Sofina Khan

Barnet Parent Partnership Conference in North London Business Park (18 May 2011)

This is highly nformative conference set up mainly for parents and carers and perhaps other professionals who have or are in contact with children and young people (CYP) who have special educational needs.

As my son is on the Autistic Spectrum and has a Statement of Educational Needs (SEN), I tend to attend one of these events every 2-3 years.

Val White, Assistant Director for Policy Performance and Planning welcomed and introduced herself as responsible for the Parent Partnership services at Barnet.

Brian Davis, a Principal Educational Psychologist briefly spoke about the SEN Green Paper consultation and made a key note speech. Brian’s main speech focussed on the children with SEN in Barnet. “There are 1600 CYP with Statements in Barnet of which approximately 75% are in mainstream schools.” Barnet recognises the needs of CYP, early intervention and the lifelong needs/complex needs of these CYP with SENs and relying on statements to meet children’s needs.

Soon after the speech, there were a number of organisations that are in Barnet who help Parents and Carers of SEN CYP.

These Organisations who at the Parent Partnership Conference were:

PP4DAN Who aim high for children wit disailities and have parent forums for parents and carers. PP4DAN is a strong and representative organisation that provides a great service to changes where they are needed.

ADDISS Parent support line

IPOP – Inclusive Play Opportunities Project

IPOP team is dedicated to providing disabled children, young people and their families with the right support to enable them to get involved with general play and leisure activities along with their friends and neighbours. I have personally used their services to help my child obtain skills such as football and also support in the summer playschemes. Without their support, my son would have find it very difficult to cope.


Jackie Silverman, Family Support Manager talked about MENCAP organisation and how they provide a number of drop in morning sessions such as OPEN DOOR to help and provide outreach support. Angela Silis, a very good friend of mine also, is a Parent Practitioner whos works for MENCAP  and specialises in Autism.

SNAAP (Special Needs Advisory and Activities  Project) run by Christine Haugh a very good friend of mine who also has a vast range of experience in Autism.

This SNAAP club provides an opportunity for familes and carer of children who are on the Autistic Spectrum or have any other learning diffculites to meet up every Wednesday during term time to discuss and met other families and/or parents of these children. I have used this service and I can say it is so relieving to meet and taalk to other parents who can understand and relate to what you are going through as a parent of an special needs child. Well done! Christine. This organisation also provides a series of shortbreaks such as horseriding to these children and their carers.

Deborah Cohen – Parenting Support Service for Barnet

There are a series of workshops and parent training courses that are run by Parents of CYP special needs children.These provide an opportunity to meet other parents and most important of all recognise and develop skills and strategies for children to develop skills.

SCOPE. This charitable organisation works with all disabilities, school transition services, cerebral palsy, etc and provides support and liaise with social services.


These provide short breaks and respite care for CYP of special needs and/or with challenging behaviours and learning difficuties in Barnet. For example, the horesriding sessions, holiday support schemes. They wish to extend their services over the next few years.

VOICE Ability

This was a new organisation that I hadn’t heard of before. It provides and advocacy for young people with disabilities (0 to 25). This organisation works with children especially at annual reviews. This Service is free and requires a self referral and is very powerful for a young person.

YASS Run by Christine Marchesi

Provides Parent support group and regular support and networking opportunities for parents/carers. YASS lobbies for better services. I can aslo tell you that Christine has provided unprecented advice to me to help me in a tricky situation with my son’s support.

Or just visit the London Borough of Barnet Website for any information about some of the Services offered.

Overall, this was very informative event for myself as a parent/carer of a child with complex needs and special educational needs.

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