On 4th March, SNAP PCF hosted their second Parent Carer Forum Conference. SNAP (Special Needs Action Panel) consists of parent carers who have children/young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
They are an independent Parent Carer Forum who work in partnership with Central Bedfordshire Council and health care providers. They are also members of several strategic boards within Central Bedfordshire.
Opening of the Conference
Kirsty Green, Director and Participation Manager of SNAP PCF opened the day by welcoming parents and everyone attending the conference. Likewise, Kirsty sits on the Central Bedfordshire strategic meetings, to be a voice of parents. She is heavily involved with moving things forward.
As a director, Kirsty highlighted the need to hear parents’ voices and to work together. This will help ensure that health, education, and social care services are more: “fit for purpose”.
Firstly, SNAP PCF have published their March 2018 – March 2019 Annual Report. Furthermore, the report covers the Central Bedfordshire SEND Vision, Local Offer, training for their members, joint outcomes training, short breaks and preparing for adulthood.
Kirsty and Central Bedfordshire Council identified the need for personalised services. Secondly, Kirsty voiced that SNAP PCF will be running parenting training in conjunction with the SEND Team on annual reviews, SEN support in mainstream schools, and Educational Health Care (EHC) needs assessments. Moreover, personalisation workshops and making children’s EHC plans work, allowing parents to make more informed decisions.
SNAP (PCF) held parent panels, including reviewing how services within Central Bedfordshire can be more inclusive to the Special Educational Needs and Disability community. (libraries, sports centres, youth clubs, parks, and community centres).
Sue Harrison, Director of Children’s Services in Central Bedfordshire brought attention to families wanting a more flexible approach, a more personalised approach.
Firstly, Sue emphasised the importance for parents in having support from other parents and professionals, (feeling part of a team and building a relationship). This approach will help professionals get to know and understand both the child and the parents. Moreover, looking to develop family activities, making sure that children have local provisions to socialise. (offering flexibility in location and times for services). In other words, making services more accessible.
Hayley Mason, Senior Solicitor and Director of SEN Legal was a guest speaker at the conference. Moreover, Hayley gave her professional expertise on the EHC Needs Assessment, sections B, F, and I of the EHC Plan, the Special Educational Needs Appeal Process and Expert Witnesses. (helping parents to understand their legal rights).
Another guest speaker of the event was Dean Beadle, who spoke personally on Autism and Anxiety. He discussed that although meltdowns are discussed a lot in the media, some autistic people can mask their way through the day. He also highlighted the importance to focus on the joy of being autistic.
Mini Surgeries and Stall Holders
Parents could book a 15-minute appointment to speak to a senior officer of Central Bedfordshire Council/Central Bedfordshire Commissioning Group.
Many charities and organisations supported the SNAP PCF Conference by offering parents information on their services. In addition, this gave parents a broader outlook on what services Central Bedfordshire have to offer.
To see a list of all the charities and organisations that attended the conference, please refer to the SNAP PCF Annual Report (March 2018 – March 2019).
If you live in Central Bedfordshire and would like to find out more about SNAP PCF, please follow the link:
*This blog is for information purposes. Additionally, I am a registered parent member of SNAP PCF and volunteered to write this post. I received no payment or any other commission for this post.
Located in Bedfordshire? Why not check out my post on Autism Bedfordshire.