Department for Education DfE guidance Minister for children and families NNPCF work

Powers of the SEND tribunal to make non-binding recommendations extended

The government has confirmed that the single route redress national trial will end in August (it had been extended because of Covid 19). In line with the recommendations of the trial, the government has confirmed that the powers of the tribunal to make non-binding recommendations on health and social care will continue. Children and Families Minister Vicky Ford has written to members of the Single Route of Redress Steering Group to confirm this decision and thank them for their efforts. We attach a copy of the letter;

The NNPCF has worked extensively on this project as a member of the steering group and outside. We have consistently argued that the powers of the tribunal to make judgements on health and social care services was necessary and a positive step towards increased accountability and protecting the rights of children with SEND. We also maintain that the judgements on health and social care should be made binding.

You can find more on our work on this topic here NNPCF work to improve accountability in the SEND system – National Network of Parent Carer Forums C.I.C

DfE guidance

All the latest Govt. guidance in one place

We felt that, as so much has happened of late with changes to guidance, that it would be good to share the links to all pertinent documents here in one place.

DfE guidance

New Government Guidance for Special Schools during the National Lockdown

Today the government released new guidance for special schools, specialist post-16 providers and alternative provision during the current national lockdown. A copy of this is below.

DfE guidance

Department for Education publishes schools re-opening guidance

July 2, 2020

Today the Department for Education has published its guidance for schools re-opening. An additional document gives guidance for children and young people with special educational needs. You can find both documents here:

Guidance for full opening of schools

Guidance for full opening of special schools and other specialist institutions

The NNPCF has been working with the Department for Education and making representations on behalf of families of children and young people with SEND.

You can find a record of our representations here

NNPCF Covid-19 update

In addition, the Department for Education has also today published guidance on Early Years and Further Educational settings.

Guidance for further education and skills providers

Guidance for early years and childcare providers

consultations DfE guidance

NNPCF conference gives SEND Review seven clear messages

Parent carer forum delegates from across the country gave the SEND review team a great demonstration of the knowledge, passion and determination of parent carer forums at the annual NNPCF / Contact Conference on the 7th November in Chester.

196 delegates from 88 local areas engaged in an exercise to explore solutions to the issues facing the SEND system. They produced hundreds of recommendations, examples and challenges for the review team to consider.

The key messages grouped into seven themes, based on feedback that the NNPCF heard from member forums. These were:

  • Listen to families and intervene early
  • Make sure there is enough money and spend it well
  • Align incentives for school and system leaders
  • Increased accountability
  • Right people, right knowledge, right skills
  • Lifelong outcomes
  • Coproduction

You can find a copy of the report from our conference here;

This session built upon the work that the NNPCF steering group had already done in engaging with the SEND review at several meetings prior to the event including a session at which the SEND review team attended an NNPCF steering group meeting. You can find an update on our earlier work here

The NNPCF are planning further regional events with the review team. We will keep you posted on these.

DfE guidance Minister for children and families

NNPCF cochairs meet with Children and Families Minister Kemi Badenoch

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.

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.

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

State of the Nation Reports – National Network of Parent Carer Forums C.I.C (

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.”