SEND Newsletter: Issue 9
Dear Parent and Carers,
Welcome to issue 9 of the Herefordshire SEND newsletter. This newsletter is co-produced by Herefordshire Council, Parent Carer Voice Herefordshire and Herefordshire Integrated Care System (ICS). This newsletter aims to provide easy access to key information and updates for families of children and young people with SEND.
Please give us feedback on this newsletter so that we can make it work for you and hear what articles or information you would like to see in future. You can send your suggestions about the newsletter by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember to follow Herefordshire SEND Local Offer on Facebook to stay up to date with local events, services and support available.
- Message from Liz Farr, Director of Education, Learning and Skills
- Parent Carer Voice Herefordshire - annual survey and website updates
- Herefordshire and Worcestershire SENDIASS - free training for parents/carers
- Immunisations and vaccinations for children in Herefordshire
- National Star open evening
- Autism Central
- Cracked Slipper - Centre Stage Group
- Herefordshire SEND Local Offer
- Herefordshire short breaks
Dear Parents and Carers,
I hope the term has started well for you all. I am pleased to share some updates with you on what’s been happening in SEND in Herefordshire since the last SEND Newsletter was published.
Working in Partnership
I continue to be proud of what we achieve together. I had the privilege of meeting two of our young people from Beacon College to film a segment for our SEND Strategy launch video. My grateful thanks to staff and students alike. You can find out more about our SEND Strategy and view the video on our website.
Our SENCo network met last week. There is a real sense of forward momentum and together we are brimming with ideas and plans to develop our work with families and children and young people further.
We are supporting the direction of future developments by being part of the West Midlands Partnership group to test and develop national SEND reforms over the next two years.
A SEND Employment forum for Herefordshire was launched on 20 June in National Disability Week 2023. Over 40 people attended from over 25 different organisations. We will be working over the next 12 months with the national ‘Internship Works’ programme to be ‘system’ ready to offer at least 5 young people a Support Internship in 2024.
We continue to place a strong focus on ensuring there are plenty of activities are available to you and your family that meet your needs. I am pleased to report that at the last count, over 100 children with special educational needs and/or disabilities attended the Holiday Activity Programme over the summer, an increase on numbers at the Easter programme. We are committed to continuing to increase access to leisure activities for your children and young people.
This term we have opened 42 additional specialist places. We know we have more to do, but we are exceptionally pleased with everyone’s efforts in enabling our newly formed mainstream specialist bases to open so successfully. Widemarsh Explorers, our specialist Nursery and Reception base, looks stunning and I know the children there have made a really positive start to term.
Covid Recovery Funding has supported 60 vulnerable young people in Brookfield School and Herefordshire Pupil Referral Service over the last 2 years and 93% of the 2022 cohort have sustained their post-16 placement. Congratulations!
SEND LA Team
Congratulations to our Early Years Inclusion Team who have won a Regional Excellence Award. You can read about their work on the Local Government Association website as it has been published as a national case study showcasing what works well.
The SEN Team continue to do well at issuing new Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) within statutory timescales, despite the pressures of increasing demand.
We hope for a successful term ahead for you and your family.
PCV Annual Survey
PCV’s annual survey is still live for completion by all parent carers of children and young people with SEND in Herefordshire. In response to parent carer feedback on the length of the survey last year, there are fewer questions and lots of tick box options to make it easier and quicker for you to complete.
Your feedback will help to give a parent carer's perspective, feedback to services and providers and to help us understand what is important to you and your family. The survey should take around 10 minutes to complete and your feedback is much appreciated.
The PCV website has had a refresh recently with lots of new resources and updates added, including the new Lending Library where you can find lots of SEND resources available to borrow and ‘try before you buy’.
Follow PCV Herefordshire on Facebook or visit their website to keep up to date with their latest newsletter, consultations and events. You can also read more about their work and how you can get involved. To get in touch, email email@example.com
Free Training for Parents/Carers
The Herefordshire & Worcestershire Special Educational Needs/Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) offer FREE training to local parents/carers to increase knowledge around Special Educational Needs/Disability (SEND).
Workshops currently available:
Workshops run monthly and all sessions are interactive, enabling participants to ask questions.
Find dates and book your place online using the links provided above or on the HW SENDIASS Eventbrite website.
If you have any questions about the workshops, please contact SENDIASSTraining@worcestershire.gov.uk for more information.
Young Person Advisor
Sammy, the SENDIASS Young Person Advisor has returned from maternity leave. You can find out more about her role and the support that she can offer directly to young people with SEND on the SENDIASS Young Person Advisor webpage
For free, impartial information, advice and support on matters relating to children and young people that have or may have SEND, contact SENDIASS on 01432 260955 Monday-Wednesday 8.30am-4pm or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For regular Special Educational Needs/Disabilities (SEND) updates, sign up to the SENDIASS mailing list by clicking the sign-up link at the bottom of the SENDIASS website, contact page or follow them on social media:
Immunisations and Vaccinations for Children in Herefordshire
If your child has missed any of their school-aged immunisations, you'd like to arrange a flu vaccination or you have a child with SEND and want to know how you can access vaccinations / immunisations, you can call the Herefordshire Vaccination Team directly to talk through the options and make an appointment.
Call 01432 663085 to find out more.
There is still time to visit National Star College in Hereford for one of their open evenings. You can visit on Wednesday 8th November between 5pm – 7pm to meet staff and current students at the college on Ledbury Road. National Star Hereford is a specialist day college for young people with disabilities aged 16 or over.
You will be able to look around the facilities and ask as many questions as you like about their learning programmes and how they will support you as a student.
You can find out more and book a space for the event on National Star’s website.
Autism Central Hubs offer guidance to families, carers and personal assistants of autistic people. All sessions are run by Peer Educators - parents or carers of autistic people, who are happy to share their knowledge and experience with you. They offer group and one-to-one sessions to help you and other parents and carers find the information and services available in your area. They also run events such as workshops, drop-in sessions, coffee mornings or virtual meet-ups.
In the Midlands, charities Contact & Ambitious about Autism run Autism Central’s programmes. Find out more about Autism Central including information about lots of online events on the Autism Central website.
Did you know the Cracked Slipper Company run a FREE drama group for Neurodiverse 16-25 year olds? The group meets at the Kindle Centre in Hereford on Monday evenings - message Cracked Slipper to find out more or register online today by completing their online form.
New health and wellbeing zone
Herefordshire’s SEND Local Offer now has a new Health and Wellbeing section aimed at supporting parents and carers to navigate and discover the different support and services available for children and young people with SEND. You can find the following information on the Health and Wellbeing section:
- Universal health services for all children and young people
- Early years developmental checks
- Specialist healthcare services for children and young people with SEND
- Emotional and mental health support for children and young people
- Support for young people with complex autism and/or learning difficulties
- Herefordshire and Worcestershire ICS Learning Disability Service
- Children and young people's continuing care
- Personal health budgets for children and young people
- Transition from child to adult health care services
- Further health system support and advice
Information on Herefordshire’s SEND Local Offer is coproduced by parent carers, SENCOs, SENDIASS, health and council colleagues who meet regularly to review content and navigation to ensure it works well for all who use it.
What is a short break?
A short break is an activity or service which:
- Provides parents and carers with a break from their caring responsibilities
- Helps to support a child or young person's social and emotional development
- Helps to support a child or young person learn new skills
- Provides a child or young person with new experiences
A range of services is available in and around Herefordshire to provide short breaks and respite for families of disabled children while enabling children to have new experiences and to take part in fun activities.
Types of short breaks
The wide range of needs for disabled children and their families is categorised in the levels below:
- Universal: Activities for all (universal): mainstream community services such as youth clubs, uniformed groups (for example, Scouts, Cubs and Brownies), leisure centres, nurseries, child-minders and activity-based groups.
- Targeted: The Targeted Short Breaks (TSB) allowance scheme is to help families of children with special educational needs and disabilities who need extra support to take part in clubs and leisure activities and providing a break for parents. No social care assessment is needed.
- Specialist: Respite (specialist short break services) can be provided to meet a specific need following a social care assessment of the child's and family's circumstances. Depending on the outcome of the assessment, needs can be met through a direct payment for the family to make their own arrangements, or through an arranged service of daytime activities or overnight short breaks.
Find out more about Short Breaks, including information on who is eligible, on the Herefordshire SEND Local Offer.