Latest news and updates


Dear parents and carers

Welcome to the January edition of HAND SEND News.

We hope you enjoy the newsletter and find it useful.

As always, we welcome your feedback and what you would like to see in future editions.

Best wishes

Claudia Houghton and Dee De Bruin

News from Potential Kids - reopening of Stay and Play and Potential Girls and new groups

Potential Kids is delighted to announce that in February it will be reopening it's much loved PK STAY AND PLAY sessions & POTENTIAL GIRLS group at the amazing and very central BREAKS MANOR in Hatfield.


Not only that.. they will also be launching two new groups POTENTIAL TECH & POTENTIAL BOYS at the GALLERIA in Hatfield - https://thegalleria.co.uk/.

And last but not least ROE HILL HALL will be home for POTENTIAL KICKS & inclusive MULTI SPORTS. http://hatfield-herts.gov.uk/roe-hill-hall

More information at info@potentialkids.org and www.potentialkids.org

News from the KIDS HUBs - toy libraries, parent courses and support groups and more

Please follow this link for news of activities, courses, support groups and much more from the KIDS HUBs.

Voices of children, young people and families needed, have your say

Have your say on the Hertfordshire Children’s Services commitment to the voices of children, young people and families.

A working group of staff, young people and carers from across Children’s Services have worked together to produce a set of commitments for all staff to abide to.

These clearly set out their commitment to ensure they work together with service users and are proactive in their response to feedback.

All parents/carers have the opportunity to comment on the commitments before they are finalised and published.

You can complete the survey here

Redesigned Autism Diagnostic Pathway for children and young people

Health commissioners and providers in partnership with families and the local authority are currently undertaking a ‘proof of concept’ pilot in East and North Hertfordshire to test a new autism spectrum diagnostic pathway.

The outcomes that the commissioners are looking for this pathway to deliver for children and their families are:

  • Compliance with NICE guidance
  • Single point of access
  • Positive experience for the young person and their family
  • Reduction in the length of time it currently takes for a young person and their family to receive a diagnostic decision
  • Utilisation of the optimal combination of professionals to support correct and timely diagnosis
  • Support to families; management of expectations, information, advice and guidance and signposting during diagnostic process

Following a pre- testing phase that completes in December the pathway will be tested on a small cohort of children in East and North Hertfordshire during January to June.  The pilot will explore a number of key areas.

  • To understand whether this pathway can be delivered within a maximum of 20 weeks
  • To understand any required changes with respect to gathering referral information
  • To test whether desirable or feasible for a named MDT to follow a child through the pathway
  • To test the principle and application of having a lead pathway professional for each child
  • To understand resource differential between current and proof of concept pathway
  • To understand the impact of CAMHS explicit involvement in proof of concept pathway
  • To understand families and Young People view of the proof of concept pathway
  • To identify areas for improvement in the application of the pathway
  • To test the pathway operationally
  • Gather post pathway support gaps

Each child will be reviewed using a multidisciplinary team approach, the membership of which will vary dependent on the child’s age. The core team will consist of a Community Paediatrician, Speech and Language Therapist and CAMHS professional. For children in an educational placement the SENCO or other applicable representative may be invited to the family feedback session if felt appropriate.

The new pathway will be evaluated with input from families and young people, this evaluation will support commissioners to make an informed decision as to next steps.

There is a new personalisation and personal budgets policy in Hertfordshire

SEN Services, 0-25 Together Service and the local health services have produced a new integrated Children's 'personalisation and personal budgets policy'

This has now been achieved with the help of parents and young people with SEND

The policy has now been published on the SEND Local offer, the link is: http://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/personalbudgets

The policy explains what personal budgets are, who can request one, how decisions are made and managing money.

It explains personal budgets for health, social care and Education.

By working together we can provide better support for children, young people and their families.

The policy is for Children and young people:

  • up to 25years old with an EHCP
  • up to 18 years old who have support from the 0-25 together service
  • up to 18 years old with complex health needs

The policy offers easy access information for people who want to know the basics, with the option to click on key words for more information.

There is a library of supporting documents including an FAQ document and two easy read fact sheets.

The personal budgets easy read: http://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/personalbudgetseasyread

The EHCP easy read: http://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/EHCPeasyread

News from St Albans and Harpenden

Please follow this link for news on events, support groups, courses and services and much more from the St Albans and Harpenden areas.

Your views needed on the specialist advisory service

Hertfordshire Parent Carer Involvement (HPCI) is working with Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) on a review of how their education based specialist advisory services are working.

The views and experiences of parent carers are an important part of the review.

If your child has had input or support from one or more of the specialist advisory teams listed below in the last 3 years then please follow this link to complete the survey.

Please do not complete the survey if your experience is over three years ago as there have been a number of changes to services since then.

The survey is open until Thursday 31 January 2019.

The specialist advisory teams which are included in the survey are:

  • Early Years Specialist Advisors
  • Communication and Autism team
  • Sensory Impairment teams (hearing, visual and deaf/blind/MSI)
  • Physical and Neurological Impairment (PNI) including children and young people with an acquired brain injury.

In line with HPCI policy no identifying personal information will be shared with HCC.

Please complete one survey for each child.

Please follow this link to complete the survey

    News from Tourettes Action

    Please follow this link for January's news from Tourettes Action about their European exchange trip.

    News from the Council for Disabled Children

    Please follow thislink for news and information from the Council for Disabled Children.

    News from the government

    The right support for every child

    The Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, has announced new measures to support children with complex needs and disabilities. Councils will receive an additional £250 million over the next two years, on top of the high needs budget already allocated to provide support to children and young people with complex SEND. £100 million will also be provided to create specialist places in mainstream schools, colleges and special schools, through capital funding. 
    More special free schools will also be approved by the department, with the Education Secretary confirming that he will approve all high quality bids in the current round of applications. This should create more educational places for children and young people with SEND, and give parents more choice. 
    The Government has also confirmed an expansion of the funding to train more educational psychologists, and the launch of a long term research and analysis programme. This will assess the impact of current SEN provision on children and young people’s outcomes, and the value for money of SEN provision in England.

    The Secretary of State’s letter to local authorities, detailing these announcements, can be found here

    New Leadership Board for SEND to be established

    Following recommendations from CDC Director Dame Christine Lenehan’s 2018 report “Good Intentions, Good Enough”, a Leadership Board for SEND is to be established to improve the commissioning and delivery of services, and outcomes for children. This new expert board will include representatives of local health, social care, and education services, and will work closely with charities, school and families.  

    Minister Zahawi’s letter to Dame Christine Lenehan, providing further detail on the SEND System Leadership Board, can be found here.

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