Parent Network Update 28th Jan

Welcome to this week’s HPCI parent network update which has 8 items in it covering:

Lateral Flow testing
HCC’s budget proposals
Specialist Resource Provisions
Specialist Place Planning Strategy
Sources of support
Managing education from home
HCT Integrated Therapies
‘Harvey and Me’

Changes to lateral flow testing – what does that mean? 
Since the beginning of this term secondary schools and specialist provision with secondary age pupils have been using a type of test for coronavirus called lateral flow testing.  Staff and pupils in year 7 and above were offered tests weekly before starting work or school. If the test was positive, they were sent home to get another test at a community test centre to confirm.  If that second test was positive then they would be off work/school for the required length of time.  The close contacts in school would be identified and tested and if negative tested every day for a week before entering school to check if they had the virus.  This enabled staff and pupils to stay in school where they tested negative.
However, concerns were being raised by experts that lateral flow tests produce some false negatives i.e. the test showed negative when it should have been positive.  As a result the serial daily tests on the contacts of someone who tested positive have been temporarily stopped until there is more evidence to go on.  The result of this for those families whose children are attending a secondary school or specialist setting with secondary age pupils is that there is an increased likelihood that, where positive tests are found in a bubble, that bubble will be closed and pupils having to isolate.
There is more information below on the Department for Education blog on pausing of daily contact testing

Hertfordshire County Councils Budget proposals – comment by 1st Feb
HCC’s budget for next financial year is out for public comment.  Take a look.
HCC budget proposals

Specialist Resource Provisions (SRPs)
Following on from our email on 26th January about an online petition those of you who are interested in this development can read more in the report presented to and approved by HCC’s Education, Libraries and Localism Cabinet Panel back in December Cabinet report on new SRPs
There are public consultations on all 4 propose secondary SRPs which close on 1st February.   Find them here: Consultations 

Special School Place Planning Strategy
We know that demand for special school places has been rising in recent years for a number of reasons and that many families find themselves waiting for a special school place to become available.  It may often seem that HCC is not doing enough about this but there has been an increase in the number of special school places in the last 2 years and more are needed.  For the first time in Hertfordshire there is now an agreed planning strategy approved by County Councillors. You can read it here:  Special School Places Strategy
A number of HPCI parent reps have contributed to the development of this strategy and we look forward to seeing it implemented and all the children that need a special school place being able to access one.
The document will be available shortly on the SEND Local Offer.

Getting support
If you are affected by coronavirus HertsHelp can help with:
getting food, household essentials and medication, financial support and advice, services that can support you if you are feeling lonely or down and ways to improve your health and wellbeing.  Visit  email or call 0300 123 4044

SEND specific advice from HCC professionals is also available for parents to access here:

Educational Psychology Service01992 588574Weds 2-4pm
SEND Specialist Advice and Support (SAS) Service01442 453920Mon 9:30-12pm
Tues-Thurs 9:30-4pm

SENDIASS is still operating You can contact them directly at: 01992 555847 email:

Integrated Services for Learning Statutory SEND Duty lines
Below are general query and advice lines for parents/ carers, schools and professionals for matters relating to the Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) process for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

ISL Geographical Area Team Main line Alternative line
East Herts, Broxbourne, Welwyn and Hatfield01992 58856201438 844185
North Herts and Stevenage01438 84375801438 844707
St Albans and Dacorum01442 45330001442 453387
Watford, Three Rivers and Hertsmere01442 45401201442 453529

Managing educating from home
All schools have to provide remote education for those not attending school due to Covid 19.  HPCI is working with HCC to provide some more guidance for parents about what resources are available and any helpful hints on how to support your child as it is clear the situation with access to school or college is not likely to improve before March at the earliest.
All schools have a new statutory duty to have a remote education statement on their websites by the end of January. Do have a look for it and let your school know what you thing of it.
If you or your child is struggling with remote education then do contact your school and let them know so that they can support you.

HCT Integrated Therapies
Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust is the provider of therapies for children and young people in the community in Hertfordshire.  HPCI has been involved in developing an animation to help parents and others understand about the integrated therapy service offer.
You can find it on YouTube:​ or via their webpage:

Worth watching …..
For those of you thinking about your teenager’s transition to adult life this programme shown on BBC1 on Monday 25th Jan called ‘Harvey and Me’  features Katie Price’s son looking at his transition from school to college.  Available on BBC iplayer.