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

Things to do in Hertfordshire

Get set, sail!

Young people over 5 years of age with disabilities, can now enjoy sailing sessions once a month with the Three Rivers District Council and the CVSS Sailing Club at the Bury Lake Rickmansworth Aquadrome.

Sailing is the perfect way to feel tranquility and freedom on the water. Each boat and katakanu is specially designed to help support those with any disability allowing all to take to the water and learn how to sail. Participants will be given a sailing buddy and a thorough briefing before taking to the water.

The sessions will take place from 11am - 12 noon on the following Saturdays in 2020

Saturday 2 May Saturday 22 August
Saturday 20 June Saturday 12 September
Saturday 18 July Saturday 3 October

Sessions are only £5 a time - more information on their website here

Bury Lake Rickmansworth Aquadrome

CVSS Sailing Club



Email or phone 01923 776611

Three Rivers Leisure host a range of other Get Set Activities from Sport, Dance to Trampolining and Theatre. All details can be found at

Residentials for 11 - 17 year olds with vision impairment

Build your confidence and independence, learn new skills, have fun and make new friends at a 6 Nights residential with Vision England. 

Vision England is an exciting residential programme for young people with vision impairment in the UK, in partnership with the Field Studies Council (FSC). Young people are supported to play a leading role in changing their communities and the environment for the better.     

Activities may include conservation activities like coppicing and tree planting, and other activities like wildlife walks, bush craft, hiking and camping.  Also lots of social activities!

Venue: Preston Montford Field Centre, Shrewsbury Shropshire

Cost: £25.00

For more information: 07816 599 260 or

How to apply: online at    

Please let us know if you would like an application posted out or support to complete your application.

Legoclub St Albans at Fleetville 2020

Legoclub is a friendly relaxed Saturday club for children on the autistic spectrum and those with special needs. Children and their parents can enjoy a change of scenery whilst really being themselves.

Parents - bring your book, paper, shopping list or friend and take some headspace. If you want to talk or wonder what services might be available please ask the organisers, they are happy to listen and signpost.

Coffee, tea and biscuits are available and packed lunches are welcome.

For many of the children transitions are difficult. We know tidying up and going home can easily cause an upset. Feel free to leave just before tidy-up time, we want parents to have a relaxing time and an easy departure.

Following feedback from the girls attending we now also have some "girly" Lego!

When: 12:00-14:00, once a month

Where: Fleetville Community Centre, Royal Rd, St Albans AL1 4LQ.

Who: Children with SEN and their siblings. Best suited to ages 0-14

What: Free play with Lego and Duplo

Cost: £2 per child £1 per sibling

Queries: 077 350 72 964

Future Saturdays: 1 February, 7 March, 4 April, 9 May and 6 June.

Summer break in July and August. Back Saturday 12 September, 3 October, 7 November and 5 December.

Trinity yoga classes

Looking for gentle exercise?

Try Yoga with Ali!

The Trinity Community Project provides opportunities and activities for adults with mental health issues or learning disabilities - one of these activities is restorative yoga and mindfulness.

Click on the image to see the poster.

Any prospective new Trinity members must first complete a referral form which is downloadable from the Trinity website.

If you have any queries, please call Trinity Activities Co-ordinator Ben Barrell on  01727 838671 or TCP Mobile: 07958 357916



Libraries supporting children’s mental health and wellbeing

Earlier this month, libraries launched their Reading Well for Children book collection.

These books provide helpful reading to support children’s mental health and wellbeing, joining the other collections already on the shelves including "Reading Well for Mental Health, Reading Well for Young People (Shelf Help) and Reading Well for Long Term Conditions.

The books have been chosen and endorsed by leading health professionals and are targeted at children in Key Stage 2 (age 7-11) A wide range of reading levels are supported and help less confident readers and encourage children to read together with their carers.

Shockingly, 12.8% of 5-19 year olds have had a mental health condition. 34% of parents of children aged 4-11 worry about their child’s mental health and 60% of children aged 8-11 say they regularly feel stressed, sad or worried.

Although 39% of 8-11s say they find it difficult to talk about their emotions, 90% of parents agree that reading together is a useful tool to help open up conversations.

The 33 titles in the collection cover subjects such as maintaining good mental health, understanding and managing feelings, dealing with worries, dealing with tough times personally and navigating the world around you, including at school, online and in the news.

Visit your Library to find out more about the Reading Well for Children book collection and how it can support parents and children.

For the full booklist, visit

Spotlight on picture books

Margaret Street, Early Years Librarian writes about "Rhyme and Sign adventure books with British Sign Language"

Picture books containing British Sign language (BSL) are very hard to find so I was really pleased to discover this series called ‘Rhyme and Sign adventure’ books. These fun stories are now available to borrow from every Hertfordshire Library.

They have bright illustrations and cover topics which appeal to young children - farm animals, mini beasts and transport. The BSL is clearly signed at the bottom of each page and the signs relate directly to the pictures so everyone can join in together. The stories are written with lots of repetition to help practise the different words and signs, and to build up your BSL vocabulary throughout the story. You can request the books via

Support and Advice

Free parent/carer workshops on EHCP annual reviews

SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities Information, Advice and Support Service)  is running free workshops to help parents/carers of children or young people with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) to understand the Annual Review process.

Supported by HPCI, four workshops (listed below) will be run during March with 20 bookable places at each one – ALL EVENTS will run from 10am to 12 noon.

  1. Thursday 12th March : Hatfield – Birchwood Leisure Centre – Longmead - AL10 0AN
  2. Thursday 19th March : Stevenage – Novotel – Knebworth Park – SG1 2AX
  3. Wednesday 25th March: Watford – Stanborough Centre – St Albans Rd - WD25 0UQ
  4. Thursday 26th March: Ware – Wodson Park – Wadesmill Rd – SG12 0UQ

The workshops are designed to help parents and carers whose child has an EHC Plan to understand the Annual Review process.  A workshop will cover:-

  • the purpose of an Annual Review
  • when they should happen
  • what is involved
  • emergency Annual Reviews 
  • transition reviews - when a child is moving between education phases
  • Year 9 reviews

To book a place go to
or text/phone HPCI on 07840 360245 

Please do not book a place if your child/young person does not have an EHCP

Find out more about SENDIASS on their new website

A free book for young people living with ADHD

Stories That Never Stand Still is a collection of real-life stories and expert insights charting the exceptional experiences of people with ADHD created by people with ADHD for people with ADHD.

An array of stories give each reader an opportunity to learn about the positives of having an ADHD brain while also suggesting ways to support with the negatives, in the hope of raising awareness, reducing stigma and shining a light on the achievements individuals can accomplish when living with ADHD.

You can download Stories that never stand still for free

4 March - an opportunity meet SEND professionals

St Albans DSPL 7 (Delivering Special Provision Locally) is holding its annual free SEND information village event on

Wednesday 4 March 2020, from 10am to 12pm.

Visit them for an opportunity to meet and talk to Specialist Advisors, Educational Psychologists, service providers and representatives from Special Schools, Oaklands College and the Voluntary Sector.

Stall holders include:

The DSPL7 SEND Team, NESSie, Harpenden Plus Partnership, St Albans Plus Partnership, Links Academy Outreach Service, Speech, Language and Communication team, HPCI,(Herts Parent/Carer Involvement) Carers in Hertfordshire, KIDS Hub, The Collett Outreach Team, ADD-vance, SPACE, Families in Focus, Early Years SEND Team, The EP team, Families First, Transforming SEND services Team, Potential Kids, 5-25 SAS team, Up on Downs and Oaklands College.

You can meet them at :

The Hub, Fleetville Junior School

228 Hatfield Road, St Albans, AL1 4LW

Please note, there is no parking at the school but free parking is available in the surrounding streets and at the local supermarket.

Refreshments will be provided

For enquiries or to book email  or call 01707 519229

Down Syndrome training

DS Achieve (Affiliated to the Down's Syndrome Association) is offering a full-day training event for both professionals and  parents/carers.

The course is aimed at Teaching Assistants, classroom teachers, SENCO’s, Support Teachers and Speech and Language Therapists working with children with Down Syndrome but parents/carers will find the content useful in supporting their child at home and when working alongside school staff.

The training will be in Hatfield and delivered by Leela Baksi, Speech and Language Therapist, Symbol UK Ltd.

See this poster for full booking details and information.





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