Good afternoon - today's issue is another SEND improvements special. Back in April we shared our first progress update on improvements we are making (in the council and health services). We are now halfway through the year, and we have another 4 months of work to update you on. During this time, an Independent Review was also carried out into our Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment process. We have since had our final report back from that, and we have information to share with you on the results, and how we will respond to the recommendations made.

If you have any questions or want to share your feedback on any of this, please do email us at SENDstrategy@hertfordshire.gov.uk

In this issue:

Hear about the progress we made on SEND improvements in May - July 2024

Our progress update on the SEND Priority Action and Improvement plan for May - July 2024 is now live. It covers topics including support for neurodiversity, special school places and improvements to EHCPs. Positively, there is a lot of information to share with you; it's a long page but we have broken down the information by topic so you can find what you need. We also had some feedback that you'd like to see more of the numbers and measurables which evidence progress. We're pleased that we have been able to include more of these in our latest update, and we will continue to share more of these wherever we can.

If you don't have time to read the whole thing, here are some highlights:

  • EHCP timeliness: 95 new recruits have been trained through our SEND Academy and are now working in services that manage EHCPs. The timeliness of EHCPs being issued has already increased. At the end of June 2024, 55.9% of EHCPs were issued within 20 weeks. This compares to 36% for the whole of 2023.
  • Hearing the voices of children and young people: We co-produced the ‘This is Me’ tool with children and young people to support them to tell their story within their EHCPs. We also appointed 4 'experts by experience', all under 25 years old with lived experience of SEND, who will be leading on engagement with young people to support improvement work.
  • Increasing support for neurodiversity: Following feedback from parent/carers and professionals, we have expanded the opening hours of the Neurodiversity Hub by recruiting more call handlers.
  • Specialist provision: There has been a 64% reduction in the number of children and young people waiting over 1 year for specialist provision. We have also set-up new area-based SEND Provision Panels, increasing their frequency from 1 to 8 per month, to improve timeliness and decision making.

Read our full update on our SEND Improvement Plan progress so far.

Independent review findings published

We have now received the final report from the Independent Review into the processes and effectiveness of our Education Health and Care Needs Assessments (EHCNA) in Hertfordshire.

The review was commissioned (by us, Hertfordshire County Council) earlier this year following a judicial review claim regarding delays relating to an EHC Needs Assessment. It also aligns with our commitment to improving SEND services for children and young people through our SEND improvement plan, put in place after an Ofsted/ CQC inspection last year.

Find out more about the Independent Review and read the final report.

Read our statement from Hertfordshire County Council about the Independent Review and final report.

Celebrating young people's achievements with Services for Young People (ages 14+)

Services for Young People (SfYP) delivers youth work projects across Hertfordshire for young people with SEND which aim to develop young people’s confidence, communication and life skills in a safe and supportive environment, while also supporting them to get their voices heard.

They have shared the story of a young person who has made remarkable progress in the development of his personal, social and educational skills through attending a SfYP project. With the support of the Youth Workers, he improved his mental health, became more confident, made friends, and returned to college to work towards his dream job.

With the right help and a sense of belonging, every young person can reach their full potential.

Read the full story and find out how young people can get support from SfYP.

Booking open for summer HAPpy camps (ages 5 -16)

Children and teens living in Hertfordshire who get benefits-related free school meals can attend this FREE holiday activity provision.HAPpy Camps flyer

As ever, HAPpy Camps will offer a wide variety of activities for children with a hot lunch included too!  They’re a great way to keep kids active and curious during the holidays, so they’re ready to learn again in the new school year. 

Every camp is inclusive and able to meet the needs of most children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), provided the right information is supplied with their booking. There are also SEND-specific camps which are better for children with higher support needs.

The HAPpy Camps summer programme runs from 29 July to 30 August. This summer, there are more than 45,000 places available at over 200 camps. 

Find and book a HAPpy Camp

Save 15% on reusable incontinence wear for Herts residents (all ages)

Many people are seeking ways to save money and be more sustainable. Now even 'hidden' waste can be swapped for reusables. With Herts Confident Continence, Hertfordshire residents can claim 15% off the purchase of reusable incontinence products from our partnering suppliers.
With products such as pants, briefs and pads suitable for men, women and children, we've got you covered!

Find out more about Herts Confident Continence

Summer Reading Challenge (all ages)

Get ready for a summer of imagination and creativity at your local Hertfordshire Library! 

The Marvellous Makers Summer Reading Challenge is here to spark the joy of reading and creative arts. There is no upper or lower age limit and this year we have made the challenge more accessible by introducing a symbol mat to help aid communication when children visit the library to tell us about their books.Summer Reading Challenage flyer

In collaboration with The Reading Agency and Create, a leading arts charity, we’re celebrating creativity and storytelling for our young readers. This year’s Challenge is an open invitation for children to explore books and stories while taking part in free activities. Children do not need to be reading independently to join in. Listening to an eAudiobook on BorrowBox from our eLibrary or enjoying a picture book read by a parent/carer/sibling all count towards the challenge.

The Challenge began on Saturday 6 July, and runs until Saturday 7 September. Children are encouraged to read six library books and collect exclusive stickers along the way. And that’s not all—finishers of the Challenge will receive a medal and certificate, and a chance to win tickets to an interactive poetry workshop with the celebrated poet, Joshua Seigal.

Keep an eye out for pop-up Maker Stations at selected libraries during the summer holidays, offering simple, engaging, and free activities designed to unleash the creative spirit in every child.

Find out more about the Summer Reading Challenge 


View all courses and activities

View all summer activities

Hertsmere Mencap - Inclusive Climbing (ages 11+) and Soft Play (under 11s)

Saturday 20 July at 9am, Furzefield Leisure Centre

Contact Adam at development@hertsmeremencap.org.uk before 17 July to book your place

Autism Hertfordshire - Healthy Relationships 4 week in-person course (ages 18+)

Starting Tuesday 23 July, St Albans

Exploring a variety of topics each week including: different types of relationships, maintaining healthy relationships and discussing unhealthy relationships 

SPACE - Anger and conflict online webinar

Tuesday July 16 10am - 11.30am, online

Strategies for managing anger and conflict in your family and building confidence