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1st Jul, 2022

'Parents will be listened to' vows the county's education chief

THE county’s education chief has admitted he ‘wouldn’t pat himself on the back about everything’ as SEND parents again called for a ‘seat at the table’ in deciding how the county council runs such services.

Councillor Marcus Hart made the comments after hearing from angry parents of children with special education needs and disability (SEND) at a cabinet meeting at County Hall last Thursday, March 24.

The parents have all experienced difficulty accessing the right education and support for their children.

Coun Hart, responding to criticisms of the action plan to address problems identified by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission, said: “I don’t think I or Worcestershire Children First would pat ourselves on the back about everything.

“What I would say is I welcome both positive and negative feedback, the business plan sets out there is positive feedback from parents on a range of services that Worcestershire Children’s First provide.

“Where there is dissatisfaction it is only right all of us involved strive to deliver the best service we can.”

Coun Hart added the council would welcome wider engagement from stakeholders including parents and carers on all of the services provided by Worcestershire Children’s First.

In turn, parents have called for ‘real change’ at the organisation.

“Worcestershire Children First have produced what they term an ’Accelerated Progress Plan’ to address the remaining four areas of significant weakness identified at the Ofsted/Care Quality Commission (CQC) revisit,” a spokesperson said.

“We once again seek Worcestershire County Council/Worcestershire Children First to evidence their commitment in ‘open and accountable government.

“SEND National Crisis Worcestershire are ready and willing to engage in true co-production and have constructive measures and ideas to contribute.

“To do this we need a ‘seat at the table’ which currently is not being given. Whilst the parent-carer forum, Families In Partnership (FiP), will have a ‘seat’ automatically, all stakeholder groups should be included.

“We represent real voices of Worcestershire parent-carers and we demand to be heard.”

Issues include placing some children in specialist settings when their needs could have been met in a mainstream schools, leading to special schools having enough places for those with complex needs,

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