New network offers special needs support

Herons Dale deputy head Teresa O'Connell and head Trish Stepney at the launch D14472509a
Herons Dale deputy head Teresa O'Connell and head Trish Stepney at the launch D14472509a

PARENTS have been given an insight into new services for children with special needs.

The Adur SEND Support Network, known as HIVE, was launched at the Ropetackle Arts Centre in Shoreham on Monday.

Herons Dale Primary School, which caters for a range of learning difficulties, is acting as the facilitator for the new network.

Head teacher Trish Stepney explained the school had been commissioned by West Sussex County Council to share its expertise.

The special school, in Hawkins Crescent, Shoreham, already provides fulls support for its pupils and the idea of HIVE is to ensure similar services are available to all children who need them.

“The idea is we support children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in mainstream schools,” explained Mrs Stepney.

“We have set up a strategic group of professionals and parents to take it forward.”

HIVE networks are being developed across the county following the Children and Families Act, which came into effect in September.

The Adur HIVE is working in collaboration with the Early Years Hub at Boundstone Nursery, in Upper Boundstone Lane, Lancing.

Mrs Stepney said: “We are already offering help up to the age of 11 and are about to branch out to 18 in the near future. The long-term aim is to ensure provision from early infancy up to the age of 25.

“We are about getting the right support in at the right time to the right people. It involve different people from a variety of organisations who support any young people with learning difficulties.

“We are also setting up a lending library for professionals which will eventually be expanded to parents.”

Recent work has included training teaching assistants on how to help children with SEND learn maths.

“This is about knowing where the pockets of expertise are so we can share them with everybody,” explained Mrs Stepney.

“This will enable the majority of children and young people with SEND to be educated in their local community.”

Visit or call 01273 594284 for more information and to find out how to get involved.