Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Children’s Minister, Sarah Teather MP gives evidence to APPGA

On the 6th and 13th of March, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Autism (APPGA) held oral evidence sessions as part of its Commission into Special Educational Needs reform.

The panel, chaired by Robert Buckland MP, heard evidence from the Children’s Minister, Sarah Teather MP, the Shadow Children’s Minister Sharon Hodgson MP, as well as young people with autism (including one of our young campaigners), parents (including one of our ambassadors), teachers, academics and other professionals.

Sarah Teather MP told the cross-party panel of MPs and Peers that the Government would publish a Next Steps document ‘imminently’, in response to the Green Paper consultation last year. She also said the relationship between parents and local authorities was “not working” at present, promising that her planned reforms would ensure greater transparency and closer joint-working between education, health and social care services. 

The sessions were extremely well attended by MPs, Peers and the public, and provided an excellent opportunity for discussion on a range of issues including autism awareness training for teachers in mainstream schools, transition arrangements, and the need to ensure that children with autism access further education, training and employment after finishing at school. 

The APPGA will use the evidence gathered in these oral evidence sessions to inform a forthcoming report on SEN Reform, which will be published and presented directly to the Government later this year.  Its recommendations will also include findings from a public survey of around 1000 people with autism, parents and teachers. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Last chance to have your say in Counting the Costs 2012 research

Contact a Family is calling on parents and other family members caring for a disabled child to take part in important research about the financial situation for families with disabled children in 2012. The deadline is 11th March, so it’s vital to make your views heard by the end of this week.

Counting the Costs 2012 is a repeat of a survey and report Contact a Family carried out in 2008 and 2010. Your collective responses will give a snapshot of families’ current financial situation and whether it has improved or worsened over the last four years.

Please help to build that picture by completing the survey which should not take more than 15 minutes. Thank you.

If you would like a hard copy of the survey or need help to complete the survey please ring Contact a Family on 020 7608 8700.