29th July 2020 – Parent Network Update/Herts focus

Welcome to the second of two emails this week for you as a member of  HPCI’s parent network.
This first one went out on Monday evening and focused on national announcements around the return to education in September.  This second one concentrates more on local information and a third one will come out on Monday 3rd August focusing again on more national guidance.
This email includes:

  • Hertfordshire High Needs Funding system for mainstream schools from 1st September.
  • Transport to School in September
  • Face masks/coverings
  • Herts Parent carer survey around improving health outcomes for young people with learning disabilities particularly those in mainstream education. Deadline 31st July.

Hertfordshire’s new High Needs Funding System for mainstream schools

This new system which replaces the ENF (exceptional needs funding) system starts on the 1st September.  HPCI welcomes this change and we have had parent reps involved in developing it. HPCI has been raising significant concerns about the way that ENF operated for the last 5 years and this new system goes a long way to addressing them.  You can read about those concerns in our ENF position statement

HPCI is also aware that there are a number of myths and misunderstandings about this change circulating amongst parents and schools.  As a result of the changes an additional £4 million will be allocated to Hertfordshire mainstream schools to meet the special educational needs of individual pupils both with an EHC plan and some without. The schools attended by 1100 more pupils will receive additional funding than under ENF. NO pupil should experience a reduction in support in school as a result of the new system.  ALL mainstream schools in Hertfordshire have funding for SEND in their annual budget – whatever they may say!
An online training session about the new system took place earlier in July and you can watch this on YouTube
There is more information on the Local Offer with further updates due shortly.
HPCI is planning to produce an online webinar on the new system for parents in the autumn.  We will let you know when it is ready.

Face Masks

The wearing of these is now compulsory – with exceptions – on transport, shops and other indoor locations in England.  We know that many of you had concerns about the use of face masks where young people with SEND and adults would struggle to wear them (children aged 11 and under are exempt).  We worked with the SEND Local Offer team to get a printable/downloadable exemption face mask card and that page on the Local Offer has proved extremely popular.
The government has now issued it’s own exemption card which can be downloaded to a smart phone or printed and you can find those here: Gov exemption cards
As before if any HPCI parent network member who does not have access to a printer would like me to print them for you then please email, message or phone giving me your name and address.

Home to School Transport

Guidance on the measures to be taken for Home to School Transport were also recently released by the Department of Education and HCC’s School Transport Department has written to all schools and parents whose child is or will be using the transport to explain what has been put in place.  The letters have been sent directly to parents via email so if you should have received one and haven’t seen it then please check your junk/spam folder in your emails. If it’s there then add that email address to your contacts to help prevent it happening again.
Some parents have raised concerns with special schools around why children are not in the same ‘bubble’ in transport as they are in their special school classroom.  The answer is that from September, with infection rates considerably reduced and children and young people being at very low risk of serious illness from Covid 19 then school bubbles have been increased in size.  In a mainstream secondary school this bubble can be around 220 pupils in a single year group.  This means that Special Schools are a bubble in their own right as they all have total pupil numbers of less than this.  Parents are able to choose to transport their child using a personal travel budget which covers 4 daily car journeys from home to school at 45p a mile.  Further information is in the letter and on the Local Offer Coronavirus updates

Experts by Experience 

The SEND team at HCC have employed two young people as Experts by Experience to ensure that the voice of young people with SEND in Hertfordshire is heard and recognised in all of the decision making. You can read more about Georgia and Chloe in their recent blog.

Survey – Improving health for young people with learning disabilities – particularly those in mainstream schools

The National Development Team for Inclusion have been commissioned by Hertfordshire to help increase the uptake of annual health checks and improve the knowledge in mainstream settings around the health of those with learning disabilities. Young people with learning disabilities who attend mainstream schools are not always getting the preventative or early interventions in their health and some children with mild learning disabilities* may be missing out on an enhanced health service. From the age of 14 they are entitled to an annual health check* and could be in receipt of other support from health that they and their families do not know about.  This survey will gather views from parents, carers and families to understand where they currently get information to help their young person to stay well, and also who they look to, or would look to, to get support.  You can contribute by spending 5 to 10 minutes completing the parent/carer survey by 31st July

Parent/Carer – Click here to start questionnaire 

*You can find out more about the definition of learning disability  and annual health checks here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/learning-disabilities/

Look our for your next update on Monday and hope that you can enjoy the sunshine promised for later this week.