£3 million boost for Herts children with special educational needs

Services for children with special educational needs are to get a £3 million boost in Hertfordshire.

Services for children with special educational needs are to get a £3 million boost in Hertfordshire. - Credit: Archant

Services for children with special educational needs are to get a £3 million boost in Hertfordshire.

The funds will be used to develop local teams, to maximise digital technology and to improve access to independent living, employment and training.

As part of the bid, services will be redesigned to provide seamless support, an extension of the ‘team around the family’ approach and a key worker to guide families through the system.

Children will be able to access social, leisure and community services, independently from their primary carer. And there will be a review of high needs education.

Post-16 education opportunities for young people with special needs are to be explored within the county – as are ‘student’ type shared accommodation to enable independent living.

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And, when it comes to independent living, technology – like Alexa – will be trialled to provide important reminders and help with routine.

Over the next five years the number of children in the county with special needs is expected to increase by 36 per cent – that’s 2,198 more children.

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Councillor Teresa Heritage, executive member for children, young people and families, told a meeting of the cabinet investment would ensure services for children with special needs were efficient.

She said it would help to manage increasing demand, while effectively using resources – reducing the pressure on the special needs system.

And a report for the meeting said the plans have “enablement” at their heart.

“Enabling children young people and their families to access their own communities and lead connected lives prevents long-term dependence on services,” says the council report.

“If we can prevent unnecessary journeys through services and assessments, we will better support families to be independent, and will reduce pressure on services across the SEND system.”

In the longer term the county council expects it will deliver a better service, while delivering £1.74m in savings and cost avoidance of £3.23m.

At the meeting, council leader Councillor David Williams said: “This is an important and significant investment in these services. Part of this is about transformation, but also about how parents and families access this important service – and, as a consequence, how transformation can contribute to cost avoidance and savings.”

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