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SEND Newsletter: Issue 5

Dear Parent and Carers,

Welcome to the fifth edition 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 to the editor, Emma Kelly, by email:

- Happy Retirement to Les Knight, Head of Additional Needs
- Local Offer Updates - You Said, We Did
- A message from Liz Farr, Service Director for Education, Skills and Learning
- Parent Carer Voice Herefordshire - SEND Summit
- Wellbeing and Emotional Support Teams (WEST) in Schools
- Online Course: Understanding your child with additional needs - Solihull Approach
- Herefordshire and Worcestershire SENDIASS service update
- Matt Hudd Martial Arts
- We want to hear from you!
- Speak to your Learning Disabilities Partnership Board - are these polls working for you?
- Autism West Midlands online workshops

Happy Retirement to Les Knight, Head of Additional Needs

Les Knight will be retiring in March after 13 years with Herefordshire Council and a working lifetime of supporting children and young people with additional needs.  We will be so sorry to see him go and he will be hugely missed by us all.  Les has been a terrific colleague and worked with the highest dedication to develop SEND provision across Herefordshire. Les leaves the service well-positioned to continue to take improvements forward.  Thank you Les for all you have done.   We will miss you.  We wish you every happiness in the next chapter. We know it will be full of adventures.

We will keep you up to date with plans for the service from March onwards. 


Cartoon person pointing at a computer screen

Local Offer Updates - You Said, We Did

Work is now underway to host all of the information contained in the SEND Local Offer on the Herefordshire Council website.  We have mapped all of the pages currently held on the council site and Talk Community site and are working diligently to ensure that none of the information is lost as we move to one central location for the Local Offer.

Whilst we work to move the content across from Talk Community to Herefordshire Council’s site, you may see information duplicated on both sites.  This is so that whichever site you go to in the interim, you will be able to find the information you went there for.  We will phase out the Talk Community pages once the new SEND Local Offer website is officially launched.

A Local Offer focus group including parent carers, SENCOs, SENDIASS, health and council colleagues meet regularly to review content and navigation to ensure it works well for all who use it.  If you would like to be involved in shaping the SEND Local Offer site, please get in touch by email:


A message from Liz Farr, Service Director for Education, Skills and Learning

I am pleased to be the new Interim Director for Education, Learning and Skills.  I am keen to represent Herefordshire children, young people and families well. I understand the challenges both locally and nationally.  Nevertheless, we know that we have to make changes to bring about an improved SEND service.  Work has started at pace and I am keen to hear from you: we want to get it right.

We know last year that we did not do as well as we wanted to with the annual review process for pupils with education, health and care (EHC) plans.  Timeliness really slipped and this meant for children and young people at a transfer stage, the process was made too difficult.  For families this was unacceptable.

We are wholly committed to doing better.  As a result, this year I am meeting regularly and often with our team and keeping this aspect under close scrutiny.  We are doing much better.  Annual reviews for our phase transfer pupils with an EHC plan are on track to be completed within the admission process timescales.  I am determined that we maintain this level of service to our children and young people, their families, schools and settings.  I know that we are all pulling together to bring about an improved service.  My grateful thanks to you for supporting us.

We want to improve our communication with families. Emma Kelly, our engagement officer, is working with partners including PCV to develop a much more robust approach to gathering the views of parents and children.  We want to hear from you so that you can support our improvement work too.  It is our intention that the voices of children and families comes through all aspects of our work.

We know that our current SEND strategy needs a refresh. That is why partners are meeting regularly to develop a new approach – we will be sharing a new revised version with you imminently.  We hope you will be able to contribute to its development as we move towards a new way of working.

I hope this has provided you with an update.  We looking forward to gathering your views and working closely together.


Parent Carer Voice Herefordshire

SEND Summit

The next SEND Summit is being held on Thursday 9th March 2023, 9:30 – 13:00 at the Kindle Centre.  Join PCV Herefordshire along with Herefordshire Council and health colleagues from Herefordshire and Worcestershire Integrated Care System (ICS) for a morning of workshops related to special educational needs and disabilities.

There will be speakers on a range of SEND topics, the opportunity to network with local providers and services and a chance to find out what's happening for children and young people with SEND in Herefordshire.  Complete the Send Summit March 2023 Registration Form ( to book your place.  

Follow PCV Herefordshire on Facebook or visit their website to read more about their work and how you can get involved.  To get in touch, email  

Wellbeing and Emotional Support Teams (WEST) in School

The Wellbeing and Emotional Support Teams (WEST) in schools service is designed to help children and young people ages 5-18 years access mental health and wellbeing support early on in educational settings.

It's all about ensuring children and young people can get access to the right help as early as possible.  Referrals into the service are made through the mental health lead within the specific education setting.  The child or young person can also self-refer via the school staff, who will then discuss it with the Mental Health Lead.  The team offer short term support delivered by education mental health practitioners (EMHPs) and senior practitioners, using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) methods to help with low mood, wellbeing, anxiety and behavioural difficulties.

Parents/carers can also refer to the service via the designated Mental Health Lead within the school.

To find out whether WEST is in your child or young person’s school, visit the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services website, and select ‘What schools does the team work with?’.


Online Course: Understanding your child with additional needs – Solihull Approach

Do you know about the FREE online course for parents called ‘Understanding your child with additional needs’ from the Solihull Approach? The course (and many others) is offered FREE to Herefordshire residents.

Go to using the free access code APPLEHERE.

This online course is for families with a child with additional needs.  It is for parents, relatives and friends of children who may have a physical or learning disability or who may have autistic traits.

This course is in 2 sections. Level 1 lays the foundation for understanding your child. Level 2 looks at some particular aspects of parenting: sleeping and anger management, together with more about how we interact with each other.  Understanding this can make it easier to work with your child's behaviour as well as supporting their development.  Once you finish Level 1 you can progress to Level 2 if you'd like to. You can print off a certificate at the end of the course as well as one at the end of Level 1.

Course content and direct link to sign up.

Use the code APPLEHERE for free access.


Herefordshire and Worcestershire SENDIASS

Service Update

Due to staff shortages, the Herefordshire SENDIASS adviceline will be closed on Thursdays and Fridays until further notice.

The adviceline will still be available Monday to Wednesday 8.30am-4pm on 01432 260955 and you will still be able to leave a voicemail.

The SENDIASS team are working very hard, but it may take a little longer than usual for your call to be returned, please bear with them.

They are very sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

To get the adviceline back up and running five days a week, SENDIASS are looking to recruit a new Herefordshire advisor.

To find out more about the SENDIASS team and what they do see their website.


For free, impartial information, advice and support on matters relating to children and young people with SEND contact SENDIASS on 01432 260955 Monday-Wednesday 8.30am-4pm or email

For regular Special Educational Needs/Disabilities (SEND) updates, sign up to the SENDIASS mailing list by clicking the sign-up link on their homepage or follow them on social media:





Matt Hudd Martial Arts

Is your child or young person looking to start martial arts training? Matt Hudd Martial Arts training in Hereford is welcoming new members.  They are a very inclusive group who work with children and young people to maximise their potential and accelerate their development.

There are lots of different sessions available throughout the week for different aged children, and for older young people there is a dedicated Inclusive Kung-Fu session on Wednesdays at 1.30pm.

You can see if the sessions are going to work for your child / young person by taking up a 4 week trial before committing. Matt is very happy to talk through your child’s needs before their first session so that they can make any adjustments needed to help your child feel safe, secure and valued.  If you’d like to discuss your child’s needs before booking your trial you can contact Matt on 07915 450663.

Sign up for a 4-week trial through the Matt Hudd Martial Arts website.  Spaces for the trial offer are limited so don’t delay booking if your child or young person wants to give it a go.

You can also follow Matt Hudd Martial Arts on Facebook.


We want to hear from you!

“My Health, My Say” wants to hear what children, young people and their families think about health and wellbeing services in Herefordshire.  We are particularly interested in hearing from you if you have a child/children with special educational needs or a disability.

  • Which health services have you accessed?
  • Where do you find support?
  • Education/SEN support and EHCPs
  • Have you found suitable activities?
  • How easy is it to find out what is available?
  • What works well, what doesn’t?
  • Tell us about your experiences!

We are going to be at: The Kindle Centre, Hereford, HR2 7JE

Monday 20th February 2023 1pm – 5pm

Wednesday 22nd February 2023 11am – 3pm

(No need to book, just drop in)

If you can’t make it to The Kindle Centre then we are running virtual focus groups until the end of July 2023.  Please contact for the latest schedule.

Find out more at on the Action for Children website.


Speak to your Learning Disability Partnerships Board – an invitation to have your say. Are these polls working for you?

It is a year since we started asking you to take part in these monthly polls. This month's survey is about what you think about the polls and how we could improve them?

Take the survey.

An easier to read copy with pictures to print  and fill

Thank you for telling us your thoughts on looking after your health.  We will present your comments at the next Learning Disability partnership board and see what we can do to help.

The presentations on previous surveys can be viewed on the Council Learning Disability Partnership Board website


SEN Support for children with SEN but without an EHC Plan – Online Workshop

Tuesday 28th February, 10:00 am - 11:30 am

Online workshop by Ken Upton, Independent SEND Advocate via Microsoft ‘Teams’.

An online workshop covering:

  • What is SEN Support and what does it mean for your child?
  • The role of the SENCO
  • How schools should identify and support children with SEN

FREE for parents and carers of an autistic child/children.

To book please visit Autism West Midlands website

For more information please contact Amanda: 07881 109 496

Recently diagnosed 14 – 18 year olds – Pilot Project

As part of a pilot service of support for 14-18 year olds with a recent autism diagnosis, Autism West Midlands will also be delivering free workshops for parent carers in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

Thursday 2 March 2023, 10 – 11:30am: Autism and the Teenage Brain

Wednesday 8 March 2023, 10- 11:30am: Autism and Anxiety

Thursday 16 March 2023, 10 – 11:30am: Supporting your Autistic Teen

Wednesday 22 March 2023, 10 – 11:30am: Navigating the System

To book, parent carers should visit AWM’s events page



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