SEND news

Latest news and updates

Transforming SEND services February update

Welcome to the Transforming SEND updates where over the next few pages you can read more about the progress of the transformation programme for SEND services

There are seven areas of focus for improvement, listed below. We will update on some each month.

The live links above are the projects you can read more about in this issue of SEND News.

Transforming SEND services - Information, advice and support update

An Information, Advice and Support (IAS) programme board was set up at the start of this year, whose role is to ensure Hertfordshire's IAS arrangements comply with the SEND Code of Practice and the relevant national minimum standards for information sharing.

We are still working to improve the SEND Local Offer following the launch of the refreshed website last month.

Supported by HPCI, we are holding  an informal development session 

On: Wednesday 4 March 

at: Novotel Hotel, Knebworth Park Stevenage, SG1 2AX

and we would love you to come along.

The session runs from 10am to 12 noon - tea and coffee will be provided

You don’t need any particular IT skills or level of knowledge about SEND.

On the day the team will look at:

  • Trying out designs for new web tools that will help parents to search more easily for support groups and organisations
  • Categorising exercises to understand how to organise a new area of the website
  • Understanding what you need as parent to find events, support groups and self-help resources

Book a place via this link: or text/phone HPCI on 077840 360245

Information Advice and Support

Next month we will be launching a consultation on a new Local Offer Helpline in Hertfordshire. We aim to create more opportunities for parents and carers to speak to professionals, find the information you need when you need it and learn more about what is available electronically. Watch this space for more information.

Transforming SEND services : EHCP improvements update

A big task for the SEND programme team is to improve current practice and processes around the education, health and care plans (EHCP).

This work includes a focus on Hertfordshire's current processes for panels and decision making, annual reviews, EHC assessments and parent and professional access to online EHCP information.

We’ve had feedback that the letters we send during EHC assessment and plan processes are not always easy to understand. We are in the process of re-writing the letters and we’ll be testing them with parents and professionals to make sure they’re giving you the information you need.

We have also held workshops with representatives from the local authority and HPCI to look at how we can improve our EHC assessment and plan decision-making processes and the ways in which we communicate decisions to you. We also consulted with school SENCOs about annual reviews.

From the late summer - autumn, there will be a new online area to apply for an EHCP. When this is ready we will be testing it with HPCI representatives.

As always we welcome your feedback - please do email the if you have any queries or suggestions.

Transforming SEND services: Preparing for Adulthood update

The Preparing for Adulthood Programme aim is for ‘Children and Young People with SEND to be able to successfully move into adult life with equal life chances, independence and work opportunities to achieve their aspirations as citizens of Hertfordshire’ the team work closely with colleges, schools, parents and carers to address issues and barriers to a smooth transition into adulthood.

The Preparing for Adulthood programme focuses on activity across health, home, learning, social engagement and making available meaningful opportunities such as employment, volunteering and supported employment. We have taken onboard feedback from our young people, parents and carers that the services available and the offer across these key life areas is often unclear resulting in our young people fearing transition and not being prepared to move into their adult lives.

These topics were explored at a series of focus groups last year and there are now dedicated projects being carried out within each of these areas to address the points raised. These include but are not limited to:

  • the development of an accommodation ‘ Moving On’ strategy to inform and communicate the housing offer more effectively to help young people and their families plan their future together
  • The development of improved post 16+ learning offer to give young people clarity on what is available and inform their preferred learning journey
  • The development of social and community engagement through 14+ sports programmes and an online events and activity tool for young people to find accessible activities in their area
  • Current proposal looking to support transition for our young people out of college into meaning opportunities including employment, volunteering and community activities
  • Full review of the Local Offer website Preparing for Adulthood information - to further develop and include services, tools and materials for young people, parents, carers and practitioners

A PfA launch event planned for October 2020 will provide more detail of our progress across areas with a view to promoting services, tools and support that have been developed.

We are also considering how our Supported Internship programme will continue to run going forward. There will no longer be a ‘Supported Internship Coordinator’ based within HCC, and instead, as from 1 April, this role will be based within the college and their respective job coaches will work to source and place students with local employers. Next month we will feature the work that was done by the Supported Internship Co-ordinator and the impact this role has made.

Any queries, please email


Transforming SEND services : Transport review of our current travel arrangements

A SEND transport workstream has been set up to review SEND transport and consider ways to minimise lone travel by all age groups.

We are also reviewing the way children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) are supported with travel to and from school or college.

We recently sent out a survey which is now closed and have held focus groups in February to gather views and thinking on the current SEND travel provision. We will share results with you in the next issue.

If you wish to find out more or share any thoughts, please email

Looking for new providers to run overnight short breaks (OSB) in Hertfordshire

Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) is recommissioning the Overnight Short Breaks Service and wants to hear what you think about the proposals.

Overnight Short Breaks (OSB) is a residential service for Hertfordshire children and young people (CYP) with disabilities or complex health needs. The service provides respite in a safe and suitable setting for the child/young person away from home, allowing parents or carers to have a break from caring responsibilities knowing their child or young person is well supported by a trained worker.  

There will be no changes to the service during the consultation period nor will the outcome of the consultation affect the amount of support that families currently receive. HCC is not reducing any overnight short breaks opportunities - we are looking to find a new provider for one of the provisions, currently the Jubilee House Care Trust and seek your views on this.

Read this factsheet to find out more and you can complete the consultation questionnaire online at under the ‘Open Consultations’ section.

If you cant go online or you would prefer to talk to us in person, we will be holding two public meetings. See below for details:

Date Time Venue
Tuesday 17 March 2020 6pm - 7:30 pm Sportsman Room, Birchwood Leisure Centre, Longmead, Hatfield, AL10 0AN. Onsite parking available.
Thursday 19 March 2020 10am - 11:30 am Large Meeting Room, Welwyn Garden City Library,* Campus West, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 6AJ

* Welwyn Garden City library has two disabled parking spaces which operate on a ‘first come first served’ basis. There is a nearby public pay and display car park.

 We look forward to hearing from you – if you have any questions please email

School admission dates

2 March 2020 is National allocation day

If your child has a statement of special educational needs or an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan that names a specific school, your child’s application will be handled by our Special Needs Team.

For mainstream applications, Hertfordshire County Council will email you the school you've been allocated, if you applied online and confirmed your email address.

The online allocation system will be updated with allocations and be made available only after allocation emails have been sent.

Notification letters will be posted first class only to parents or carers who applied on paper.

If you applied online, you can use online facilities including opting out, making a new application and submitting an appeal.

Find out more here

What happens next

2 – 16 March 2020

Continuing interest lists are created.

Applicants that didn't get any higher preference schools will automatically go on the list for those schools.

Parents or carers should confirm this with schools responsible for their own admissions.

Email if you don't want your child to remain on continuing interest lists.



Purple all stars


The Purple Star Team need your help!

Purple Stars are looking for more people with learning disabilities and carers to be representatives on our steering group committee. If you, or anyone you know would like to get involved with the Purple Star team on a voluntary basis, please get in touch by emailing

If you would like the Purple All Stars to perform at any events, get in touch with Kate Harding now and if you don't know much about the Purple Star folder, you can find out more by watching this film.

To find out which providers are a Purple Star Accredited service, click on the image.

New children's residential home in West Hertfordshire opens

Hertfordshire is pleased to announce the successful launch of Greenway Lodge a new two bedded Children’s Home in West Hertfordshire. This is the first of a planned programme of increased residential provision in the County as part of our Residential Strategy. Its aim is to increase provision by 31 beds over the next three years.

The launch event took place on Friday 21 February with the opening being marked by a cake cutting ceremony by Cllr Teresa Heritage (pictured right below) and Joanne Henderson, (pictured left) Director of CF Support Services Ltd who will be operating the service on behalf of the Council.

The project took over two years of hard work and commitment to deliver including the oversight of building works to an existing Council property and the completion of a full competitive tender process to successfully award the contract to an external provider, CF Support Services Ltd.

The service will provide an OFSTED registered two bed, emergency therapeutic residential home for Children and Young People aged 9 to 17 with high levels of challenging behaviour and complex needs. Needs will include trauma, attachment, offending including gang affiliation and weapon use, mental health including hospital step down, neurodevelopment (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD and or Autism Spectrum Disorder ASD), substance use and child sexual exploitation presenting high levels of risk. The length of stay is anticipated to be approximately 12 weeks dependent on the needs of the individual young people.

The new service was commissioned in partnership with our Young Commissioners who were involved in the evaluation of the tender bids, the naming of the service and the look and feel of the home’s décor and soft furnishings.(Pictured centre are YC Commissioners Megan and Daniel)

Although the home will be registered with OFSTED for two beds the likelihood is that due to the high levels of need and matching only one young person will be in placement at any one time. CF Support Services Ltd are currently waiting for their OFSTED registration to be completed which is imminent in order to take our first young person.

For further information concerning the project please contact or

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