Southwark Parent Carers Council
speaking up for families with disabled children

News News

21 Jul Southwark PCC summer newsletter is out

Read the Southwark PCC's new summer 2014 newsletter, in our Newsletter section. The new issue includes more updates on the upcoming SEND reforms, including Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs), the Local Offer and the expanding role of the Parent Partnership in Southwark.

We also have a parent carer report from the the Autism Show, a touching story by Iwona about her son Antek, who was diagnosed with autism, and some fun summer activities.

If you would like to respond to the newsletter, or have any comments/opinions on how we could improve it, please let us know. We'd love to know if you've found it useful - please email us at: info@southwarkpcc.org.uk.

Read the issue here. You can also pick it up at Sunshine House and other venues. Or you can request for the newsletter to be sent to you by email and/or post. Just click on the Sign Up box on our newsletter page.

15 Jul Childcare system 'failing' disabled children

News from Every Disabled Child Matters (EDCM): A cross party Parliamentary inquiry today reveals widespread failures for disabled children across the childcare system. MPs and Peers are calling for all parties to address the serious faults at the heart of our childcare system which has led to thousands of disabled children - from toddlers to teenagers - missing out on vital education and social opportunities.

The Parliamentary Inquiry into Childcare for Disabled Children found that:

• 41% of families with disabled children aged three and four are unable to access the full 15 hours free entitlement to childcare and early years education due to a chronic lack of appropriate settings or lack of funding.

• 86% of parent carers who responded to the Inquiry’s survey reported paying above average childcare costs, with 38% paying £11-20 and 5% paying more than £20.

• 72% of families with disabled children have cut back or given up work because of childcare problems

• The childcare situation gets worse as a disabled child gets older: the cost increases and availability gets even more limited as mainstream holiday and after school clubs are often not inclusive

• There is confusion among local authorities, nurseries and schools about what their duties are in providing childcare for disabled children.

To begin to tackle some of these key issues, the Inquiry is calling on all parties to commit to developing a coherent policy to improve access to affordable, accessible, and appropriate childcare for all children.

Read more of the story on the EDCM website
Every Disabled Child Matters (EDCM) is the national campaign to get rights and justice for every disabled child.

• Read the Inquiry's findings: Parliamentary Inquiry into childcare for disabled children: levelling the playing field for families with disabled children and young people.

11 Jun Code of Practice for Children and Families Act published

After two drafts and consultations, the final Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years has been published today.

The Code provides guidance to local authorities, health, schools and colleges and early years providers on carrying out their duties under part 3 (SEND) of the Children and Families Act 2014. Parliament must now approve the Code to enable it to come into force by 1 September 2014.

To read the whole document and the government's response to the consultation, go to: www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-code-of-practice-0-to-25

7 Apr Transport for London: New 'Turn Up and Go'

Transport for London: New 'Turn Up and Go' assistance service
TfL have launched a new 'Turn Up and Go' assistance service for mobility and sight-impaired customers at all London overground stations. Staff will provide assistance without the need to book in advance. This gives greater choice and flexibility for making spontaneous journeys; the service is already in place on London underground. For more info:  http://tfl.gov.uk/accessibility

21 Mar PCC training parent reps for SEND reform workstreams

The PCC has been offering active parents training as parent representatives. The two-day training, run by Community Action Southwark (CAS), was designed to help existing active members of the PCC to develop their skills and for newly joined parent carers to become confident in representing parents' views.

A number of parent carers are joining Southwark Council workstreams on the new SEND reforms, to be implemented by September 2014. To find out more about about the changes to SEN, health and social care provision for our families, go to our SEND Reforms page.

17 Mar Children and Families Act

The Children and Families Bill, which will introduce a number of changes to the way disabled children and young people and those with SEN receive support, has received Royal Assent.

After more than 2 years of consultation, debates and local authority 'pathfinder' testing, the Children and Families Bill received Royal Assent on 13 March.

The Act includes a move from Statements of SEN to Education, Health and Care plans (EHC Plans)

Every Disabled Child Matters (EDCM) says: "As a result of the work undertaken by the Every Disabled Child Matters Campaign, together with the Special Educational Consortium and parents, the Act now:
• should create a more joined-up system of support across education, health and social care, including enhanced rights to receive health and social care support
• includes disabled children and young people within its remit
• establishes an inquiry into how redress in the system can be improved
• puts participation at the heart of decision-making"

But EDCM also said:

‘This is only the start of a long process of the cultural change that is so urgently needed. EDCM will monitor how well the new system is delivering for all disabled children, young people and their families and those with SEN, especially the majority of children without an EHC Plan. We will campaign both nationally and locally to ensure that disabled children, young people and those with SEN actually get what has been promised to them.’

Find out more on the EDCM website