Wolverhampton Parent Partnership Service


Providing information, advice and support

Happy childChanges ahead!



Please be aware that the new Children and Families  Act came into force on 1st September 2014 along with a new Code of Practice.   

Find out more about the changes by reading our Autumn 2014 magazine

Come along to an event to find out more, please view the flyer.

We will be updating our website to reflect the changes, if you would like further information please contact us.


SEND Officer Job Opportunity

 The Local Authority is looking to recruit 1.5 ‘SEND Officers’ as fixed term positions to support the conversions of Statements of SEN and Learning Difficulty Assessments to Education, Health and Care Plans.  Closing date is Tuesday 25th November.  For further information please visit WMJobs website.


New Better Communication website for parents

The Communication Trust, in partnership with Symbol, have released a new website for parents which contains easy to access information, including for those who have a learning disability. It contains resources and downloads, including key information about the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice that parents need to know.

SEND Reforms
14th November 2014
SEND Reforms

The Children’s Minister Edward Timpson discusses the SEND reforms in a recent speech.

New supermarket trolleys developed

Sainsbury’s introduce new trolleys developed with parents of disabled children.  To read more click here.

News and Information from Contact A Family

Some excellent resources are available from Contact a Family in their November e-bulletin. Their resources on the SEND reforms are well worth a look, to view, please visit their website.

More praise for council as it transforms services for young people with disabilities

Wolverhampton has received more praise for the way it is improving services for young people with special educational needs and disabilities.  To read more visit the Wolverhampton City Council’s website http://wolvesnet/citypeople/councilnews/2014/november+2014/041114a.htm.

New name, same service but a few extras

As you are aware, Parent Partnership Services are phasing out and Information, Advice and Support Services are moving in!

As part of the Special Educational Needs and Disability reforms, the remit of Parent Partnership Services has grown since the 1st September.  As we no longer just work with parents and carers, our name is out of date.  As of Monday 20th October, we are now known as the Wolverhampton Information, Advice and Support Service.  It’s business as usual in many ways but we now work with a wider group and advise around wider issues.  Read more on page 16 of our current magazine.  Our contact details remain the same.

SEN Support Workshops
24th October 2014
SEN Support Workshops

The first of our SEN Support workshops took place last Saturday (20th October) at Brickkiln Community Centre.  The workshop included information on the duties on schools, early years providers and post 16 providers to identify and support children and young people with special educational needs. Parents found out what sort of support is available in schools, and how to ensure families and professionals work together to plan appropriate support to meet the individual’s needs. Also included in the session was information about the new guidance for schools to support pupils with medical conditions.

Thank you to parents who attended and found the session clear and informative. We     received some lovely comments:

Great Communication, clear information”
“Elaine and Michelle were very informative and approachable. Lots of information shared and reassurance to the support for our child”
“Interesting session – nice to get some clear information”

If you have a child or young person receiving support at school, currently on early/school action or early/school action plus or would like to know more about support in school our next SEN Support workshop is 3rd February. Please see our flyer for more details and to book a place.

SEN Reforms Special magazine

Welcome the the Autumn 2014 Parent Partnership/Information, Advice and Support Service magazine.  This term’s magazine is around the changes taking place from 1st September 2014 and will prove helpful to you.  If you unable to attend one of our workshops, this will help to explain all the changes to you.  If you would like a hard copy, please contact us on 01902 556945 or email ppservice@wolverhampton.gov.uk.

Parent Partnership/Information, Advice and Support Service – FREE Workshops

We are running four parent/carer workshops to help parents and carers understand the changes in SEN Support and Education and Health Care (EHC) Plans.  The first one is around SEN Support on Saturday 18th October.

To find out more please view the flyer  http://wolvesparentpartnership.org/uploads/files/SEN%20EHCP%20Workshops.pdf.  Places are limited and booking is essential, refreshments will be provided, please make alternative childcare provision.  Call us on 01902 556945 if you would like to book your place.

Exciting Partnership for Independent Support

The Parent Partnership Service is delighted to be working with Royal MENCAP as partners in Wolverhampton’s offer of Independent Support.  The Department for Education has pledged significant funding to support families through the SEND reforms.  Independent Supporters are being recruited as an additional resource to support parents and young people who are going through the new Single Assessment Process (to replace statutory assessment) or those converting from statements or Learning Difficulty Assessments (LDAs) to Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs).  We are working on joint approach to offer families a seamless and holistic service.  To find out more about Independent Support please contact us or visit the Council for Disabled Children Independent Support pages http://www.councilfordisabledchildren.org.uk/what-we-do/independent-support.  

We are planning our Independent Support offer in co-production with families.  If you would like to get involved in shaping and planning this new resource, please contact us.

The changes are here!
11th September 2014
The changes are here!

Last Monday (1st September) marked the beginning of a new system for SEN and disability (SEND) provision for those between the ages of 0 and 25; the changes have been set out in the Children and Families Act 2014 (CFA 2014), Part 3.

From 1st September, local authorities have a number of new legal duties they are required to meet, including:

  • Having regard to the principles in section 19 of the Act, including that children, young people and their parents should fully participate in the decisions that affect them
  • Publishing an initial local offer on their website – visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/send to see Wolverhampton’s
  • Having joint commissioning arrangements in place with their partner clinical commissioning groups
  • Having processes in place for conducting Education, Health and Care (EHC) assessments and drawing up EHC plans
  • Making arrangements for a SEND Information, Advice and Support Service (this is the new name for us at the Parent Partnership Service).  We will be moving towards this over the coming months.

 It was not a ‘light switch’ change to the new way of working, the changes will be implemented and embedded slowly.  There is clear guidance explaining what needs to be done and by when.

Look out for our magazine this term which will be a special edition on the SEND reforms.

Visit the Council for Disabled Children website for an overview of the Children and families Act.

We appreciate that whilst there are lots of resources available, nothing quite beats having someone to talk to and explain things so please do contact us if you would like any information or advice about the reforms and what that means for you and your family.  Details of our parent workshops explaining some aspects of the reforms  are available on our e-bulletin number 124 on our website.

New SEN Law on IPSEA website

IPSEA has developed a brand new website at http://www.ipsea.org.uk/home packed full of information and briefings about the new SEND Law. You will find reminders about the old law that applies during this transition stage; a resource finder; FAQs about the new law and an EHC Plan checklist.

New guide for parents and carers


The Department for Education has produced a guide for parents and carers on the Special Educational Needs and Disability reforms.  It gives a clear overview of all the changes you can expect to see from 1st September onwards.

Look out for a magazine by the Parent Partnership Service that details all of the changes and what they mean for Wolverhampton families.  It is currently in production.

Awareness raising events – Look out too for some awareness raising events that we are planning.  You will be able to find out more about the changes to Special Educational Needs and Disability systems and services face to face.  Details to follow in the next couple of weeks …

New Exclusion Leaflet
10th July 2014
New Exclusion Leaflet

Michelle Reid, Parent Partnership Casework has written a leaflet to help parents and carers whose child has been/or is at risk of being excluded. You can read ‘Supporting Behaviour: Avoiding Exclusion’ on our website.


News from Let Us Play

Kim Hatton, Charity Manager of Let Us Play has sent us the following statement.

 “Let’s Do It Together – Let Us Play has just been awarded one year of funding from the Big Lottery Fund for a new project entitled ‘Let’s Do It Together’.    This project will be included in the core Let Us Play newsletter from this month onwards.  The sessions are specifically for children with disabilities aged 5 – 11 years.  At these sessions parents are very welcome to stay (or you can leave them with us if you prefer, it’s up to you).  The sessions are appropriate for the age group and will always have the high quality of staffing and resources normally provided by Let Us Play.   The first session is Charlie Farley on 21st July a children’s entertainer with puppets, jokes and magic.  We are especially keen to meet newly diagnosed families and those who have never accessed Let Us Play before.    To access Let’s Do It Together you need to become a member of Let Us Play.  You can do this by downloading a membership form from the website  www.lupwolverhampton.org.uk, membership costs £10 per year after which almost everything is free.   

 Let Us Play & Sainsbury’s Wednesfield – Let Us Play are proud and totally delighted to announce that we have agreed a two year partnership with Sainbury’s Wednesfield to become their charity of the year.   Starting this coming Saturday when one of the members of Sainsbury’s staff is having his head shaved in the foyer at 12:00noon it will very much be a two way partnership.  The staff and volunteers of Let Us Play will be working alongside Sainsbury’s staff in a wide variety of fundraising exploits.  Sainsbury’s  staff will also have the opportunity to volunteer at Let Us Play getting to know us all so much better.   Kim Hatton Charity Manager said ‘ although our relationship with Sainsbury’s is expected to bring many financial rewards, it will also help us raise the profile of the charity, something which we are very much trying to do at the moment, we are totally delighted to be chosen’.

 Volunteer At Let Us Play – We currently have several volunteering opportunities at Let Us Play especially has most of our university student volunteers have gone home for the summer.  We are looking for volunteers in many areas but especially those who enjoy craft, sport and helping the office team fundraise.  You do need plenty of energy, some free time and would need to undergo a DBS check which must come back clear.  In return we can offer training, experience, something great to go on a CV, and a guarantee that you will understand disability and its many forms so much better.  We ask that volunteers commit to doing one session per month minimum.  General expenses etc will be paid.   Volunteer application form available on our website. “ Kim Hatton

Edward Timpson (Minister for Children and Families) on You tube

Please watch this You Tube video of Edward Timpson talking about the importance of local authorities working closely with parents, and organisations working together, to make the new SEND system work for families.  It also reinforces the message that families should not see statements cease just because we are moving towards a new system.  If you have any queries about this please do contact us.

Mental Health Behaviour Guidance.

The has issued mental health behaviour guidance to help teachers to identify bad behaviour from poor mental health, meaning fewer pupils will wrongly be labelled ‘trouble makers’.  To view, please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/mental-health-behaviour-guidance-to-be-issued-to-schools


Improving Mental Health for Children and Young People

YoungMinds  is working with NHS England to support the participation of parents and carers in improving mental health services for children and young people.   They would like to ensure the voices of all parents/carers are heard.

For more information visit  http://www.youngminds.org.uk/for_parents/parents_improving_services. To register for the project visit http://e-activist.com/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1833&ea.campaign.id=28037


IPSEA – Independent Parental Special Education Needs Advice

Raising awareness of the changes to SEN law.  Please visit http://ipsea-charity.org.uk/PWP-2GE52-274UJBP7CC/cr.aspx

Government letter to reassure parents

Minister, Edward Timpson MP who is responsible for the SEND reforms in government published a letter to parents. The minister recognises that there have been a range of concerns raised about the reforms and the letter aims to allay some of those concerns.  If you have any queries about the new ways of working then please contact us at the Parent Partnership service. 

If your child has a statement for their special educational needs or s/he is supported at School Action or School Action Plus, don’t forget to book your place at our FREE parent event (details above) where you will find out all bout the reforms and how they will impact on your family.

To read this letter, visit  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/301837/SEND_reforms_-_letter_for_parents.pdf.

New guidance on supporting children with medical conditions

The Department for Education (DfE) have published a revised guidance for those supporting children with medication conditions. Visit http://bit.ly/1kH8xiq to read this guidance.

They have also published a report summarising responses to the consultation on the guidance, to view this report visit http://bit.ly/1omBap5.

Evaluation of the SEND Pathfinders published

The Department for Education has published the results from an evaluation of the special educational needs and disability (SEND) pathfinder programme.  This research includes:

  • Analysis on self-reported progress made by 31 pathfinder areas against a common delivery framework (CDF)
  • Data from the quarterly monitoring returns completed by pathfinder areas

Both the evaluation and the brief for the evaluation can be found at http://bit.ly/1h7mLwK.  For more information about the pathfinder programme, please see the Pathfinder web pages at www.sendpathfinder.co.uk

Top Children & Families Bill Myths

Contact a Family have produced information sheets designed to dispel some of the myths associated with the progress and implications of the Children & Families Bill.    These information sheets are available to read at the links below.

  1. Children & Families Bill Myths, visit http://bit.ly/1gwpdx5
  2. Children & Families Bill Myths, Statements and EHC Plans, visit http://bit.ly/MS7SSb

The Bill is due to have Royal Assent in April, with the changes set to be implemented from September 2014.

REMEMBER - To find out more about how the changes will affect you and your child in Wolverhampton, the Parent Partnership Service is holding a Parent Information Day on Thursday 19th June, 9.30am-2.30pm at Molineux Stadium. For more details and to reserve a place at the event contact us on 01902 556945 or emailppservice@wolverhampton.gov.uk


SEND Reforms – Wolverhampton’s Local Offer

Elaine Westwood from the Parent Partnership Service, along with Alison Baggs and Jane Smith from Voice4Parents attended the first meeting of the Local Offer Partnership Board this week. There were representatives from schools and services from across the Local Authority, the voluntary sector and Health including the Clinical Commissioning Group. Alex Johnson from Changing Young Lives represented the views of young people in the City. 
The group agreed terms of reference, and members signed up to work on the various work plans that the Local Offer will encompass, including education, health, social care and    preparing for adulthood. The Local Offer Partnership Board will oversee and coordinate the development of the Local Offer in Wolverhampton, ensuring that information is  included from all relevant services to cover birth to 25.  You can find out more about the Local Offer in the article from Lucy Harris in the Spring edition of the Parent Partnership Service magazine.

Government ministers’ letter to Local Authorities re SEND reforms

On Monday 9th December Ministers Edward Timpson (Department for Education) and Dan Poulter (Department of Health) wrote to local authority and health leaders about the special educational needs (SEN) reforms.  In their letter the Ministers request these individuals work to ensure that the SEN reforms are implemented in a way that will deliver maximum benefits for local areas and for families and young people.  

You can read their letter, and more about how the pathfinder programme will be extended until March 2015 on the Council for Disabled Children website at http://www.councilfordisabledchildren.org.uk/news/july-december-2013/implementation-pack-on-sen-reforms-sent-to-all-local-areas

Must see film clip. A different perspective

The award-winning ‘Talk’ portrays a society in which non-disabled people are a pitied minority and disabled people lead full and active lives. Jonathan Kerrigan, of BBC’s ‘Casualty’ fame, plays a business executive whose negative preconceptions of disability are dramatically shattered.  To view this film visit:

Information, information, information – What? Where? How?

Parents and carers have been telling us for years that access to information is a challenge.  We know that all too often, parents hear about services and opportunities through other parents.  We have been looking for a way to address this for some time.  Well, now there is going to be a way to ensure parents and carers can access the information they need in a manner they would like to receive it. Furthermore, this will be embedded in law.
As part of the reforms to Special Educational Needs and Disability services, each Local Authority will have to produce a ‘Local Offer’ which will set out in one place information about provision they expect to be available for children and young people in their area.
The Local offer will have two key purposes:
•         To provide clear, comprehensive and accessible information about the provision available and
•         To make provision more responsive to local needs and aspirations by directly involving children and young people with SEN, parents and carers in its development and review.
The Local Offer will include information about services and provision in relation to all aspects of special educational needs and disability.
This is all good news for parents and carers!
I am delighted to tell you that I shall be leading on the Local Offer for Wolverhampton and officially start my work as Local Offer Project Manager this week.  I shall still manage the Parent Partnership Service but will be spending most of my time concentrating on the Local Offer which is a huge project.  Elaine Westwood (Parent Partnership Officer) will be overseeing the day to day work of the Parent Partnership Service in my absence, until March 2014. There will be some other temporary cover arrangements which we will share in the near future. 
I will need your help!  It is essential that the Local Offer is created with parents, carers and young people right from the start. I shall be working closely with Voice4Parents to develop some of the early principles of Wolverhampton’s Local Offer but we will need to seek the views of parents, carers and young people across the City to ensure it meets local needs.  Please watch this space for information about how to get involved.
The Parent Partnership Service is delighted to have such a prominent role with Wolverhampton’s implementation of the reforms and that we will have the chance to influence such an important piece of work for children, young people and their families.  The Parent Partnership Service will ‘host’ the Local Offer once it is established.
If you would like to see what the Draft SEN Code of Practice says about the Local Offer please click here to visit www.gov.uk. I will keep you informed of developments.
Lucy Harris (Parent Partnership Co-ordinator and Local Offer Project Manager)

Important development for CYP with long term health conditions

 Following months of campaigning by Diabetes UK and a number of other charities the Government has announced that it will amend the Children and Families Bill so that all schools, including free schools and academies, will be required by law to make appropriate arrangements for supporting pupils with long-term health needs. This will be supported by new statutory guidance that will be issued next year.  http://www.diabetes.org.uk/About_us/News_Landing_Page/Diabetes-UK-welcomes-major-step-from-Government-to-improve-support-for-school-children-with-health-needs/

Video to explain the changes to SEN funding

You will now be aware of the national changes to the way in which SEN funding is arranged in schools which came into force on 1st April.  Here is a short video that helps to explain the changes further.  The presentation is by Philippa Stobbs, Assistant Director at the Council for Disabled Children.  To view the presentation, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZ7mVQsPinM.


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