Evaluation of the Special Educational Needs Parent Partnership Services in England
Ruth Rogers et al,
Church University College
Since the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001, local authorities have had a duty to ensure that parents have access to parent partnership services. These are designed to offer information, advice and guidance on SEN matters to parents and carers of children with special educational needs.
An evaluation carried out in 2005 supports previous reports showing that these services are valued by most parents, but still vary according to staffing levels, resources and organisational arrangements. There is a strong link, however, between the most effective parent partnership services and overall funding.
Around one half of the services studied reported experiencing some diffi culty in getting information from their local authority, and there is a general feeling that not all councils fully appreciate the value of these services.
The evaluation report recommends that local authorities take more responsibility for working more collaboratively with their local parent partnership services and ensuring the services are up to date with SEN policies and processes.
The report recommends that the parent partnership services be given every opportunity to play an active role in, and contribute to, the Every Child Matters agenda, which supports more inclusion for all children. Consideration should be given to staffing levels within services – and specifi cally the role of independent parental supporters – in order to enhance cost effectiveness.