Yesterday, NNPCF cochairs met with Children and Families Minister Kemi Badenoch along with Christine Lenehan, Director of the Council for Disabled Children and the chief executives of Contact and KIDS, Amanda Batten and Caroline Stevens. This was one of the few stakeholder meetings the Minister was holding before starting her maternity leave next week. MP Michelle Donelan will be providing maternity cover in the period that the Minister is out of office.
The group discussed the challenges facing the SEND system and described the battles that families have to secure the services and support that they need. Tina and Mrunal introduced the work of parent carer forums and the whole group emphasized the importance of coproduction with parent-carers and children and young people and why joint working across the system is so important.
The group also discussed the “Five years on” review of the SEND system announced by the government this morning. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/major-review-into-support-for-children-with-special-educational-needs?utm_source=d0af7e5c-13ad-49ae-885d-619b30bd5647&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate
In response to this announcement, NNPCF co-chairs Tina Emery and Mrunal Sisodia made the following statement:
“We are delighted that the government has responded to our calls for a review of the SEND system. Five years on from the Children and Families Act, the aspirations of the reforms have not yet been delivered for far too many children with special educational needs. We need a cross governmental plan of action to address the challenges that our members and our partners in the SEND sector have identified. A co-ordinated approach that puts the voice of families and young people at the heart of decision making is key to making sure that the welcome extra funding announced for SEND is spent effectively.
We look forward to working with the Department for Education and sharing the knowledge and experience of our members to making sure this review delivers what the families of children and young people with SEND need.”
The NNPCF welcomes this review and have been asking the Department for Education for a wholescale, cross governmental plan to address the concerns raised by our membership. We raised this in our meetings with officials in June and in our meeting with Minister Nadhim Zahawi in July. http://www.nnpcf.org.uk/nnpcf-cochairs-meet-with-nadhim-zahawi/
The launch of the review comes in the wake of extra funding for schools and SEND announced by the Department for Education on the 31st of August. The NNPCF welcome the extra money which the NNPCF have been calling for in our last two state of the Nation reports
NNPCF co-chairs Tina Emery and Mrunal Sisodia said,
“The extra money announced is essential to making sure our children get the support and opportunities they need. However, money alone will not address the concerns highlighted by our membership in our State of the Nation reports. For this, we need a joined-up plan across Education, Health and Social Care that puts coproduction at the heart of all decision making.”