NNPCF and the Regional Networks

Sarah Thomas is Co-Chair and West Midlands Representative on the National Network of Parent Carer Forums Steering Group.

Sarah Thomas

The National Network for Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) is a group of parent carers working collectively to make a positive difference for and with families of children and young people with additional needs.

The Network is made up of 151 local parent carer forums and is spread across the 9 English regions. One of the key objectives of the Network is to bring local forums together to provide support for each other and to share information and best practice. The Network is a pan disability organisation that promotes parent carer participation and partnership working between parent carers and professionals at all levels.

The Network defines partnership as a process where parent carers are valued members of a team shaping and delivering services for families of children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities. Effective parent participation happens when parents have conversations with and work alongside professionals in order to design, develop and improve services.

NNPCF Markers of good practice for parent carer participation:

• Parent carers’ engagement is valued, planned, and resourced.

• Pan disability parent carer forum linked with effective two way communication with wider parent carer community.

• Parent carer led and solution focussed.

• Constructive partnerships where parent carer participation is evident throughout planning, delivery and monitoring stages with authentic co-ownership of work.

• Parent Carer Forums participate in regional networks and are well linked to local single issue or condition specific groups.

• Transparent written forum governance, including clarity about function of forums, representatives roles and ‘Reward, Recognition and Remuneration’ policy in place.

• Ongoing outreach to build representation and recruit wider membership, offering support and training opportunities.

In the Midlands local forums are supported by two regional networks, one in the East Midlands and one in the West Midlands. Each region has selected one parent carer to sit on the National Network Steering Group. Currently Dave Nutting is the NNPCF representative for the East Midlands and Sarah Thomas is the NNPCF representative for the West Midlands and Co-Chair.

If you want to know more about parent carer participation please visit the NNPCF website http://www.nnpcf.org.uk

The Signpost Inclusion Christmas Fayre

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAOn December 8th 2012 Signpost Inclusion held its first Christmas Fayre. Around 100 families attended to take part in the festive fun, meet Santa and chomp on a mince pie or two (and of course help raise some funds for Signpost Inclusion!) The same team of dedicated volunteers that staffed the Signpost Inclusion Family Fun Day were on hand to ensure that everybody had a great time and that the day ran smoothly. Around £900 was raised on the day and Signpost Inclusion would like to thank all who attended and contributed on the day.

Dhiren and Bhavna Katwa were full of praise for the event organisers:

‘Hats off to the team at Signpost Inclusion for organising a wonderful Christmas Fayre at Hatchford Brook School last Saturday. Having received a flyer from Stanville School, we went along. The day before, we had contacted Tony at the Signpost Inclusion office by email asking him a few questions. His prompt and positive responses encouraged us to go along.


Everyone was so welcoming, there were a range of fun festive activities on offer, each at a nominal cost. Our sons

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERADylan, four, and Priyen, two, enjoyed their chat with Father Christmas and had their photograph taken. We felt like we were in Lapland – the only exception being there was no snow and no real reindeers. Ho!ho!ho! Great work by the face painter, the ladies selling the cakes were incredibly friendly, the volunteers selling raffle tickets were impeccably polite and kind.

Particular thanks to Maureen who did an amazing job in welcoming everyone and for her outstanding and positive attitude and approach. Over and above, a splendid event and we wish Tony and the team at Signpost Inclusion all the very best for 2013 and beyond’

Signpost Inclusion On The Move

Signpost Inclusion have moved to the The Renewal Family Centre in Solihull.

Signpost Inclusion have moved to the The Renewal Family Centre in Solihull.

Signpost Inclusion is delighted to confirm that the organisation has relocated to the Renewal Family Centre in Solihull. This move will strengthen the good working relationship that Signpost Inclusion already has with the Family Centre; the two organisations have worked together closely over the last 12 months.

The partnership was formed initially to deliver the very successful Tuesday morning group that helps support parents of young people who have additional needs. Signpost Inclusion also supports the Dads on Saturday group, which is held each month at the Renewal Family Centre and runs Stay & Play sessions from the Family Centre during the school holidays. The next Signpost Inclusion Stay & Play session will be held on February 19th 2013 between 10am and 12noon.

The move highlights how local organisations and community groups can work together in order to best serve the local community. The facility at the Renewal Family Centre is designed to be family friendly and welcoming and as the relationship between the two grows it is hoped that more facilities will be offered from there; a Siblings Group and a Resource Group being planned right now.

Tony Ibbotson, Executive Director for Signpost Inclusion says:

We must also say a big thank you to Langley Primary School and its Headteacher Mark Mitchell. We are very grateful to Mark and his staff for all of the support that we received when we were based with them on the school site.

Mark retains his links with Signpost Inclusion as a non-executive Director.

Early Support National Updates

The revised Early Support Early Years Developmental Journal

Exciting news from Early Support HQ: The revised Early Support Early Years Developmental Journal was published on the Early Support website Monday 4th February. The Journal follows the updated pattern and presentation of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), specifically Development Matters, the material used by people working with children under five in early years settings.

Approved Trainer Training

Would you like to become an approved trainer to deliver the newly revised and updated Key Working & Working in Partnership, Parent Carer Workshops and Using Multi-Agency Planning Improvement Tool training? Are you able to cascade training at either a local or national level? You can access free capacity building training in any of these strands NOW; contact your Regional Facilitator for more details!


Early Support Resources Revised

The existing Early Support resources have been revised, updated and adapted for use with older children and disabled young people.

Early Support’s resources help to bring service providers together with parent carers, children and young people on the basis of shared information. They ensure parent carers, children and young people remain at the centre of a holistic and integrated support process.

The information resources we provide are based on what families and young people have said would be most useful for them. They offer a source of reliable and readable information. They cover a range of different conditions, disabilities and difficulties, including autistic spectrum disorder, speech, language and communication, visual impairment, sleep, neurological disorders, multi-sensory impairment, rare conditions and no diagnosis. They also provide general information on childcare, people you may meet and other useful areas of knowledge.



Getting Social

Zoe Davies is exploring the world of social networking to spread the Early Support message.

Zoe Davies is exploring the world of social networking to spread the Early Support message.

Zoe Davis and Mill Lodge Primary School in Solihull are pioneering communication about Early Support via her school network. As the school picks up information about what is going on with Early Support for Children Young People and families she re-tweets the information, as does the school. Families are kept up to date with the news and can log on immediately to the main Early Support site to catch up with the latest goodies. So far attention has focused on the new materials and by the time you read this we’ll get to see the developmental journal. Communication is at the heart of Early Support’s success.

Fiona Holmes, West Midlands Regional Facilitator for Early Support says:

We need to share much more broadly and to anyone who will listen; it is only in this way that we can ensure that the ten Early Support principles are in the mainstream It is great to see parents in partnership with schools leading the communication revolution.

Fiona is following her own advice, and as we publish this issue she is celebrating her 100th follower. If you’re already a “Tweep” you can follow Fiona from her profile page.

If you’re looking for useful, interesting and entertaining people to follow on Twitter the In Principle Links page is a good place to start.