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SEND Conference: A Different Journey – The best life from the start


We are proud to announce that our iHV SEND conference “A Different Journey: The Best Life from the Start”, on 14 March 2024, has been sponsored by NHS England (NHSE). Our event will take place at Hertfordshire Development Centre in Stevenage (which is easily accessible via national rail networks and road links).

Providing better joined-up support to improve the outcomes for children with SEND is a national priority and requires a multi-agency approach. Our SEND conference aims to equip health visitors and early years practitioners with new knowledge and skills to support babies and young children with SEND, and their families – with a focus on early identification of need and joined up support.

We have a fantastic line-up of high-profile national speakers who will be presenting on the current national SEND priorities and ambitions to improve outcomes and reduce inequalities for babies and young children with SEND. Our conference programme will encompass evidence-based practice and the latest research on a wide range of SEND topics from experts in their field including:

  • Overview of national picture and SEND policy
  • Improving seamless support through Integrated Care Systems and pathways
  • Reaching underserved communities with SEND
  • Enhancing communication
  • Understanding Cerebral Palsy
  • Supporting a child with a cleft palate
  • Understanding Down’s Syndrome
  • Neurodiversity in the early years
  • Safeguarding is everyone’s business
  • Health visiting and SEND – opportunities to improve practice

Our conference will also provide an excellent opportunity to network with multi-agency professionals and leading SEND experts from across the UK, as well as charities and exhibitors to support your work in this area.

Don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity to enhance your health visiting practice and make a difference to babies and children with SEND.

We are delighted to confirm that this conference is accredited, and participants will receive 5hrs CPD relevant to NMC professional standards for SCPHN.

This conference is delivered by the Institute of Health Visiting in partnership with Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust.

Conference Recordings & Presentations

All recordings and presentations that we have permission to share can be found here:

View Recordings

Conference ticket holders will be sent the access code. If you have any difficulties accessing these recordings please email [email protected]


Public Keynote Extract

We are delighted to share musician Chris Read’s song and experiences of raising a child with Down syndrome that he shared in his presentation at our SEND conference.

Chris is a songwriter, producer, one half of the musical-comedy duo “Harry and Chris”, and father of three. When his son Theo was born, Chris wrote the song “Every Atom of You” about his family’s experience, people’s reactions, and their journey navigating his diagnosis.



We have gathered some useful resources that support the conference sessions.

View Resources

Conference Aim and Learning Objectives

Conference Aim:

To integrate the best research evidence with clinical expertise and parent/carer experiences, to improve health outcomes for babies and children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). The conference aims to equip attendees with new knowledge and skills to support babies and young children with SEND, with a focus on early support and early identification of need.

Learning Objectives for Conference Participants:

  • To hear and learn the latest national policy, evidence and research on key SEND priorities for babies, children, and their families, with recommendations for practice.
  • To be equipped with new knowledge and skills to support babies and young children with SEND, with a focus on early support, early identification of need, and the reduction of inequalities in access and outcomes.
  • To explore ways of improving population health by building place-based partnerships, working with local communities, and strengthening diversity and inclusion.
  • To hear and learn from cutting edge researchers, national and local experts, and parents/carers/those with lived experience of SEND.
  • To gain insight into how integrated working across agencies can support local system planning to improve the health and life chances of babies and children with SEND.
  • To gain CPD points to support NMC revalidation.
  • To have networking opportunities with peers to further develop relationships and share best practice.


We are privileged to be joined by eminent speakers including (but not limited to):

  • Dame Rachel de Souza – Children’s Commissioner for England. Dame Rachel will provide an overview of the current landscape for children with SEND across England, exploring the problems, solutions and recommendations to government. She will also provide an overview of the work of her Office, including her work to collate and amplify children’s voices to influence policy.
  • Professor Simon Kenny – National Clinical Director for Children and Young People at NHS England. Professor Kenny will provide a national update on NHS plans to improve joined up care for children with SEND through integrated care.
  • Professor Monica Lakhanpaul – Professor of Integrated Community Child Health at UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health and Consultant Paediatrician at Whittington NHS Trust. Professor Lakhanpaul will be speaking about her ground-breaking work on children underserved, unheard and falling through the gaps. 
  • Kenny Gibson MBE – Deputy Director – NHS Safeguarding. Babies and children with SEND are at increased risk of being abused compared to babies and children who do not have SEND. Kenny will speak about how safeguarding requires us to consider individual needs, strengths and difficulties and how effective safeguarding is dependent on knowing and listening to our children.
  • Nikki Freeman and Kirsty Jacques – iHV SEND Expert Advisors and Clinical Leads for SEND at Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust. Kirsty and Nikki will be sharing their strategy which was developed with partners and parents for improving the equity of how children with SEND and their families are supported by the Public Health Nursing Team across Hertfordshire.

See Speakers


We are delighted to offer special rates for our members.

With thanks to sponsorship from NHS England, we have been able to extend our Early Bird subsidised ticket prices to ensure that as many practitioners are able to join the national SEND conference as possible.

In-person ticket sales will end at midday on the 27th February

Sponsor & Exhibitors

We are looking forward to welcoming a wonderful range of  organisations to our conference. There will be plenty of stands to explore, resources to gather, and connections to be made.


We are delighted that NHS England have sponsored our In Focus SEND Conference

Meet Our Sponsor

We’re excited to welcome our wide range of exhibitors

Meet Our Exhibitors

Venue details

Hertfordshire Development Centre | Stevenage
Robertson House, 6 Six Hills Way, Stevenage SG1 2FQ

Hertfordshire Development Centre is easily accessible via national rail networks and road links.

Event Details

SEND Conference: A Different Journey – The best life from the start

1 day conference

Hertfordshire Development Centre, Stevenage


Event Date

Thursday 14 March 2024


Do you have any questions about this event?

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