SEND Partnership Summit signals spirit of collaboration

Hounslow Council hosts SEND Partnership Summit at Cranford Community College.

Published: Monday, 18th March 2024

SEND summit

Last Friday’s SEND Partnership Summit at Cranford Community College saw children, parents and professionals gather to discuss a more collaborative approach to improving the lives of young people in Hounslow.

This improvement journey seeks to work better for every child, young person, and family in the borough, and will inform strategy through co-production based on professional expertise and lived experience.

The morning featured workshops and a lively question and answer session, that saw young people from Marjory Kinnon School in Bedfont, quiz SEND Education professionals and Council leaders about their futures. Subjects raised included sixth form provision, the EHCP process, access to therapies and employment pathways.

Among the panel, was Steven Forbes, Executive Director, Children and Adults’ Services, at Hounslow Council, who said:  

“Today’s agenda spelt out some of the challenges that lie ahead, and that was apparent from the lived experiences of the families we heard today. We want to continue to learn from these experiences and capture ideas, make necessary improvements and create a system that works for all.

The national SEND system is broken. Positive changes in legislation over a decade ago, designed to support all children and young people to thrive, have never been properly funded. As a result, children, young people, families, councils, the NHS, and others have been left to manage unprecedented levels of demand with limited resources, often causing friction and frustration - despite individuals and organisations’ good intent and best efforts.

“But we have a duty of optimism, and our children and young people have limitless talent, performing better in local schools and colleges than nationally. Our focus going forward together, is to make sure all parts of Hounslow’s SEND system are working to further improve the experience of families.”

Chaitan Shah, Chair of Hounslow’s Parent and Carer Forum, shared his thoughts on the prospect of co-production: 

“It’s about working together, that’s the basics of it. Different stakeholders and opinions from adults, children, parents, carers – everything working together to bring something we all want, a better future for our children.”

Vice Chair Jennie Tweedy added:

“It’s hard work. It’s listening to parents, listening to young people, getting to know them, understanding their needs, wants and desires. It’s going to be a new way of working, a completely new approach but a really great way of getting parents and especially young people involved.”

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