do complete the Short Break survey if you can – it will make a difference to the service our children and young people are offered.  There are a couple of national items too:

  • Short Break Local Offer survey
  • Young People’s survey
  • SENDIASS vacancy
  • Covid vaccination updates
  • 2021 Spending Review

Short Break Local Offer survey

Families often ask us about Short Breaks – these offer children and young people with SEND the chance to spend time out with others socialising and doing fun activities supported by trained workers, and giving their families a break.  The types of activities range from canoeing, to computer skills, to lego, and are offered via holiday and Saturday clubs.

Your child can get up to 40 hours of activities if they:

  • live in Hertfordshire
  • are aged between 5 and 19 with SEND
  • receive a middle or higher rate disability living allowance (DLA) or any personal independence payment (PIP), or
  • have a letter from your GP, the school’s SENCO or another professional, confirming that your child’s need means that they require access to targeted services for disabled children and young people.

The Short Breaks Local Offer (SBLO) team at Hertfordshire County Council have asked that parents and carers of children and young people with SEND complete a questionnaire about the SBLO.  You are being asked to give feedback on the current service and also for any ideas for how it could be improved. It should only take about 10 minutes to complete and the survey will be open for the rest of the month.  https://surveys.hertfordshire.gov.uk/s/SBLOsurvey/

Young people’s survey 2021

Hertfordshire’s Services for Young People (SfYP) is running a survey for young people with SEND aged 11-25. This follows on from the previous countywide survey conducted in 2019, and is checking to see if concerns and priorities have changed following the pandemic.  If you would like to share this survey with your young person, you can access it here: https://surveys.hertfordshire.gov.uk/s/YoungPeopleSENSurvey2021/

SENDIASS vacancy

With apologies for the short deadline, SENDIASS (Hertfordshire’s impartial SEND Information, Advice and Support Service) have asked us to let you know about a vacancy that they are looking to fill.  The post is for a fixed term position as an Adviser within the team, covering 28 hours per week, term time plus 4 weeks until November 2022.  Given the length of time, they are seeking candidates who have SEND knowledge and experience – so a parent or carer would be ideal! The advert closes on Sunday 7 November and further details are here: SENDIASS Adviser (hertfordshire.gov.uk)

Covid vaccination updates

If you have questions about how many doses of the Covid vaccine your child should be offered, Contact has put together some really useful guidance which sets out the different dosages available for different children, and how to book. They have also recently published some helpful advice on how to access booster jabs and children’s vaccines at walk-in centres.

2021 Spending Review

The 2021 Spending Review, published alongside the Autumn Budget last week, sets out the Government’s spending plans for the three years from April 2022 – March 2025.  There are a few key headlines that will be of particular interest to families with SEND. These include:

  • Spending on health will rise by 4% a year over the next three years.
  • £2.6 billion of new funding has been allocated to provide 30,000 new special school places.
  • Education spending overall will have increased by less than 3%.
  • For many areas, spending will still be substantially less in 2024/25 than it was in 2010 – including local government which, among other vital services, is responsible for education and children’s social care.

While the increased funding for new school places is welcomed (and needed!), it is also worth noting that this is capital funding, so it is used for one-off spending, e.g. new school buildings, rather than revenue funding, which is used for ongoing spend, e.g. teachers.  If you would like to read a more detailed analysis of this announcement, Special Needs Jungle has published a good article.

Thanks for reading and I hope you found this update useful.

All best wishes


Kate Hudson
HPCI Membership and Comms Officer