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IMPROVING SERVICES FOR CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

Parents have been playing a vital role alongside professionals in improving services for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). They shared their knowledge and experiences at an engagement event hosted by Bury2gether at Bury Town Hall. This is a new parents’ and carers’ forum which was set up following a critical report into services for young people in Bury with SEND. Inspectors from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission found that, while agencies were doing good work individually, they did not join up and work together effectively. Working with families was an area which was crucial to improve. Less than a year after their report, the borough is now regarded as an emerging model of best practice by other special needs providers.

Councillor Sharon Briggs, cabinet member for children and families, said: “Parents are key. They are the experts, they’re living with children with special needs 24/7, and we want them to work with us to find solutions. “The engagement conference was well attended by parents and a good cross-section of commissioners, managers and staff from education, health and social care sectors who were able to hear first-hand the views and experiences of parents, and how co-production of services can be done. “We might not always get it right but we are trying. Other authorities are coming to us to see if they can move forward on the same route as we have been able to do.”

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