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Parent partnership services

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If your child has been highlighted as having special educational needs, you will soon find yourself entering into unknown territory; not only in terms of the difficulties you may to have face at home, but also in all the bureaucracy, paperwork and form filling you will come up against. You will quickly have to become an expert in rights, regulations and procedures in a number of areas and unfortunately, it often also means having to fight for basic entitlements and those things which you feel are in the best interests of your child. However, you don’t have to do it alone…The Parent Partnership Services are here to help.

What is the Parent Partnership Service?

Parent Partnership Services are usually a good place to start. They offer advice and support to parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs. They are statutory service and there has to be one in every local authority area. Despite often being attached to the local authority, the partnerships offer free advice on an impartial and confidential basis.

How can they help?

special needsTheir aim is to empower parents to play an active and informed role in their child’s education and services. Teams often help develop closer links and better communication between families and all those involved with their child. This can include schools, education and social care, voluntary organisations and any other relevant professionals. Children do not need to have a statement of special educational needs or a medical diagnosis of a disability in order to access the partnership services; sometimes it’s getting  a diagnosis or statement in the first place that parents need help with straight away.

Parent Partnership Services vary greatly from area to area, but generally they include functions such as:

  • A confidential helpline
  • Support in preparing for meetings and attending meetings with you
  • Information packs and material to help guide you through the world of special educational needs
  • Help filling forms and writing letters/reports
  • Supporting parents and carers through disagreements with schools and local education authorities
  • Signposting to other statutory services
  • Links to local parent support groups and forums
  • Ensuring that parents and carers views help inform and influence local policy and practice
  • Offering training opportunities for parents and professionals
  • Working with families of excluded pupils.

Parent Partnership Services must adhere to minimum standards set out in the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice and their work is overseen by the National Parent Partnership Network which is funded by the Department for Education. The network aims to promote the work of partnership services across the country, while providing a national network to enable them to learn from each other, share information and promote best practice. It also provides training and works with local authorities to ensure parents have access to high quality services in their area that are respected as an impartial source of information, advice and support.

You should be able to find your local Parent Partnership Service through your local education authority.

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