Here is our process for how you can contact us in the SEND Team.
- gives our staff more effective processes to manage large and complex caseloads, whilst also giving you the information you need
- gets you the answers you need in a reasonable timeframe
- gives you a way forward if you are struggling to get a response
When should I contact the SEND team?
Where you have questions or issues about legal processes surrounding the Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), we are happy to help.
If you have questions about how support is delivered in education settings, what support is available from services across Hertfordshire, or how suitable your child or young person's placement is, start with your school or setting, the Local Offer, SENDIASS, or your DSPL lead. Most questions are resolved by these services.
Things which are urgent and less urgent
We want to deal with your concerns in a timely way, and it makes this easier for everyone if we can tell what requests need to be given priority.
Things which are urgent eg a response cannot wait for up to 10 working days
Please take a look and mark your email as urgent if it is to do with something on this list:
- Your child or young person is out of education without a new setting
- Where the placement is at risk of breakdown and an urgent annual review is needed
- Your child or young person is at risk of permanent exclusion
- A child is on a part-time timetable (that is not as part of an agreed time limited phased return to full time education after a medical absence)
- Children and young people moving in and out of county - where the move is happening within the next 10 days
- A change in address
- Critical missed legal deadlines, where it will affect your right to appeal
- A big change in a child's medical condition that impacts on their ability to access education or other support they receive
- To report if an EHC Coordinator doesn’t turn up to a meeting they confirmed they would attend.
- Finding out the outcome of a panel decision, if you haven't had a written response within 10 days of the deadline for the decision.
Things which are important, but less urgent eg can be reasonably answered in the 10 working day timeframe
The topics below are examples of things which are important, but less urgent, and will be dealt with in our 10 working days standard.
- Annual reviews that do not have significant (large) changes, or don’t impact straight away on the provision that’s delivered
- Not hearing back straight away about parental preference for provision, where the child or young person is currently in a setting
- Non-critical statutory deadlines - that don’t impact on a change of provision
- Finding out who is your named EHC Coordinator
- General chasing up within the 20 weeks for an EHC needs assessment - your SENCOs can help in the first instance via their contacts.
- In year moves - where you wish your child to move to a similar type of school during the academic year
- Requesting updates around progress with individual assessments from an EHC Coordinator. For updates on individual reports, please contact the relevant professional directly ie speech and language therapist.
If you are chasing up confirmation of appointments for an assessment, you will need to contact the professional directly, rather than the SEND team.
if you are chasing up reports following assessments, you will need to contact the professional providing the report directly, rather than the SEND team.
How to contact us
Call or email us:
Our Customer Service Centre (CSC) will answer simple queries right away, for example, who your named EHC Coordinator is, and key dates for your EHC process.
If your question is more complex, they will either pass you to a service with the right knowledge, such as SENDIASS or Home to School Transport, or straight to your EHC Coordinator. If they are not available, the person you speak to will book a timed slot for them to call you back.
If you do need to leave us a message, we’ll make sure that someone calls you back within 5 days. Our SEND colleagues will also aim to respond to emails or letters within 2 weeks (10 working days).
What if I don't hear back?
Where your query is urgent (as outlined in the list above), skip to Step 4 of the escalations process described below.
For all less urgent queries:
Step 1. Speak to your designated case owner in the team to resolve the concern.
EHC Coordinators are usually best placed to work through concerns with you, as they have knowledge of the people and processes available to move things on. EHC Coordinators are sometimes away from their desk, working with schools. They will respond to emails within 10 days. Please do not send chaser emails or escalate to others in the team within 10 days, unless your email is genuinely urgent (see guidance above).
Find your EHC coordinator or call the SEND duty line on 01442 453300
You can contact your EHC Coordinator by using their email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 2: Escalate to the team lead in the SEND team.
If you are not happy with the response you received, or you have not had a response within 10 days, you can escalate the issue to a more senior member of staff. You should expect to hear back within 3 or 4 working days.
Find the team lead for your EHC coordinator - You can contact them on email@example.com.
Step 3: Escalate to a more senior manager.
If your concern has still not been addressed by the manager within the team, you can escalate your issue to a more senior manager. You should expect to hear back within 2 working days.
Step 4: Escalate to the SEND resolution team.
Where all previous attempts to resolve your issue have been unsuccessful, you can escalate your concern to our SEND resolution team who can be contacted on SENDResolutions@hertfordshire.gov.uk.
We hope this process will resolve your query in a timely way, but you also have the option to consider a formal complaint.
How we maintain contact with your child's school or college
EHC Coordinators linked to special schools will meet with their school once per month, to touch base around current on-roll pupils. These meetings allow both the school and EHC Coordinator to address all of their queries, so your school should also feel informed and be able to answer questions about your child's EHCP.
Special schools are also linked to a Specialist Placement Officer from our team, who meets with the school at least once per half term to go through the current school roll to discuss topics including:
- who is attending
- upcoming concerns about meeting need
- any children who we consulting about future placement in the school
- annual review dates and requests for attendance at reviews will be fed back to EHC coordinators in the area teams.
Mainstream schools with a high number of EHCPs (in the 22-23 academic year, this will be any school with 15 or more EHCPs) will have one planned meeting per half term with their linked EHC Coordinator to discuss key issues including phase transfers, children not attending school and reviews or funding. These meetings allow both the school and EHC Coordinator to address all of their queries, so your school should also feel informed and be able to answer questions about your child's EHCP.
EHC Coordinators for our 4 local colleges will meet representatives from their college once per half term, to discuss those on roll, non-attenders, expected destinations and progress through phase transfer processes. These meetings allow both the college and EHC Coordinator to address all of their queries, so your college should also feel informed and be able to answer questions about your young person's EHCP.
Delivering Specialist Provision Locally (DSPLs)
DSPLs provide support for schools in local areas. EHC Coordinators are linked to DSPLs and meet once a month with the DSPL lead for their area to discuss phase transfer in the area, in year moves, and young people at risk of exclusion or out of school. DSPLs support our service to encourage successful placements and help develop transition plans for children joining schools in an area.