HPCI Parent Network Update – 7th May

Welcome to this week’s HPCI parent network update – as usual it is a mix of some local and national stuff.

  1. Herts Mental Health Survey for parents
  2. HCC SEND Strategy developments
  3. HPCI and the HCC’s new SEND ilearn package
  4. Anxiety and school attendance – HCC approach
  5. HPCI/SENDIASS recorded webinars
  6. School is difficult
  7. The Buzz – a new website for deaf young people


1) Hertfordshire County Council Mental Health survey –  Parent Survey (hertfordshire.gov.uk)

This survey is for all parents/carers of children and young people living or educated in Hertfordshire. Covid-19 has been a difficult time for many and mental health services and support have often had to be delivered or accessed differently. HCC want to ensure that they are supporting families across the county as effectively as possible and what you as parents and carers tell them in this survey will help them to do this.

2) HCC SEND Strategy developments

Over the past 3 years HPCI parent reps have worked with HCC on a number of projects under the SEND Transformation programme which ran until March 2021.
There is still more to do and working with HPCI and others key partners a new SEND Strategy for HCC is being developed that will shape further work to improve SEND services for Hertfordshire families.
You can take a look at the achievements over the last 2 years, plus what is still to be done over the next few years via this link:  Improvements and SEND Strategy (hertfordshire.gov.uk)

3) Herts SEND ilearn project

HPCI has been working with officers from HCC on a new on-line learning module for their employees called Introduction to SEND.  We are very pleased to say that it has been agreed that this will be a compulsory module for all Children’s Services staff whether they work in a SEND service or not.  This is part of the new HCC strategy that SEND is everyone’s business.

4) Anxiety and school attendance approach.

Both HPCI and HCC are very aware of the rise in anxiety amongst children and young people and that for some this has meant that they are struggling to attend school.  Some parents are concerned about this leading to fines for non-attendance and we have worked with HCC on this over the pandemic and there is a dedicated page on the SEND Local Offer which can be found here: If your child is too anxious to go to school
The approach from HCC and their Attendance Team is still one of support to a family and more information was given in our Network Update of the 12th March which can be found here:
HPCI parent update 12th March 21
All schools in Hertfordshire have also been sent a new guidance document on Emotional Based School Avoidance which you can see here:  Emotionally Based School Avoidance: Executive Summary (hertfordshire.gov.uk)

5) HPCI & SENDIASS recorded webinars – watch at your convenience

Since October 2020 HPCI has been supporting SENDIASS to deliver webinars for parents on a variety of topics such as EHC Plans, Making the Most of Meetings, SEN Support in Mainstream Schools and Choosing a School.  There are more live webinars happening this term and also a number of recorded ones which you can watch at any time.  You can find further details and the links to view here: https://hertsparentcarers.org.uk/webinars/

6) School is difficult – https://www.schoolisdifficult.co.uk/

This new website and charity developed from the Spectrum Gaming site https://www.spectrumgaming.net/  where issues around school were a common theme.
‘School is difficult’ aims to give a voice to neurodivergent young people who struggle with school.  They want to hear from neurodivergent young people about what works about school/education system and what is challenging with a view to producing a report with recommendations on what can be done to make the education system work better for them.

7) THE BUZZ – new website for deaf young people

The NDCS (National Deaf Children’s Society) has re-designed its website for deaf young people.
It is the only website of its kind for deaf young people aged 8-18 in the UK.
Watch this animation to find out more here
Find the website here: THE BUZZ