Department for Education parent carer forum guidance

Statement on Department for Education about increased funding for parent carer forums

Dear parent carer forums

We hope that you and your families are keeping safe and that you’re navigating the latest challenges as best as you can.

We’re really pleased to be able to confirm that the DfE has this afternoon announced that they are continuing to fund SEND contracts next year.

You will be delighted to know that in recognition of the amazing work that forums do, especially throughout the pandemic, that forums’ funding has been increased by £2,500, to £17,500. We hope that forums will be reassured that funding is to continue for another year, and that the DfE sees the value and impact of the work of forums locally and regionally, and nationally, via the NNPCF.

Helen Scott at the DfE said ‘We are pleased to announce that we will re-awarding current contracts and grants which enable schools, colleges, families and local authorities, to support thousands of children with SEND. This includes providing up to £17,500 for each Parent Carer Forum – an increase of £2,500 compared to 2020-21 – to strengthen the participation of parents in the SEND system’

Tina Emery and Mrunal Sisodia, Co-Chairs of the NNPCF stated that ‘The National Network of Parent Carer Forums are really pleased that there is an extension to the strategic participation contract and we look forward to working with all parties within the consortium over the coming year. We are delighted that the DfE has recognised the difference that forums make, which is reflected in the £2,500 increase in the grant funding’.

This is a huge testament to the work that you all do to make a difference and to work with your local area partners to ensure the best service possible for your children and young people. We’re really proud to see how forums have developed over the years, and that they have become such strong and respected organisations.

We both look forward to continuing to work with all forums, and our other strategic participation consortium partners CDC and KIDS over the coming year.

With very best wishes,

Contact and the NNPCF

Department for Education

NNPCF cochairs meet with new Department for Education Permanent Secretary

Last week, NNPCF cochairs Tina Emery and Mrunal Sisodia met with Susan Acland-Hood, the newly appointed acting permanent secretary at the Department for Education.

Susan approached Tina and Mrunal for a meeting and wanted to hear first-hand from parent carers about the what it was like to raise a child with SEND.

In a wide-ranging discussion, they discussed the following topics

  • An introduction to the parent carer forum movement, who we are, what we do and the way we are set up.
  • The difficulties faced by families with SEND in the current system. This included the problems families face being heard; the difficulties in getting early help before situations reach crisis point; inadequate funding in the system; and the disincentives for school leaders to be inclusive.
  • The problems faced by families with SEND during the Covid 19 pandemic – the challenges in the absence of schooling, social care and health services. The NNPCF have reported on these extensively over the past six months.
  • The future of the SEND system and the need for far reaching reform that the NNPCF outlined for the SEND review from our conference last year.

At all points Tina and Mrunal emphasised the importance of coproduction with families- actually listening to them and shaping services in a way that makes sense to them. Susan commented that the PCF movement was doing a great job in modelling strategic coproduction and asked for further a meeting with more parent carers again in the new year