Meeting seeks to put parents in the picture

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A meeting for parents of children with special needs is to be held at Sheffield’s Hilton Hotel on Wednesday – to discuss the possible impact of new Government legislation.

The event begins at 9.30am and runs until 3.30pm and includes a lunch.

A group of top speakers has been invited to talk about the Children and Families Act, which is due to come into force next April.

It proposes reforms of special needs education – but organisers of the meeting believe most parents are unaware of its implications.

Norman Perrin from the Paces Sheffield centre at High Green said significant changes were being proposed.

“We are really concerned that hundreds of parents simply don’t know what is coming.

“What could be more important to a parent than making sure that their child’s education needs are met by the local authority?

“There are opportunities for professionals to create partnerships with parents that could enhance the type of educational support available in South Yorkshire.”

The stated aims of the bill are to increase choice and control, to reduce bureaucracy and to improve outcomes for families, children and young people.

But a survey found that 50 per cent of parents had little or no knowledge of the changes.

Some parents’ groups have said they fear that the proposals will have a negative impact.

A second meeting at the same venue is planned for September 25 and is aimed at education and healthcare professionals.