consultations Department for Education Education Minister for children and families Parent Carer Forums SEND Review

SEND Green Paper engagement events with the Department for Education and parent carer forums

The special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and alternative provision (AP) consultation was published at the end of March. The NNPCF have been working with the Green Paper team at the Department for Education (DfE) to organise a series of engagement events for parent carer forums to feedback and discuss the plans outlined in the Green Paper.

There are three different categories of events:

A national webinar hosted by NNPCF co-chairs Tina Emery and Mrunal Sisodia – 12 noon 23 May

At this event Mrunal and Tina will share the initial NNPCF response to the proposals. The session will step through the Green Paper outlining which proposals the NNPCF supports and which we have concerns about. The session will be interactive, and we will be seeking flash feedback from parent carer forums on their views of some of the proposals in the Green Paper. We will also outline the different ways that parent carer forums as well as individual parents can respond to the consultation and have their voices heard.

To sign up for this event please use the following link:

Regional events hosted by the Department for Education for Parent Carer Forums

The DfE Green Paper team will be attending NNPCF regional events to share the thinking behind the Green Paper and to have a discussion with regional parent carer groups about their thoughts on the proposals. In these sessions the DfE team will offer a short presentation of 20-30 minutes and then will take feedback and questions relating to the Green Paper for the rest of the hour. The objective of these sessions is to offer parent carer forums the opportunity to have frank and honest exchanges with the DfE team. The sessions will not be recorded due to confidentiality reasons.

The schedule of events is as follows:

RegionDateTimeVirtual or in person meeting
North East26 May11am – 12.30pmVirtual
North West   
Yorkshire and Humber24 May10amIn person York
West Midlands16 May1pmVirtual
East Midlands8 June10amVirtual
East of England12 May10am-2pmIn person – Cambridge
16 May 10am-12.30pmVirtual
South East20 May10am-12noonVirtual
South West10 May12:30pm-2pmVirtual (Teams)
Please note, any gaps to the table will be filled once confirmed by the DfE.
Details of how to join these meetings will be sent out through the usual regional parent carer forum channels.

National SEND review briefing hosted by Minister Will Quince

We are currently working with the DfE to organise a national webinar. This will give parent carer forums the opportunity to discuss and feedback to the DfE on the proposals set out in the Green Paper. Children and Families Minister Will Quince will host this event. Once the dates have been confirmed we will publish the webinar, with more information including how to register for the session.

Bills and legislations Parent Carer Forums

Down Syndrome Bill update April 2022

Article updated 02/05/22

What is the Down Syndrome Bill?

The Down Syndrome Bill is a private members bill sponsored by Dr Liam Fox MP and Baroness Hollins. The purpose of the Bill is to “Make provision about meeting the needs of persons with Down syndrome; and for connected purposes.”

The Bill stipulates:

”(1) The Secretary of State must give guidance to relevant authorities on steps it would be appropriate for them to take in order to meet the needs of persons with Down syndrome in the exercise of their relevant functions.

(2) Relevant authorities must have due regard to the guidance in the exercise of their relevant functions.

(3) Before giving the guidance the Secretary of State must consult such persons as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.

(4) The Secretary of State must publish the guidance in such manner as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.”

The Bill then stipulates what are relevant authorities; they include any public body that might provide services or support to people with Down Syndrome, except for welfare benefits.

Progress through Parliament

On 1 April 2022, the Bill passed the third reading in the House of Lords. As there were no amendments, the Bill is now in its final stages and will receive Royal Assent before the end of the current Parliamentary session, thereby becoming law – the Down Syndrome Act 2022.

The DS Bill is supported and championed in Parliament by 43 MPs and Lords who form the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Down Syndrome. Their current five priority areas are:

• maternity care

• education

• employment

• social care

• health care/research

Next Steps

It is expected that the statutory guidance to relevant authorities will be laid before Parliament in Spring 2023.

The National Down Syndrome Policy Group (NDSPG) support people with Down syndrome to have a say in the formation of policy in matters that impact their lives. NDSPG supporting bodies include 39 national and local organisations including Mencap, Down Syndrome Education International, Positive About Down Syndrome (PADS).

The NDSPG is one of several organisations that will be involved with the open consultation.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will facilitate the open consultation.

The consultation mandated by the Bill will inform the statutory guidance. This includes input by adults with Down Syndrome.

The Down Syndrome Association, who are committed to improving the quality of life for people who have Down syndrome, will be submitting their own response. You can find further information on their website:

Details on how to get involved with the DHSC consultation will shared once published.

What does this mean for forums?

  • Forums should be aware of the Down Syndrome Bill and make their members aware of the proposed changes.
  • Forums may wish to respond to the consultation on statutory guidance (when published) or share their views with the NNPCF Consultation & Policy Lead to inform the NNPCF response.
  • Forums may wish to look in more detail at examples of good practice elsewhere and work with partners to develop a Down Syndrome pathway and improve local and practice and services.

Further information

The Down Syndrome Bill

The National Down Syndrome Policy Group

All Party Parliamentary Group – Down Syndrome

NHS England NNPCF work Parent Carer Forums

Autism Schools Project

The Autism schools Project is being rolled out across the country over 2021/22 period. This project was one of the Children and Young People Accelerator Projects run in North Cumbria and the North East and is now going out to the rest of the country.

The Infographic accompanying the project, which highlights how parent carer forums can be involved, can be viewed here.

The full project report can be viewed here.