Happy new year!
Welcome to the first issue of SEND News for 2021, focussing on support during the current lockdown. It's not the best start to a new year we're sure, but all we can say is you are doing a great job and take care everyone.
In this issue:
Help to access remote learning
- The DfE has released digital devices to all secondary schools in Hertfordshire (including maintained and VA schools). Speak to your school if you do not have a device for your child's online learning.
- If you don't have a spare device for your child's remote learning, but you do have an Xbox or a Playstation, you can use these consoles to access their online classes. Take a look at these instructions on how to use an Xbox or Playstation for online learning.
- The mobile data allowance scheme is being rolled out in Hertfordshire too. Speak to your school if you do not have fixed broadband at home, cannot afford additional data for your devices, and need data to access remote education.
- With most children back at home learning remotely, you might need some ideas to keep them engaged and learning. Our resources area has activities to help build a number of skills, and take into account the extra challenges some young people face with their learning. We've cherry picked interesting resources from across the web, and our Specific Learning Difficulties team have crafted plenty of worksheets with their expert knowledge too. Visit the resource area.
SEND Service updates - how things are running during lockdown
- Therapies and Community Paediatrics: Currently all services are continuing as pre-Christmas break, and no staff have been redeployed to support the vaccination or COVID surge programmes.
- The Speech and Language, Occupational and Physiotherapy teams continue to provide face to face support in Special Schools with other appointments virtual either at home or at school.
- There have been some staffing difficulties this week whilst schools establish the critical worker provision, but this should be resolved by next week.
- Short Breaks Local Offer: Physical SBLO sessions are running with reduced capacity due to social distancing measure. Virtual SBLO sessions are available with some providers. View the Short Breaks physical and virtual offers
- Overnight Short Breaks: All 3 Overnight Short Breaks settings are open with reduced capacity due to social distancing measures.
- Direct payments: view our guidance on direct payments and coronavirus
- Homecare: In some cases you may be visited by a different carer due to staff needing to self-isolate. Your Homecare agency will let you know if this happens.
These times are not like any other. If your circumstances change and you find yourself needing extra support, don't hesitate to ask.
- If you are a family in need of support with food and other essentials, call HertsHelp on 0300123 4044 or email email@example.com.
- The Money Advice Unit has an excellent online store of information and guidance, plus a 'benefits and budgeting calculator' where you can learn a bit about what financial support you could get. Visit the Money Advice webpages
- If you receive free school meals and your child is currently learning remotely, schools should continue to provide free school meals or food parcels for pupils. See school meals information from GOV.UK.
We are pleased to announce the launch of our brand new events tool on the Local Offer website. We hope the change will mean you get more detail about events and find something that's right for your family. Our aim for the events area is to provide all support on offer in Hertfordshire in one place; currently the events tool is choc-full of courses and support for parents, but we'd like to include more activities for children and young people and we plan on filling this out. If you are an events organiser who would like to promote your events or activities, please let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spotlight on events
Parent courses: SPACE
Including: sleep, anxiety, dealing with anger and conflict, understanding autism and understanding autism in girls.
Support for speech and language issues in young children: Contact
This workshop will help you to think about how you can best communicate with your child and how you can share this knowledge with those in their early years and school settings. For parents of children aged 0 - 5.
See all courses and things to do