Management Team

Tina Emery – CoChair

Sarah Clarke – CoChair

Jacqui Watt – Participation Lead

Hi, I’m Jacqui and was the Chair of my local parent carer forum for almost 4 years before stepping down to become Participation Lead for the NNPCF. I still remain active in my local forum. I have a background working in Early Years and then as a Post 16 Student Support Worker.

I have three boys, and when I was pregnant with my youngest son, I found out at the 20 weeks scan that half of his cerebellum in his brain was missing. This is a rare condition called Cerebellar Hypoplasia, with the affects being like someone having a stroke. He attends a mainstream school with an EHCP.

I am extremely passionate that all children deserve to reach their full potential and live their best possible lives.

As the Participation Lead, it is my role to support our team of National Representatives.

You can contact Jacqui at

Richard Hobbs – IT Lead

I am the father of two boys, 14 and 12, both on the Autistic spectrum, one with ADHD and one with behavioural problems. I also have ADHD myself so can empathise with many of my son’s issues. I have worked in health and the social care of young adults with learning disabilities and autism for many years. I was invited to join the forum as a Parent Representative on the strength of my experience at the beginning of 2015.

I have had the privilege of representing the Somerset Parent Carer Forum at both regional and national level. I have greatly benefited from getting the chance to broaden my outlook, improve good practice and align this with the national agenda. I very much feel that if we are to get the best for all children with SEN and Disabilities, then we all need to work together, putting co-production at the very heart. I try constantly to make sure that at every strategic meeting I attend, it is the voices of the parent carers throughout our region being heard and used to shape our services.

You can contact Richard at

Claire Powers – Finance Lead

Hi I’m Claire and I’m married to Trevor and we have two children. My son is 10 and full of enthusiasm (especially about all things Pokemon and Nintendo!) and he attends Mainstream School with full support. He was born extremely prematurely and has cerebral palsy, visual impairment and epilepsy. I also have a younger daughter who is 8 and full of life and really knows her own mind! 

We live in Dudley and I am an active Steering Group member of our borough’s parent carer forum, Working Together For Change, as well as representing Dudley at the West Midlands Regional Parent Carer Forum. I am also a Black Country Public Governor of Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospitals.

I am the new Finance and Operations Lead for the NNPCF as part of its Management Team and will be working behind the scenes to help the NNPCF move forwards and develop as an organisation.

I previously worked as Head of Operations and IT and later Customer Services for a specialist utility company, and I have also run my own niche fashion business.  I hold a Masters in Business Administration from Cranfield School of Management and I am a Chartered Management Accountant (ACMA) as well as a qualified HR professional.

You can contact Claire at

Sue Cawkwell – Administration Lead

Hello, I am Sue, I am married to Keith, we live in a rural village in the East Riding of Yorkshire and have three children and two stepchildren. My eldest child, Josh (30) has profound and multiple disabilities including cerebral palsy, severe learning difficulties, and visual impairment. He also has complex medical needs and has spent a lot of his life in and out of hospital. My youngest child, Charlotte (23) has Rett syndrome, her difficulties are mainly learning and communication. My middle child, Sophie (28) has three little boys, 5-year-old twins and a new baby. Tom and Mae are my stepchildren. Tom (22) is currently at university and Mae (18) is in her final year at sixth form college. Needless to say, we have a busy household! They are all great kids, and I am immensely proud of them all in their own individual ways. Our twin grandsons were diagnosed with autism last year. They are both bundles of energy and light up our lives every day.

I have been involved in parent participation for many years and am currently a member of the East Riding Parent Carer Forum. Supporting parental involvement and driving positive change for children and young people with SEND and their families has been a key part of my personal and professional life.

Professionally I worked as a Regional Director of a national disabled children’s charity for 18 years, covering services in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. I was responsible for setting up and managing a number of services including SENDIASS, key working, early years, play, leisure and short breaks, young people’s advocacy, and parent training programmes.

I am the new administrative lead to the NNPCF, and my role involves supporting the NNPCF’s functions as a community interest company, working with other management team members and the board with my focus being on policies and processes in areas such as HR, legal support, and effective project delivery. I am hoping to use my experience to help develop the NNPCF as an organisation as it moves forward.

You can contact Sue at

Melissa Chesman – Communications Lead

I’m Melissa and I live in Rutland, the smallest county in England.

My husband and I have two children. Our daughter is a dental nurse, and our son has a diagnosis of Autism, ADHD and anxiety.

We had such a battle with his education and subsequent diagnosis that I was determined to help other families going through the same confusing, lonely, and extremely frustrating journey.

I previously worked in our local secondary school as a higher level teaching assistant for pupils with SpLD, disabilities and SEND. I also worked for Rutland County Council 17 years, in a variety of posts, a Youth participation officer, an Information Development officer, responsible for the redesign and update of the Local Offer and creating online content. My last role was in their Communications team, which prepared me for this role in the NNPCF management team.

Planning and assisting the NNPCF to communicate on local, regional, and national levels will pay an important part of my role. In addition to utilizing the website and social media channels to share government updates, developments in the SEND world, and promoting the important work our parent carer forums do in their local areas is a challenge that I am enthusiastic to get started on.

You can contact Melissa at

Claire Fisher

Hello, I am Claire.   I live in West Yorkshire with my husband and three children – one of whom has Asperger’s, one of whom has Down’s syndrome.  Most of my time is spent looking after and educating my child with Down’s syndrome as there is currently no suitable provision for her in our area.  

My experiences with my children led me to study education in more depth and I now have an MA in Education with SEN.  Throughout my Master’s, I learnt how other countries and cultures approach SEN education in research, policy and practice and it allowed me to compare them to the English system.  My dissertation gave me opportunity to explore in depth parental views and opinion on secondary education for children with Down’s syndrome and compare these to research and views of professionals.  

My passion is ensuring parental voice is heard at all levels in order to help to shape policies and systems that work well for families through co-production.  I’m a self-confessed geek – loving statistics, numbers and maths as well as SEN policy and legislation.  My role with the NNPCF combines all of these and hopefully positively impact services for children with SEN on a national level.  

You can contact Claire at