In this issue:

Paid opportunity for young people to shape SEND services in Hertfordshire (ages 19-25)

We are looking for confident young people aged 19 - 25 who have lived experiences of special educational needs and or disabilities. They must be able to advocate for all children and young people with SEND and use their own lived experience to support the improvement of SEND services and to help us in making SEND everyone's business.  

If this sounds like a good opportunity for a young person you know, find out more about the Expert by Experience role (pdf 157kb).

To apply, you will also need to fill in and submit this criminal record declaration form (word doc 91kb)

The closing date for applications is midday on 22 April 2024.

Young person with SEND builds confidence and skills through a supportive work experience placement (ages 16 - 25)

Shane, an autistic young person from Stevenage, had lost confidence since the pandemic and felt unable to go out on his own.  But recently the Services for Young People (SfYP) team supported Shane to complete a 70-hour work experience placement with KS Models, a local model making shop and the experience has made a huge difference to his life, building his confidence, self-esteem and skills for the future.

Shane said: “I am grateful for the opportunity I had to work at KS models and thanks for adapting to my needs so I can show how hard I can work … thank you.”

Read Shane’s story

If you know a young person with special educational needs and disabilities who would benefit from support getting into employment, please visit the SfYP Pathways to Success 2024 webpage or you can refer a young person to SfYP.

Young people can also talk about their future with SfYP Advisers at their local SfYP young people’s centre.

New online groups to support young people with their mental health (ages 7- 16)

The With Youth team at Hertfordshire Mind Network have launched three new online groups for improving emotional wellbeing. The groups run in blocks of eight weekly sessions:

  • 13+ years group (Mondays at 7pm)

    withyouth online groups flyer

  • 7-12 years group (Tuesdays at 6pm
  • Parents/carers group (Wednesdays at 8pm)

Sessions are free to attend and are tailored to each group’s needs. Topics will include understanding emotions and anxiety; relationships; coping strategies; bullying; school based anxiety and how to cope at school; identity; signposting and additional support; understanding self-harm; understanding neurodiversity; anger/challenging behaviours; how to cope as a parent and more.

Young people, parents and carers can email: withyouth@hertsmindnetwork.org or call 0208 189 8400 to find out more and/or register interest.

Our response to HPCI's annual parent carer survey results - and how we are using them to improve

Every year Herts Parent Carer Involvement (HPCI) run a survey to find out what families in Hertfordshire think of SEND services. The results show we have a lot of work to do, and the survey has become a valuable benchmark for us to know how to improve. Hero Slinn, Director of Inclusion and Skills, responds to the results of this year's survey. She covers important topics including EHCPs, specialist provision, communication between services and families, and helping families to get the information and support they need from an early stage.

HPCI's annual survey results - how we are responding and improving as a result

A new EHC Coordinator shares her experiences of being part of the change in statutory SEND

Mandy Grimes is a new recruit to our statutory SEND team. Mandy has previous professional experience in the police service and within a nursery as an early years practitioner. She also has her own personal experience as a mum of children with SEND needs and an EHCP. This is what motivated her to apply and work to bring about change for families going through the EHCP process.

Mandy shares her experience of joining us as a new EHC Coordinator, and her dedication to changing things in SEND for the better.

Guest blog: Being part of the change in statutory SEND (a new colleague shares her experiences)

Families in Focus - new parent courses for the Summer term (ages 2 - 11)

Lesley and Francine started Families in Focus in 2007 and, as parents, understand the struggles and challenges of parenting a diverse family. They offer online, evidence-based, and award-winning SEND courses for parents of children on assessment pathways or with a diagnosis:

Photo of Lesley and Francine from Families in FocusA new series of courses will be starting for the Summer term including:

  • Handling anger in primary aged children with ADHD and Autism
  • A complete guide to parenting children with ADHD and Autism and associated conditions 

Find out more about Families in Focus courses on our events pages


View all activities and courses

Imagination Dance: Sensory dance classes (ages 11+)

Wednesdays 17, 24 April, 1 May 6.10pm - 6.50pm, Digswell village hall

The Imagine & Move Seniors class will be similar to our younger age sensory movement classes but with more advanced movements and challenges for older participants.

Autism Hertfordshire - Walking groups for autistic adults (ages 18+)

Friday 19 April (Watford), Friday 12 and 26 April (St Albans)Autism HErtfordshire walking groups flyer

For more info and to book your place, email enquiries@autismherts.org or call 01727 743246

Add-Vance: Supporting the transition to primary school (ages 0-5)

Monday 22 April 10am, online

An online introductory workshop for parents/carers of children up to 5 years with a diagnosis or suspected diagnosis of ADHD and/or Autism.