Parent network update – 12th March

Welcome to this week’s HPCI parent network update which includes:

  • Returning to school and anxiety
  • Healthwatch Herts Vaccination survey
  • HCC Childcare Survey
  • Podcast on Learning Disability health checks
  • Special Needs Jungle webinars
  • So what is DLD? A short film
  • 2021 Census

Returning to school or avoiding to for those children and young people with anxiety 
Throughout the pandemic we have been working closely with Herts County Council (HCC) to ensure that the approach to attendance at school for those children and young people who struggle with anxiety is appropriate and supportive.  We are aware that a number of children/young people and parents are anxious about the return to school and HPCI will always encourage parents to contact the school to discuss those anxieties and work together to come up with a plan to address them and enable a successful return to education.
Where children do not attend school due to their anxiety what follows is the process that the Attendance Team at HCC will use.
All initial letters to families about attendance come from the school and some may be authorising absences as a result of anxiety.  When those absences become marked as unauthorised then, after 10 days of unauthorised absence has built up, schools are legally bound to notify the Attendance team at Herts County Council (HCC) which then looks at each case individually.
HCC looks at each case and the advice to schools is tailored to the needs of the child based on the information received from the school.
Where anxiety is mentioned by schools then specific advice will be given to the school around ensuring that the child/young person has been seen by a health professional and/or an HCC ISL (Integrated Services for Learning) professional as well as checking on parental engagement with the school.
If the school applies to HCC for a Fixed Penalty Notice then, where anxiety or ASD is mentioned, the Attendance team will investigate further before a penalty notice is issued.
A guidance document on Emotionally Based School Avoidance has been prepared with input from HPCI and will be published very soon.  We will let our network know when this happens. The Attendance Team will then expect that schools have requested the guidance and can provide evidence of having used an assess, plan, do, review approach with the child/young person.

Healthwatch Herts – vaccination survey
If anyone in your household has had the Covid-19 vaccination then Healthwatch Herts would like to here about your experience.  Follow the link to the survey…/covid-19…/

HCC Childcare Survey
HCC want to hear from you if you are a parent of a child aged 0 to 14 years and there is a question in there around SEND!  The survey results are used to understand the current market position and help plan for future provision.

Learning Disability health check – podcast from national charity Contact                                          
Everyone with a learning disability aged 14 and over is entitled to a free annual health check with the GP. In Contact’s  latest podcast episode their health lead, Amanda talks about why it’s so important parents take up the offer. Amanda explains the process for making sure your child is offered a health check, and what you can expect to happen at the appointment.

Special Needs Jungle Webinars
SNJ held a webinar in the wake of their #ProvisionDenied report which had a panel of SEND legal experts – public law barristers Steve Broach (39 Essex Chambers) who chaired the webinar, and Alice Irving (Doughty Street Chambers), SNJ’s legal columnist, SEN solicitor Hayley Mason (SEN Legal), and legal aid solicitor, Gregg Burrough (Coram Children’s Legal Centre).
You can watch the video and read the slides and answers here.

SNJ Fabricated illness webinar 17th March
This webinar is looking at the increase is cases being brought against parents of children with SEND accusing them of fabricating illness.  Further details here:

Speech, Language and Communication – So what is DLD? A short film from national charity AFASIC
Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) is the new term being used for the 7% of children who struggle with understanding or using spoken language, an average of 2 per school class. If this term is new to you then watch the short film below to find out more about DLD.

The 2021 Census is coming
The census takes place across the country every 10 years and gathers vital information that is used to plan services such as education, healthcare and transport.
You will receive an invitation pack in the post soon showing you how to complete it.
Find out more at
Although this is not SEND specific it is vital that SEND families make sure that they take part as so many services that our families use are planned using the information from the census.