Parents Help to Shape SEND EducationBack to News
Parents are helping a family of schools to shape the education children with special educational needs and disabilities receive.
A forum has been set up for parents in Harlow, Epping and Stansted in Essex and Newham in London who are keen to have an input in how their children learn and are supported.
BMAT Education, which is responsible for 12 primary and secondary schools, recently launched a new SEND strategy after consulting with parents.
The strategy outlines BMAT’s commitment until 2026, to improve outcomes and life chances of children with SEND.
The priorities include a new curriculum designed with all students in mind; partnership with parents; early and effective identification of needs, the development of consultants across the Trust who are experts in various needs; developing a sense of belonging for all children and families; and planning for the future.
Now, parents are working with the Trust to fine-tune the plans.
Marios Solomonides, director of SEND, said: “As part of our SEND strategy, we have launched our SEND parent forum.
“It could be argued that parents of children with SEND are undervalued by society, and that only other parents of children with SEND can understand what life is like for them. It is good to share stories, both successes and the trials and tribulations of life, because by talking, parents can support each other. What’s more, our schools can improve provision and relationships with our pupils and their families.
“In the first meeting, we spoke about our own children and our stories, which was a privilege to listen to. I took away lots of different things from what everyone said and, from their feedback, I know our parents did, too. These include how important it is to parents that their children’s needs are understood by their teachers and to be given time and space to plan the right provision with them.
“We have also discussed the initiatives that really have the power to give parents what they need - trust in the school, faith that their child is receiving the right provision, and to know that they are really being listened to.
“A child’s parents are their first and most important teacher therefore it would be ludicrous to not listen to them.”
BMAT schools use coffee mornings, workshops, assemblies and One Plan meetings – where schools assess, plan, do and review to remove any barriers to learning – as a way of communicating with parents and supporting children with SEND.
The forum will meet once per term via Teams to enable parents from across the Trust’s schools to join in.