In this issue:
Message from Jo Fisher, Director of Children's Services
We all know that having the best services and support to meet the needs of children and young people with SEND can have a lasting impact for the rest of their lives.
As a local authority, we need to deliver these professionally and with consistency, whilst still being mindful of the need to adapt to children and young people’s needs as they develop. That is why it’s important that we continue to work in partnership with parents, carers and those working in education and healthcare to insure children receive the right support, at the right time.
We know that we have more to do to make sure this is the reality for all children with SEND and their families in Hertfordshire. In the last five years, there has been a significant increase in the number of children with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) and alongside this, pressure across SEND specialist support, including schools. Over the same period, funding to provide service and support has been stretched and we have faced difficulties in recruiting SEND officers which we know is also a national issue.
Understandably, some children and their parents have felt frustrated when they’ve not been able to get hold of their SEND worker or get the right special school place. We want you to know that we are working hard to make improvements and to meet these challenges head on. Sadly, we cannot make all of these changes overnight. We have put some measures in place – like finding and training additional staff to make sure simple queries can be answered quickly and that waiting times have significantly reduced – to help right now. Thank you for your understanding while we work to improve things. You can read more about our wider plans on our You Said, We Did webpage.
Our ambition, which we’ve set out in our new SEND Strategy, is to work alongside parents and carers to coproduce services together and to get the right support in place. We have already invested to allow for increased SEND support in mainstream schools and we’ve created over 230 new special school places.
And there’s more to come. We’ve secured significant funding to create over 300 new permanent special school places, and the development of countywide specialist support in mainstream schools, in the next five years, including creating 60 new places for this term. At the heart of our Strategy is a system and culture change to ensure that children and young people with SEND and their families feel supported and able to stay engaged with their SEND case worker. In addition, we’re committed to improving both access to early help and improving communication between all those involved in providing SEND services and support in the county.
Finally, I want to emphasise that we are listening, we hear you and we will continue to invite parents, carers, young people and professionals to voice your issues and concerns and to get involved in shaping SEND support. I will continue to drive urgency and progress on this this work, to deliver lasting improvements and to give parents and carers confidence that Hertfordshire’s SEND system is working hard for families.
Jo Fisher, Director of Children's Services
Our Way Forward - plan for Children and Young People 2021 - 2026
Hertfordshire County Council’s Children’s Services is pleased to announce the publication of ‘Our Way Forward - Plan for Children and Young People 2021-26’. It sets out the ambitions to improve outcomes for children, young people and families within Hertfordshire to support them to get their lives back on track following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is supported by the Strategic Priorities, which will be updated annually, and will contribute to the achievement of the ambitions outlined within the plan.
The plan has five ambitions:
- To meet the needs of Hertfordshire’s children within their local community;
- To plan, commission and deliver trauma informed services that meet the individual needs of our citizens;
- To support children and young people get their lives and education back on track;
- To have a skilled workforce who are proud to work for Hertfordshire;
- To work in partnership to deliver early help and support to children, young people and families and build life chances.
You can view the Plan, Strategic Priorities and an animation of the ambitions here.
Many of our strategies contained within this Plan and other key Children’s Services strategies are publicly available as published documents on the Hertfordshire website.
Specialist Resource Provisions in Mainstream schools - video update
The SEND Strategy team have put together this video for parents and carers of children who are currently in a speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) base. The video explains more about what will happen when the Specialist Resource Provisions (SRPs) in mainstream schools are set up, and gives more information about how the SRPs will provide support.
Read more about our plans for increasing specialist provision in Hertfordshire
Support for exclusions and part-time timetables
All children of school-age have a legal right to education. If your child or young person has been excluded from school, or put on a part-time timetable, you might be worried about their education and how their needs will be met. The Local Offer has information about the different types of support you can access, what your legal rights are, and what your next steps should be.
Exclusions and part time timetables (hertfordshire.gov.uk)
If your child has been excluded (hertfordshire.gov.uk)
SENDIASS will also be able to offer you support, and have a wealth of information on attendance and exclusions. If you'd like to talk to someone about your concerns, you can phone them on 01992 555847.
View all events here
NESSie - Supporting children with additional needs - girls and women
18th January 2022 - 7.30 - 9pm
This forum is designed for parents/carers of girls and young women displaying traits of ASD and/or ADHD and aims to:
- Develop an understanding of the impact of the conditions on girls and young women
- Equip families with an awareness of the challenges they may face and the skills to support them
- To provide a space to explore how to manage the pressures of supporting a child/ren with additional needs.
Imagination Art - Dance Classes
Sensory movement and dance classes using props, music and dance-based activities to improve social interaction and confidence
Classes take place after school and evenings - Wednesdays - Hitchin, Thursdays - Hertford, Fridays - Biggleswade
Daisy's Community Hub Support Group
Friday 28 January 10am - 12pm
A community support group for all families in Hertfordshire and beyond that have a family member with SEND. Daisy's Community Hub support group meet every other Friday at the Cheshunt Park Golf Club.