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ESPCF September Newsletter
We're delighted to bring you our latest newsletter which includes updates on home-to-school transport, progress on a new school mental health service, and some key dates for your diary. First, a quick word from our Chair...
 
Wow - I'm sure many of us are wondering how it is the middle of September already!

Much like the lockdown period, the wider reopening of schools and colleges has presented​ a whole range of different emotions and circumstances. For some, the return to school has been a really positive experience, whilst for others things have been more challenging. Many families are starting or continuing their exciting home education journeys, and we also know that for others, being out of an education placement is much less positive, as sadly not every child and young person has a suitable placement to return to.

Whatever your family's situation, ESPCF is here for you.
 
Holly
Chair, ESPCF
18 September 2020
 
 
August & September catch-up
 
 
Back to school
Emerging themes so far (and it is still very early days) include timetabling, for example part-time or full-time hours proving unsuitable or unsettling for some; whether reasonable adjustments are being made to behaviour policies; concerns such as accessing the usual break-out spaces; and anxiety or confusion about the school application process, for example whether schools are holding in-person or virtual open days.

Let us know your thoughts and feedback. How is September going for you and your family?
 
 
Return to school flyer
How to help families prepare for the start of the new school year was a pressing issue as we headed into August. We knew that some families were unsure about what the new school day would look like, and whether the right provision would be in place for their child. We’d emphasised in our discussions with East Sussex County Council the need for targeted communications for SEND families which took into account their needs and considerations, and with ISEND we produced a flyer which we hoped would address some of these concerns.
 
Home-to-school transport
Read ESPCF's update on home-to-school transport, which includes a look at what happened, and details about who to contact to feedback your experiences.
 
Click to read ESPCF transport update
 
Other workstreams update
 
 
Pathological Demand Avoidance
Back in June, we told you about the Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) working group that was formed and attended by our parent rep, Erika Freeman, and our Vice Chair, Jo Nye.

The group was formed as a short life sub-group of the Autism Pathway Review and Implementation Group (APRIG), to agree a PDA joint position statement to ensure consistent messages across the local authority. It was to include schools, health and East Sussex Parent Carer Forum, so children and their families can be supported as best as possible.
 
The draft position statement will be reviewed for sign off on 25th September, so we hope it will be made public shortly after.
 
Having a say about school mental health service
We were pleased to hear that one of our members hoped to attend a parent carer focus group this month about the development of a new schools mental health service in East Sussex. Mental health is one of the ESPCF's key priorities and we'll pass on any feedback from the focus group as soon as we can.
 
Read more about new schools mental health service
 
Neurodevelopmental pathways
We had a useful kick-off meeting with Hannah Oliver, who is the Joint Commissioning Manager for Children, Young People, and Maternity Services for East Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group. We talked about potential changes to ASD and ADHD pathways, and while final details are still being ironed out, we hope to update you soon on some great opportunities for parent carer involvement.
 
 
Meetings and workshops
 
All-Party Parliamentary Group for SEND
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for SEND has announced its autumn schedule of meetings. These are open to all and you can find full info about the different topics and dates, as well as how to submit evidence, by clicking on the button below. The group is particularly keen to hear from parent carers and young people.
 
Click to read APPG SEND schedule
 
Connecting with MPs
We are looking forward to an opportunity soon to meet with local MPs and share some of the experiences we are hearing from our members. We hope to raise awareness of the many challenges being faced by SEND families in East Sussex at the moment. We’ll keep you posted.
 
 
Free family workshops
Contact, the charity for familes with disabled children, is running a series of free virtual workshops on issues around DLA & Carers Allowance, sleep, parent carer wellbeing, encouraging positive behaviour, speech and language, and sensory issues. 
 
 
Support and resources
 
 
Learning at home
If your child or young person is at home, remember that ESPCF's resource page is still live and has lots of useful links to practical ideas and activities. 
 
 
School transition support
Contact has put together an advice page which includes key info on getting to and from school, special schools, and answering some common concerns.
 
 
The Council for Disabled Children has also produced a really helpful welcome back to school page, with information, guidance, and support.
 
 
Raising our voices
We're signing off this month with a call to action: please spread the word about becoming an ESPCF member. We really need to grow our numbers to have a chance of bringing about positive change for SEND families. We've created a simple Q&A on what it means to be a member, so please share with any family and friends who you think might be interested.
 
 
Thank you so much for reading to the end! We'll be back next month with more news, but in the meantime please keep in touch in the usual ways:
 
 

ESPCF
September 2020
 
 
ESPCF
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56-58 Seaside, Eastbourne,
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0300 770 1367
 
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