We hope that you all had a good half term and have been enjoying the slightly more Spring like weather. As always it is a busy time in the world of parent carer participation and there is lots going on. Below is an update on things that are currently happening both nationally and in
PACC UPDATE March 2013
Special Educational Needs Reforms Update:
The legislation that will deliver the proposed changes to the Special Educational Needs system is currently going through Parliament in the form of the Children’s and Families Bill. These changes will not come into force until after spring 2014. From now until that point the 1996 education Act and Current SEN Code of Practice still applies. There will be transition arrangements made by the Department For Education to support the move from the old system to the new one but these are yet to be clarified. We know that the level of change that is being proposed is potentially worrying for families. The need for clear information and clarity has been stressed to the DfE and some steps have been taken to address this. For example the the Government has committed to protecting all current entitlements that disabled children and young people receive through a statement. There are however still some concerns that certain aspects of the proposals need strengthening to ensure that the best outcomes for our children are achieved. Every Disabled Child Matters have produced a useful Supporters Briefing proposals which can be found at: http://www.edcm.org.uk/media/43237/edcm_supporter_briefing_on_the_children_and_families_bill.pdf
You can comment on the changes direct to Government via: http://www.parliament.uk/business/news/2013/february/have-your-say-on-the-children-and-families-bill/
Please click here to read the letter on the reforms from Edward Timpson, the Minister leading on the reforms.
Although the outline legislation is currently progress through Parliament there are significant opportunities for families to still influence the changes. In particular the review of the SEN Code of Practice will be a process that it will be crucial to have the view of parent carers contributing too. Local Parent Carer Forums, such as PACC, and the National Network of Parent Carer Forums have been involved in some early discussion with the Department For Education about the review. The current intention is that there will be an outline draft of the new code published in the near future with a formal public consultation period commencing on this in autumn of this year. The Code of Practice is a document that we know many of you are very familiar with and the new document will be key in making the proposed changes work. To ensure that the voice of
The other major chance for parent carer involvement that is being delivered by the Children’s and Families Bill is in the development and on going review of the Local Offer. Each Authority will be required under the new system to produce a Local offer that clearly lays out what education, health and care services are available to families and how to access them. The Local Offer should be easy to understand, factual and jargon free, transparent and empowering. This document will especially be important for the young people who will be supported through the Single SEN Catergory that will be replacing School Action and School Action + . Currently the proposals are disappointing in that there is no legal duty to provide the services that Local Offers will contain. The Children and Families Bill does however requires that parent carers and children and young people are involved in developing and reviewing the Local Offer. Local Authorities will also be required to publish comments they receive about the Local Offer and what action they will take in response. Again it is important that in
STOP PRESS: The DfE and Department of Health published the latest joint progress report on the SEND Pathfinders on the 5th March. This includes headline results from a survey of sixty-five families with completed Education Health and Care Plans. The report is available for download from http://www.education.gov.uk/childrenandyoungpeople/send/b0075291/green-paper/pathfinders
We have been asked by Kidz First to circulate a letter about an event on the 16th March.
The Easter and Whitsun activity schemes will be run by Action for Children and details about these schemes have been previously circulated. It is disappointing that the level of service being offered by the Council does not seem to be the same as last year. In particular families have been told that they will only be able to access the activity scheme for one day per week as opposed to the 2 days per week offered last year. It is also disappointing that there are no outreach activities being offered in Bridgenorth and that there does not appear to be any transport being offered from
PACC OASIS groups offers regular opportunities for parent carers to meet to share their experience and knowledge and to offer support to each other. There are two regular meeting in Shrewsbury, one during the day time and one in the evening, details of the upcoming meetings are given below;
Monday 18th March – 10-12pm at the
One of the key roles of any parent of a child with a disability or additional need is to share information about the needs of and hopes and aspirations for their child. Sharing your story informs the decisions made about the support your family receives, but it isn't always easy. Meetings to discuss your child's needs and progress can be daunting especially if you are tired from lack of sleep or worried about the future. This training session will look at the importance of parent carers being able to tell their story and explore some approaches that will help you share the right information at the right time.
The training session will be relaxed and informal and led by a trainer and parent carers who understand the challenges of being part of the special educational needs and disability system. The knowledge and understanding that parent carers have of their child is one of their greatest assets and has an important role to play in planning support and achieving positive outcomes for children and young people with a disability or additional need.
Wednesday 20th March – 8-10pm at Monkhouse Granary ( http://www.monkhousegranary.co.uk/location/ )
This is a relaxed evening meeting where current issues are discussed and information shared. Tea / Coffee and biscuits provided
Monday 24th April – 10-12pm at the central
If you want any further information on any of the above meetings please contact Sarah 0845 601 2205
Contact a Family have produced a guide for GP’s on how to make practices more welcoming for families of disabled children. PACC has sent a letter to all GP practices in
The Shropshire Parent Carer Guide to Transition for Young people with a Disability or Additional need to Adult Services is available on the Shropshire Council website http://www.shropshire.gov.uk/childrenfamilies.nsf/open/CA3D5E785772605F80257A980031DAFC PACC worked in partnership with Shropshire Council to produce this guide that takes families through the transition process from year 9 to the move to adult services at 18. Planning for the future is essential in securing the best outcomes for our children and we hope that this guide will help parent carers to do that. After a delay the guide is now formatted so that it can easily be printed off. PACC is happy to arrange this for any families who do not have access to a printer, please do contact us if that would be helpful. We would also like to hear back from any parent carers who have used the guide with comments about how helpful you found it.
Are you interested in Numicon, a system to help children grasp not only numbers but the meaning and value of numbers? Here's an opportunity to participate in a morning of input/work-shop at
Shrewsbury Baptist Church, Claremont St, Shrewsbury, SY1 1QG
The Meeting will be Monday, February 11th beginning with Coffee at 9:30, and the main event from 10:00 to 12:30 .
Martin Stachowiak represents Numicon for Oxford University Press. There is no charge. Here is a short introduction from Martin:
‘The workshop offers an introduction into how visual imagery can support the learning of mathematical ideas, showing what research has found to help children of all ages and abilities get to grips with early number ideas through to more complex concepts. It will offer a hands-on experience, showing how simple activities can aid everyday concepts needed to survive in today's world where numbers are all around us and have a variety of meaning. This can range from numbers as names (such as bus numbers) through to numbers as value (such as money or quantity). The workshop will look at the difficulties children face from a very early age and how the use of visual imagery within a structured approach can support them in understanding otherwise complex ideas. Though there will be some focus on children with specific needs, the workshop is suitable for those wishing to find out how to support children in mainstream as well as the approach has evidence of success with all abilities.’
The new transition DVD, Protocol and Parent Carer Guide are all available on the Shropshire Council website. PACC has worked closeley with Shropshire Council oveer the last few years to improve the experience of young people transitioning to adulthood in Shropshire. These resources are aimed at insuring that families are well informed about the transition process and the oportunities available. We would love to hear what you think about them. Thank you to all of the families who have contributed to this work.
Click here to visist the Shropshire Council website.
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