SEND families regroup for close working with council

Parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) in North Yorkshire have relaunched and rebranded their group.

parent carer voice logo

To make a greater contribution to improvements in education, health and social care provision in every part of the county.

The parent and carer forum wants to reflect more effectively the particular needs of families and children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities across the length and breadth of North Yorkshire, England’s largest county, which extends from the east coast across to the Cumbrian border in the west and down to Selby in the south.

“We wanted our group to be representative of every local area and to reach out to parents carers across the county’s varied and geographically spread out communities,” said Rhiann Askew, chair of the new group, Parent Carer Voice North Yorkshire.

The group, known formerly as NYPACT, has already been working in close partnership with North Yorkshire County Council in the continuing development of its SEND strategic plan. The plan’s aim is to create high quality and more flexible provision close to where children and young people with SEND live so they remain at the heart of their own communities.

“What works for children and young people and their families on one side of the county doesn’t necessarily mean it will work on the other side of the county,” said Rhiann, “so we want to gather the collective voice of parents carers in every locality and share this effectively, enabling us to all work together for positive change”.

The County Council has backed the rebrand and relaunch of Parent Carer Voice which has also established closer working relationships with the NHS and North Yorkshire’s clinical commissioning groups.

Jane le Sage, North Yorkshire’s Assistant Director for Inclusion said the parent carer forum relaunch was the beginning of a new chapter with parents and officers working together on initiatives. She said: “This is exciting for the future of special educational needs provision in the county. For example, we have a significant piece of work coming up in bringing about improvements in early years. So we will tackle it together, in an open and honest way, with the voice of parents across North Yorkshire feeding into decisions about changes and what form these will take in different parts of the county.”

Parent Carer Voice North Yorkshire is for parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) who are aged 0-25.

Officers from the County Council and CCGs will join the parent carer forum in training later in the year and on further service development.

“The emphasis is on co-production with our strategic partners,” said Rhiann, “so we can build on what works best and help bring about long-lasting improvements. We have a membership base of about 2,000 parent carers, and we want to make sure all of them feel that they can belong, and that their voice is being heard and shared as part of the collective parent carer voice; we are open to all families with children and young people with any special educational needs and disabilities not just those families with children with Education, Health and Care Plans but also with any level of special  educational needs and disabilities and at the earliest stages.”

Visit the Parent Carer Voice North Yorkshire website.

This story was published 16 June 2020