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(UK) Suffolk parents NOT ALLOWED at meeting about "failing special needs system"

Mar 18, 2019, East Anglian Daily Times: Crucial meeting over future of special needs schooling in Suffolk bars input from parents https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/department-for-education-refuses-spcn-access-to-sen-meeting-1-5944946 Members of the Suffolk Parent Carer Network (L-R) Anne Humphrys, Lucy Buckle, Sue Willgoss and Joanna Hammond Picture: SUFFOLK PARENT CARER NETWORK Parents have reacted angrily after it emerged a special needs forum praised for its “powerful and influential voice” has been refused access to a crisis meeting with government leaders. Parents and carers across the region recently launched an urgent plea to fix the failing special needs system. Suffolk Parent Carer Network (SPCN), which acts on behalf of families across the county, has been told it will not have a seat at a key meeting to decide the future of Suffolk’s failing special educational needs (SEN) provision. The decision, made by the Department for Education (DfE), has sparked anger among families who claim SPCN is among the only organisations that fairly represent their needs – arguing parents should have an active role in the debate. It comes just weeks after parents and carers across the region launched an urgent plea to fix the failing special needs system, with families united by the message: “We must be heard”. Anne Humphrys and Joanna Hammond, co-chairs of SPCN, said that – despite backing from Suffolk County Council and local clinical commissioning groups – the DfE had declined their request to partake in the crisis meeting. … ‘I would like to see them cope for five minutes in our shoes’ The news has come as a shock to many families, as SPCN received such high praise from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in a recent inspection of Suffolk’s SEN services. In a report dated January 21, the inspectors wrote: “The SPCN provides a powerful and influential voice in the best interests of an ever-increasing group of parents and carers. … Claire Scarff, whose daughter Mollie lives with autism and has been denied any proper support at school, said the DfE’s decision is “taking away the voice of those they are meant to be helping”…. “I would like to see these officials cope for five minutes in our shoes. The thing that winds me up is they always have an excuse as to why they cannot answer questions.” …