Categories
Education NNPCF work Parent Carer Forums

Children’s Commissioner’s Attendance Audit

Earlier this week, the Children’s Commissioner published her report ‘The Voices of England’s Missing Children‘ – an audit into attendance in England’s schools.

Whilst identifying some of the issues surrounding school attendance and the challenges thrown up by experiences of many during the covid pandemic, the report calls for 100% of children to be back in school at the start of the new school year in September. Perhaps best regarded as a “call to action”, this will be impossible to achieve between now and September and carries significant risks for children and young people with SEND.

If the schools’ system focuses crudely on attendance, the wrong solutions will be pursued and punitive measures used to coerce families to make their children attend school when they are not ready, not properly supported, enrolled in an appropriate setting or in some cases not even assigned to any school. The report has its sights only on school attendance, not the very valid
reasons why many children are not attending school and the steps necessary to support schools and families in getting a child into school – for example a whole school approach or the strategies adopted by the autism in schools project

The report lays out six recommendations for the system relating to attendance covering a wide range of reasons why children may be out of school from exclusions to children who cannot attend because of caring responsibilities at home. We are very supportive of some of the recommendations in the report,
most notably the recommendation that decisions about children’s education need to be made “with children, their families and other adults in their lives.”

However, we have serious concerns about other aspects of the report:

  • Whilst we agree that school is the right place for the majority of children, for some children this is only true if they have access to the right school and / or the right support. The shortage of suitable school places means that many children with SEND are not in the right environment and the well documented issues with the SEND system mean that even those that struggle because they cannot access the right support from education, health and social care services.
  • The report talks about “exclusion as a trigger for intervention” – this is far too late. By the time a child is excluded, the damage is done. The NNPCF have consistently argued for a clearer framework that guarantees early intervention when families identify concerns – NOT when a child reaches crisis point. This principle has formed the basis of our input into the SEND review.
  • The report asks for school leaders to have a “relentless focus on attendance”. This puts the cart before the horse. All system leaders, school, health and social care need to have a relentless focus on the right support – for many children, poor attendance at school is a symptom of poor support. Moreover, additional pressure on children to attend when they are not able to will do nothing but further damage relationships between schools and families and amplify any existing anxieties children may have.
  • Throughout the report, the emphasis seems to be on the child and family to change with little attention given for the need for the school or health and social care services to change, make reasonable adjustments or step up earlier to provide the right support. The Equalities Act is unequivocal that schools must not disadvantage children with protected characteristics, sadly too many do just that

For more of our representations on school attendance see Attendance, behaviour and exclusions – National Network of Parent Carer Forums C.I.C

Categories
Health and Wellbeing NNPCF work Parent Carer Forums

Mental health and wellbeing survey launched.

The mental health and wellbeing of both our parent carer forum members and their children and young people with SEND is a priority for us, the NNPCF.

We are acutely aware of the impact that the COVID pandemic has had on everyone, especially parent carers.

We have created a survey to help inform our future work and to advise our response to the call for evidence to develop a new cross-government, 10-year plan for mental health and wellbeing for England.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/XJDWLW3

The survey is two parts and will take around 15 minutes to complete.

The survey is open until 23 June 2022.

Categories
consultations Department for Education Education NNPCF work Parent Carer Forums SEND Review

NNPCF launch SEND Green Paper consultation survey for all parent carers.

The NNPCF have recently launched their parent carer survey on the SEND and Alternative Provision Green Paper consultation.

They hope to collect as many responses as possible from all parent carers, not just those who are involved in their local parent carer forums.

The responses of the survey will help to inform the NNPCF’s own response to the SEND Green Paper consultation.

Co-chairs Tina Emery and Mrunal Sisodia stated that, “The Green Paper is an opportunity to reset the SEND system after the 2014 reforms failed to deliver the improvements that families of children with SEND so desperately need. It is vital that every parent carer’s voice is heard and so we have launched a short, simple survey to gather parental views that we will use to inform our response to the Green Paper. We will, of course, also publish the survey results.”

You can complete the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/J63QX22

The survey should take no more than 10-15 minutes to complete and remains open until the 30 June.

Categories
Committee Education Select Committee SEND Review

NNPCF gives evidence to the Education Select Committee

The NNPCF co-chair Mrunal Sisodia gave evidence to the House of Commons Education Select Committee on 24 May, when a session was held on the SEND Green Paper consultation.

Mrunal was joined by IPSEA chief executive Ali Fiddy, Local Government Ombudsman Michael King and Imogen Jolley, Head of Public Law at Simpson Millar.

In the evidence session Mrunal spoke to key points on the SEND Green Paper, including:

  • The need for the incentives in the overall education, care and health system to be aligned with the needs of SEND children, young people and their families.
  • The need for improved accountability in the sector to ensure that when needs were not being met issues could be addressed.
  • The need to listen to families and drive early intervention and stop families getting to crisis point before help is given. This increases needs, creates anger, frustration, mistrust, and costs more money.
  • The need for the Green Paper to say more about long term outcomes for young people with SEND beyond education such as employment, community inclusion and independent living.
  • NNPCF support for national standards in SEND provision that, if set properly and implemented effectively, would help to drive greater clarity in what families can expect and what services need to provide.
  • Parental concerns about naming a setting from a suitable list for children with EHCPs.
  • The importance of strong advocacy and independent support for parents, for example through SENDIAS services and keyworking.
  • The role of Ofsted and the desire from parents that no school should be classified as good or outstanding without being good or outstanding for SEND.

You can find a recording of the session here: The Government’s SEND Review – Committees – UK Parliament

Categories
Bills and legislations Department for Education Education NNPCF work Parent Carer Forums SEND Review

The SEND Green Paper: NNPCF briefing

What does it say and what does the NNPCF think about it?

The NNPCF co-chairs, Tina Emery and Mrunal Sisodia held a briefing on the contents of the long-awaited SEND and Alternative Provision Green Paper consultation for parent carer forums on 23 May.

A recording of the session can now be viewed by following the links below:

YouTube recording of the briefing

Slides from the briefing

Mentimeter survey results

The NNPCF have also published their parent carer survey.

They hope to collect as many responses as possible from all parent carers, not just those who are involved in their local parent carer forums.

The responses of the survey will help to inform the NNPCF’s own response to the SEND Green Paper consultation.

Co-chairs Tina Emery and Mrunal Sisodia stated that, “The Green Paper is an opportunity to reset the SEND system after the 2014 reforms failed to deliver the improvements that families of children with SEND so desperately need. It is vital that every parent carer’s voice is heard and so we have launched a short, simple survey to gather parental views that we will use to inform our response to the Green Paper. We will, of course, also publish the survey results.”

You can complete the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/J63QX22

The survey should take no more than 10-15 minutes to complete and remains open until the 30 June.

Categories
Care Quality Commision NNPCF work

Care Quality Commision (CQC) presentation 20/04/22

Attended by Tina Emery and Sarah Clarke

Prior to the meeting a quick mentimeter survey was sent out with questions to all forums, about the CQC’s role in the LA SEND Inspections and how forums understood the CQC’s role in the inspections.  A limited number of forums replied due to the Easter holidays, although 65 forums did respond.

The mentimeter survey clearly demonstrated a lack of consistency in forum involvement and understanding of the role of the CQC. Even following a Written Statement of Action (WSoA) and a revisit.

The presentation was received well and generated discussion around the consistency of forums involvement in the inspection process and how could the CQC improve forums understanding and communications between forums and CQC.

This was the first time that the NNPCF have been asked to present to the CQC and the feedback at the meeting was positive and likely to lead to additional coproduction work between the CQC and the NNPCF.

Categories
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: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZModeCvrTwoGNUve-OwXisL0SQaUniHSchz

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
London
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.