Welcome to our July 2021 round up
As we fast approach the beginning of the summer holidays and the end of another academic year, it is impossible not to reflect on the challenges SEND families have faced throughout continued Covid restrictions. I am pleased to say that despite these immense difficulties, the PaCC steering group reps have managed to hold onto the role of representing the SEND community.
PaCC adapted quickly and effectively to the continuously changing environment, which excitingly led to our membership increasing, despite the fact we couldn’t run face-to-face events and activities. We are so looking forward to being able to resume face to face meetings (coffee mornings, etc.), with you all as soon as we can.
Here I want to share with you a couple of examples of the work we have been doing since the March 2021 newsletter:
We know that for many families the Brighton & Hove City Council Hidden Children agenda has been of acute interest for a long time now. PaCC and the community of parent carers’ affected, have continued to challenge Brighton & Hove City Council to deliver an action plan to address the issues affecting children and young people out of school, the use of part-time timetables and the urgency to implement improvements to provision in the city to meet individual’s specific needs. PaCC is pleased to announce the local authority’s recruitment of a ‘Hidden Children’ officer. PaCC reps played a big part in both shaping the remit of the role, and recruitment of this essential post. Read more about Hidden Children here.
Whilst juggling our workload throughout the last 18 months, we feel it is important to be transparent about the huge strain the pandemic has had on PaCCs capacity. PaCC Steering Group reps juggled home-schooling with the forum’s demands, then, for some reps, the difficult transition for their children and young people to return to school and also the impact of continued shielding for some. PaCC have had to learn quickly that the nature of maintaining relationships in a virtual world is more difficult. It has been important for PaCC to think about the ongoing resilience of parent carer reps and all parent carers in the city.
PaCC worked hard to apply for funding that we could share with our PaCC partners to deliver community activities to support parent carers mental health and resilience and also fund activities for families. Read more about how this funding improved the Easter holidays for a cross section of families.
All this is but a tiny snapshot of what we have been doing. In the Autumn term newsletter we will update you on the huge work we’ve been doing challenging health leads around waiting lists for ADHD and ASC assessments. PaCC has written again to health leads to once more stress the urgency that wait times are unacceptable and we will feedback to you their replies.
To counter the bad news about waiting lists, PaCC reps are optimistic that we will receive confirmation that PaCC will be offered a seat on new Sussex wide health boards. This will be a big step forward and PaCC will be able to raise the profile of health inequalities for our children and young people at the Sussex wide strategic boards that are now playing the lead role in health provision development.
PaCC will also provide a progress report on the Launch of the SEND Strategy. We have asked both Brighton & Hove City Council and the Clinical Commissioning Group to agree to a communications strategy with PaCC and Amaze, that will keep the community updated with a ‘You said, We did ‘ approach – ‘You’ being the SEND community/PaCC and ‘We’ being Brighton & Hove City Council and the Clinical Commissioning Group. Look out for our updates after the summer holidays.
And finally, we are sorry to have to tell you about changes to the PaCC team. Fiona England, our wonderful PaCC Chair, is standing down from her role after an amazing and extended term of office (five years as Chair, plus two as Co-chair). Fiona has made a massive impact for so many SEND families in the city and will be hugely missed. We’ll mark her departure with a longer piece in the autumn round up. We also have to say goodbye to Jo Levi, our brilliant PaCC Admin and Comms Assistant, who is stepping back due to roles changing in the PaCC team. Thanks so much for your huge contribution to the team Jo.
Looking to the future for PaCC – we thank all of our members for taking the time to work with us, without you we could not work towards improving provision for our children.
Have you thought about joining PaCC or do you have friends who may be interested in joining PaCC ?
As we go through continued challenging times, it means that more than ever, we need to support each other. The forum is here to give you a voice on how services are planned and provided to you and your family. We are here to make sure that your experience of SEND services is taken into consideration when our Chair, Vice-chair and Parent Reps attend meetings with the Local Authority, the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), SENCO Forums and so on. If you haven’t done it yet, think about joining PaCC, we are stronger together! Click here to join PaCC.