The Lincolnshire Parent Carer Forum (LPCF) has showcased the county’s ground-breaking project to bring £50m investment in special schools.
At the Annual National Conference of Parent Carer Forums in Coventry, LPCF presented details of the partnership with Lincolnshire County Council, head teachers and governors before an audience including Nadhim Zahawi MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families.
He gave a ministerial keynote speech about the growth in representation of parent carer forums and their incredible achievement over the last ten years.
LPCF was chosen as one of only four forums from 152 in the country to profile good practice in the development of the innovative special schools strategy.
Coralie Cross, chair of the LPCF, who presented at the conference, said: “It was our real “wow” moment in front of the minister, colleagues and over 200 people including the Department for Education and the Department for Health.”
“It was the ideal platform to highlight the integral involvement of the Lincolnshire Parent Carer Forum in co-producing our SEND strategy, ensuring that parents’ views and experiences were fed into the process and remained at the heart of the overall vision.”
The significant changes over the next five years will reduce excessive travel times for children and young people, allowing them to go to their local school.
It will mean more school places and enhanced provision, including extra support in mainstream schools.
Special schools will be extended and upgraded to make sure they can cater for all types of special educational needs and disabilities.
“It also gave me the chance to convey the enormous commitment of our 11 volunteers who gave a staggering 3,062 hours of volunteer time to this project”, added Coralie.
“They’ve travelled over 17,000 miles throughout rural Lincolnshire and attended 269 meetings to gather and represent the views and experiences of our membership of around 2,000 parents and carers.”
“By supporting the forward-thinking approach of the local authority and the heads of special schools in driving this new model for special education, children, young people and their families will benefit from vastly improved support.”
Councillor Mrs Patricia Bradwell, Executive Councillor for Children’s Services, added: “Coralie and the LPCF deserve all the praise and recognition they get.
“They have been behind us from the start on our journey to improve SEND support in our schools for children, young people and their families.
“Without their support in driving our vision forward, together with our special school leaders, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
“We can now look forward to an exciting package of £50m investment across our special schools for the benefit of all children and young people with SEND across the county, whatever their needs.”