Inclusion ( SEN )

Skip to main content
29th September 20

Partnerships with parents/carers

Working with Parents.


Partnership with parents plays a key role in promoting a culture of co-operation between parents, schools, LAs and others. This is important in enabling children and young people with SEN to achieve their potential.  They hold key information and have a critical role to play in their children’s education.


Parents have unique strengths, knowledge and experience to contribute to the shared view of a child’s needs and the best ways of supporting them. It is therefore essential that all professionals (schools, LEAs and other agencies) actively seek to work with parents and value the contribution they make.  The work of professionals can be more effective when parents are involved and account is taken of their wishes, feelings and perspectives on their children’s development. This is particularly so when a child has special educational needs. All parents of children with special educational needs should be treated as partners. They should be supported so as to be able and empowered to:


  • recognise and fulfil their responsibilities as parents and play an active and valued role in their children’s education
  • have knowledge of their child’s entitlement within the SEN framework
  • make their views known about how their child is educated
  • have access to information, advice and support during assessment and any related decision-making processes about special educational provision.


These partnerships can be challenging, requiring positive attitudes by all, and in some circumstances additional support and encouragement for parents.


Section 2 of the SEN Code of Practice has further information on the role of parents including:


  • Defining parental responsibility
  • Key principles in communicating and working in partnership with parents
  • Schools working in partnership with parents
  • Supporting parents during statutory assessment
  • LEAs working in partnership with parents
  • Working in partnership with the voluntary sector
  • Parent partnership services
  • Preventing and resolving disagreements
  • Roles and responsibilities


To access the SEN Code of Practice click HERE


Parent Partnership Services

All local authorities (LAs) have a duty to provide information, advice and support to parents of children with SEN. This should be provided by dedicated staff working separately from the LA's SEN team so you are assured that the advice and information is impartial, and that the people you are receiving it from are not involved in the SEN decision making process.


Some parent partnership services are based in the voluntary sector but most remain within the LA. Most services also offer access to Independent Parental Supporters (IPSs) who are volunteers trained to provide individual support to parents.  Parents should:

·                     Contact their local council

·                     Contact National Parent Partnership Network


What Parent Partnerships do.


Most parent partnership services should offer:

·                     access to a confidential telephone helpline

·                     impartial information and advice around SEN issues

·                     support in preparing for and attending meetings

·                     help in filling in forms and writing letters/reports

·                     initial support in resolving disagreements with the child’s school and the LA

·                     contact details for other statutory and voluntary services

·                     links to local parent support groups and forums

·                     the chance to submit parents' views, which will help inform and influence local policy and practice

·                     training opportunities


Schools and LAs should have details of the local service. This information can also be found through the National Parent Partnership Network (NPPN).