fiona england, chair of brighton and hove parent carer’s council (pacc) steering group tells us what pacc have been up to over the summer
Welcome to the autumn term 2020 PaCC newsletter- what a journey we are on! As a community we have lived the day to day realities of the impact of Austerity on SEND provision and then wallop we move into the impact of Covid on all of our lives; this is one very tough journey.
Our newsletter is below and this is what you can look forward to reading more on:
PaCC have continued to work hard to influence the issues around SEND provision for children and young people across education, health and social care – we have grown our collaborative links in the city and have started an important piece of work with mainstream secondary school leads.
PaCC’s other news around educational provision discuss the ongoing work of the new SEND Strategy, additionally important developments in the Literacy Support service and ADHD support.
On lighter note (important when we can!), we have the summer and autumn term leisure fun success story for you and the PaCC awards – take a look and DO VOTE.
Lastly, you can also read about Badge – championing the needs for safe access issues for cars (specifically blue badge holders) in the city.
Take care everyone
Celebrating the success of extended summer activities
We are excited to share this piece on the summer and autumn term leisure and fun at home provision for families with SEND, so impressively pulled together and so incredibly quickly by many of our fantastic PaCC partner groups:
Since 2019 PaCC has been involved with developing the new city wide SEND Strategy 2020-2025, a document highlighting which priorities the Local Authority, health and others should focus on to make sure SEND families in the city receive quality services and timely support focusing on good outcomes for children and young people.
The priority areas named in the draft strategy emerged after early consultation with different SEND groups in the city. Those groups were asked to feedback what is most important to them in relation to their children and young people who have additional needs and/or disabilities – what can be improved and where are the gaps in provision?
The second stage happened in July this year when the Local Authority launched an online survey asking SEND families to provide feedback on the strategy’s priorities, e.g. one question focused on ‘inclusion’ – one of the proposed priorities – and asked parent carers how they felt their whole family was included at school and in the community. We hope you had time fill the survey in and provide your own feedback. PaCC has also organised two surgeries attended by some of its Parent Reps, who represent the many SEND community groups and charities active in the city to ensure that the key issues of the partner groups are recorded as part of the SEND strategy consultation process. https://paccbrighton.org.uk/who-we-are/partner-organisations/
PaCC Parent Reps suggested that there must be some overarching principles running through the SEND Strategy, as for example that the delivery of the new strategy is fully co-produced. BHCC have committed to have PaCC reps on all priority working groups and where the reps will occupy the role of ‘critical friend’ when action plans relating to the priorities are worked through. Read more here about the SEND strategy.
PaCC also ran a consultation with families in the community from Black and Asian Minorities Ethnic (BAME) background; the suggestions and recommendations from this report will be passed on to the Local Authority and will feed into the SEND Strategy.
We are now entering the third stage of the SEND strategy process, the online survey and other consultations are now closed and all of the feedback is been collated. The final SEND Strategy will be published in late October and will be presented at the Children’s Committee in November.
PaCC will be one of the organisations that goes on to monitor the strategy to ensure it does what it says on paper. We will keep parent carers informed and updated.
BADGE Campaign group
PaCC would like to congratulate the founders of the Badge campaign group, Pippa Hodge and Rob Arberry on all they have achieved. They have enormously raised the profile of the issue blue badge holders in Brighton and Hove are facing in accessing areas of the city (due to highway changes), through their immense amount of detailed work.
PaCC fully supports Badge’s ask of BHCC- to ensure that blue badge holders have sufficient safe and equitable access to all Brighton and Hove amenities, including the seafront.
PaCC highlight that there are 234 children and young people aged 0-25; recorded on Brighton and Hove’s Compass disability register (run by Amaze) who are blue badge holders, and we thank Badge for recognising blue badge SEND families as part of their far bigger fully inclusive campaign representing all blue badge holders.
PaCC are keen to hear that decision makers in the city swiftly review the issues raised by Badge and enable the significant and safe access needs of all blue badge holders. Click here to find Badge on Twitter and follow their work.
Secondary Heads and Opening of Schools
A key aim from PaCCs’ annual away day was to start building a relationship with head teachers in Brighton and Hove. This aim was made even more important by the impact of Covid and lockdown on families in the SEND community.
PaCC and Amaze welcomed the quick development of our relationship with the Secondary Heads forum, chaired by John McKee, where we have been able to feed in key issues on a regular basis:
Discussions with school leads and BHCC included, the need for CYP with SEND to access their school place (if they had an EHCP), and that CYP are provided with high quality differentiated learning resources both in school and for home learning.
PaCC and Amaze also raised the need for emails and letters from schools to families to communicate more directly around SEND issues – we hope that many of you will have received communications from secondary schools that are more relatable for your CYP?
Transition back to school in the autumn term has also been a key theme. PaCC and Amaze know what a stressful time this will have been for many pupils. We welcome your feedback about how the start of term has gone for your children- please do tell us and we will feedback to the secondary heads forum in a few weeks’ time.
Please click here to read John McKee’s article written for the PaCC pages of the newsletter, about what he sees are the strengths of this developing relationship between secondary schools and PaCC and Amaze, many thanks for your input John.
PaCC will keep you informed of next steps.
We also hope to soon have news about a meeting that is scheduled with a Primary Schools Heads forum.
Literacy Support Service
In Brighton & Hove, specific learning difficulties (SpLDs) is the most prevalent primary need at SEND Support level with over 1,400 pupils having been identified as being in this group. Many more pupils with other primary needs, also have SpLDs. SpLDs which are left unidentified or unsupported can have a huge impact on a pupil’s academic attainment and future outcomes, as well as their emotional and mental wellbeing. It is so important that a pupil’s SpLD needs are identified and supported at the earliest opportunity.
The Literacy Team from BHISS are in the process of setting up a group for parents, carers and families of pupils with SpLDs/Dyslexia in Brighton & Hove. Becky Robinson, who is the mASCot rep for PaCC and has a child who is dyslexic, has recently been making links with the Literacy Team, with a view to representing parent carers in this area in the near future.
To find out more about the SpLDs/Dyslexia Parents Group, please email Jackie: Jackie.email@example.com
ADHD in the City
PaCC are aware of the difficulties parent carers are experiencing around ADHD in the City, in terms of long waiting times, long waits for medication and an overall lack of support for families in this area. PaCC’s Vice Chair Diana Boyd has been attending meetings to do with the new Neurodevelopmental Pathway, which includes ADHD. Becky Robinson, our mASCot PaCC rep, has been leading on collating information from our members with regards to ADHD for us to take to the relevant meetings which we attend.
PaCC Awards 2020 – a nice way to say thank you to that special person or organisation!
PaCC is one of the ways for you to make sure that your family’s needs and aspirations are taken into account when SEND services and support are planned and delivered at every level, education, social care and health care. To make that possible PaCC works in partnership with professionals and other individuals and organisations across Brighton and Hove.
We know you are always facing challenges, and we are here to represent you. We also value good practice: examples of how professionals and organisations go the extra mile to make sure you feel listened to and supported, make you feel included on decisions about you and your children and your expertise and knowledge validated.
As we have been doing for the past few years, we would like you to nominate an individual or an organisation that has done something special for you and your children. You can nominate your very special Champion by using the form on this link: PaCC Champions Nomination Form or go to https://paccbrighton.org.uk/what-we-do/champions-awards/ where you can also find out about previous years’ winners. Deadline is 31st October.