National Network of Parent Carer Forums

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Minister Nadhim Zahawi meets Parent Carer Forums

October 22, 2018

Children with SEND and their families are facing an incredibly challenging environment. Cuts to local services, problems with joint working across agencies, increasing concerns about the experiences of children with SEND in mainstream schools, and poor opportunities for children leaving education have meant the work of Parent Carer Forums is more relevant than ever before.

Parent carer forums up and down the country have been working tirelessly to represent their communities in some very difficult discussions about the problems that local areas face and out of this, you have been co-producing some amazing and creative solutions.

Earlier this year, the NNPCF steering group asked forums to share their WOW moments (moments where they feel impact has been made, examples of good practice, or where they have overcome significant challenges). There was a fantastic response with over 40 inspirational stories of how the work of forums has made a real difference to the lives of children and young people with disabilities.

The stories you shared detailed where forums across England have been involved in:

  • Challenging, assessing the impact and preventing cuts and changes to services
  • Delivering training that has meant practitioners understand what our children need
  • Developing new services that wrap around the child and family
  • Breaking down barriers to joint working across agencies
  • Co-producing the local offer
  • Hosting events to inform, empower and connect families

In the run up to our conference three local forums will be meeting with Nadhim Zahawi, the Children and Families Minister. The examples they will be sharing embody the three common themes across our work of co-production, person centred services, and joint working across agencies. We will be asking the Minister to sponsor, promote, and model these themes in work across government and local government.

However, these success stories are set against a difficult backdrop for children with SEND and their families. The court cases against local authority cuts, the numbers of SEND tribunals, and the increase in school exclusions all point to a system under severe strain. We will continue to task government to ensure children and young people with SEND are given greater priority.

The Minister will be joining us at our annual conference where we will be further showcasing some of the stories about the impact of parent participation and the challenges in the current environment.

We look forward to seeing our members in Coventry on the 21st and 22nd of November. If you haven’t already, book your forums place now.