Education focus group - previous achievements

Bristol Parent Carers holds meetings with parent carers and staff from Bristol City Council and NHS Bristol Trust, because they have asked us to help them improve the education services provided for disabled children as part of their Special Educational Needs (SEN) Strategy. If you want to participate in any of the opportunities listed below - watch our calendar or email us.

Progress and Achievements 2010-2011, and Activities 2012-2013

1. What parent carers said: "make the statement process easier to understand" 

What Bristol Parent Carers did:

  • Arranged focus group meetings and consultations with staff from the education department to discuss the statutory assessment process (the process you go through to see if your child requires a statement).
  • Organised two information sessions on special education needs (SEN) processes for parent carers to attend (one day, one evening).

What the local authorities did:

  • SEN Managers gave the presentation of the 'SEN Framework and Statutory Assessments Process' at the information sessions, and heard about parent carers' experiences
  • SEN Managers are feeding back those experiences into the training of SEN staff.

What we are planning:

  • To place a handout from the seminar on this website for you to download.

What we discovered:

  • Parents get frustrated with the time constraints and paperwork required for the statutory assessment process, and feel the SEN Dept is not flexible. However, the statutory assessment process is a legal one, and the SEN Dept must follow the timetable and requirements set in law.
  • In Bristol, the funding to support children with SEN is no longer attached to the statement. The funding is now delegated to schools (except for the most complex cases), thus your child should get support whether or not they have a statement.
  • If you need help with any of these issues, contact Supportive Parents for Special Children.

2. What parent carers said: "investigate possible new education models for SEN children"

What Bristol Parent Carers (BPC) did:

  • Arranged focus group meetings and consultations with staff from the education department to discuss this issue
  • Placed parent carer representatives on the SEN Strategy Review Group and on the Autism Strategy Group.

What the local authorities did:

  • The SEN Strategy Group is revising the SEN Strategy for schools
  • The Autism Strategy Group is developing a Bristol-wide strategy for children and adults with autistic spectrum disorders.

What we are doing:

  • Parent carers are needed for the strategy groups - would you like to be a BPC representative on one?
  • When new draft strategies are ready, parent carers will be consulted on them - do you want to take part?
  • We've had a meeting on the availability of therapies in school and the Community Children's Health Partnership is pursuing a number of ideas. - do you want to be kept informed? 

What we discovered:

  • Bristol City Council can only advise schools on SEN practices, they cannot make schools do anything.
  • Parents get angry with the SEN Dept, however most of the policies are fine - it is how certain schools implement them that can cause problems.
  • Therapies in schools (speech and language, OT, physio, etc) are financed and commissioned by the NHS Trust (not the SEN Dept or schools).
  • If you need help with any of these issues, contact Supportive Parents for Special Children.

 

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