Over the last number of years, parents in Suffolk have been raising concerns over the services, education and treatment of young people, families, and carers of those with SEND. We are at a crucial point in the evaluation of the current state of services in Suffolk as the CQC and Ofsted are undertaking an area SEND inspection. It is vital that the voices of parents/carers and young people are heard.
When Suffolk Parent Carer Forum (SPCF) was notified of the inspection, they immediately contacted each local group recognising the integral role they play in representing the SEND community. SPCF are aware of the importance these parent voices have and given the inspectorates decision to not meet with them directly, are seeking to provide support and strongly encourage feedback to be given on the survey and to SPCF so they can accurately present the voices and opinions of many. In addition, SPCF have contacted all schools in Suffolk along with all the organisations that have a profile on the Local Offer to share the important information of the inspection and to garner vital lived experience feedback on the survey.
Suffolk PCF is a group that works with and alongside, but most importantly, independently from the local authority and health services. SPCF are funded by the Department for Education and receive contributions from the local authority and integrated care boards so that we are able to remunerate parent carers for their valued time. We are a group with lived experience made up of parents and carers of children with special educational/additional needs and or disabilities. We are passionate about representing the lived experiences of families across Suffolk and we will not cease in our cause to bring about improvements in services and education for our young people with SEND.
While there are a number of support groups and agencies working across the county, our role is to gather the collective voices and lived experiences of Suffolk families with SEND aged 0-25 years. We feedback both the positive and the negative experiences of parents, carers and young people to the authorities and service providers. We attend regular meetings with the Local Authority, the Integrated Care Board and Department for Education feeding back the lived experiences and we continue to challenge on the difficulties and distress that families feed back to us. From here, we then seek to improve the quality of services through co-production and ensuring a continuous dialogue.
SPCF actively welcome and encourage feedback from local groups and organisations to feed in the parent, carer, and young person’s views from across the county. As a group, we offer membership to the PCF, a standard practice across all PCFs nationwide. This is free to join and means you can be on the mailing list to receive updates and information firsthand. However, it is important to stress that membership is not required to provide feedback to the forum. Our easy to complete feedback forms are accessible for parent/carers as well as professionals and can be found on our website. We also receive feedback at community outreach events we attend and to ensure as much of the county is reached as possible, two new Community Engagement personnel are in post and will help provide a more visible presence of the forum at events. This in addition to the open events the Forum already hosts, the Facebook page that is a hub for information sharing as well as the launch of the new SPCF Members Group where information can be shared and members will be kept up to date with current events.
Now more than ever, it is vital that the voices of young people, families, and carers of those with SEND are heard. We welcome all feedback to the Forum and will continue to represent Suffolk families to bring about the change and support that our young people deserve. We strongly request all to complete the SEND area survey, both professionals, young people, and parent/carers alike. The voices of lived experience are vital in bringing about change.
Thank you for your continued support.
The SPCF Team