25 November 2011

Parents of children with disabilities or special education needs are being invited to attend a meeting to find out how they can help shape future government policy by putting proposed reforms to the test.

Families are being sought in Northamptonshire and Leicester to help develop a single assessment process bringing together their education, social care and health needs and support in a single plan.

They will also help to test ways of giving parents and carers more financial control and choice in accessing services for their children.

Councillor Andrew Grant, cabinet member for children, learning and skills, said: “The involvement of parents and carers in this project is absolutely essential if we are to reflect the families’ experiences of the current systems and test out potential reforms. We want to hear from parents who would like to be involved, have their voice heard and help shape the future of services for children with disabilities and special education needs.”

The trial is being carried out by a partnership made up of Northamptonshire County Council, Leicester City Council and their respective NHS primary care trusts which was one of 20 national pathfinders chosen by the government to test out the main proposals in the special educational needs and disabilities Green Paper.

Any parents or carers interested in finding out more can come along to either of the two meetings that have been set up on Monday 28th November at St Martin’s House, Peacock Lane, Leicester OR Tuesday 29th November at Wardington Court, Welford Road, Northampton.

Both events run from 10am to 4pm. At each event there will be:

  • A presentation on the pathfinder and parent participation opportunities (11am; 1pm & 3pm).
  • A market place of information on the pathfinder and other grant funded agencies.
  • An opportunity to ‘sign-up’ to be actively involved with the pathfinder in various ways.

Parents who would like more information can email contact@npps.info or call 01604 636111 for Northamptonshire parents and 0116 257 5003 for Leicester parents.


Notes to editors
Northamptonshire and Leicester have both received government funding of £225,000 over two years for the SEND [Special Education Needs and Disabilities] pathfinder which will test core elements of reform, including:

  • a single education, health and care plan from birth to 25 years old, focusing on whether outcomes for disabled children, young people and their parents have been improved through this process
  • personal budgets for parents of disabled children and young people and those with SEN so they can choose which services best suit the needs of their children
  • the full engagement of children, young people and their families
  • strong partnership between all local services and agencies working together to help disabled children and those with SEN
  • improved commissioning, particularly through links to health reforms
  • the role of voluntary and community sector organisations and parents in a new system

The project will involve the trialling of a single assessment process for children and young people with special educational needs - bringing together their education, social care and health needs and support in a single plan spanning birth to 25 years of age.

The systems put into place as part of the pathfinder project will be developed and tested and the findings will be analysed. The existing statutory framework will remain in place during the timeframe of the project and al pathfinders will continue to work within this.