Working together with parents, children and young people - February 2020 update

We have pledged to work in partnership with parents/carers to improve, review and design services and engage with children and young people in decisions about them.

We have been doing this in a range of different ways over the past year – from one-to-one interviews, co-production sessions to shape aspects of SEND services through to countywide surveys to understand families’ experiences of accessing and using SEND services.

Below is a flavour of just some of the ways that parents and carers are helping us to make a difference.

  • One-to-one interviews with families have helped us to focus on ways we could improve communication with parents.
  • We have conducted many focus groups with parents that are helping to shape the services we provide. One such workshop, held in Maidstone in October, was attended by parents and local parent advisory support groups who discussed what they wanted from a new Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP).
  • We have started to work with an independent team of parents/carers and people who work with families every day from Rotherham, to help us and parents to develop a shared understanding of what real co-production means and how we can work better together to shift the balance of decision-making to include children, young people and their families. The Rotherham team held the first series of workshops with parents and carers on 28 January.
  • The Kent PACT is a new parent carer forum set up for parents of children and young people with disabilities and additional needs. They offer a way for parents to have their say and influence KCC, local health services and other organisations. Some of the parents on the forum are also key members of the joint KCC/NHS SEND Improvement Board. Visit the Kent PACT website to find out more about their work and how to sign up to join the forum.
  • Parents shared their frank views on their experiences of getting support for their children in our SEND survey carried out last summer and rightly challenged us to get things right. We received 660 responses Their feedback showed us just how important it is that parents and children can discuss concerns, feel listened to and see a clear plan for support. View the full report including recommendations for action we should take.
  • Our youth workers carried out a face-to-face survey with young people in December to hear their views and experiences first-hand.
  • Further workshops with young people are taking place over the next few months, including a workshop to hear from young people about their experiences moving from childhood into adulthood.

While we have started to put the building blocks in place to move towards a culture of openness and transparency with parents, we still have some way to go. The parents and young people that we have met with over the past year have shown a great willingness to talk to us and share their experiences, ideas and thoughts that are helping us make a difference for children and young people with SEND.

We have pledged to work in partnership with parents/carers to improve, review and design services and engage with children and young people in decisions about them.

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