Sheffield Parent Carer Forum's survey asked many of the same questions as a survey they ran in 2014, and has revealed that many parents feel their situation has become worse over the last 5 years.
Sheffield Parent Carer Forum have summarised some of the key findings as follows:
- More families report that they feel isolated and are struggling to cope. More parents say that they are not getting enough support from social care services.
- Key services for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are stretched ever more thinly. For some services, as many as 90% of parents are now saying that their child is getting “too little” input. It is likely that capacity issues in NHS services are impacting on the time it takes to get an assessment – many families had to wait for over a year, and some for two or three years.
- Three quarters of the children in our sample were affected by anxiety and/or depression, yet parents report great difficulties in accessing mental health services.
- Education Health and Care (EHC) plans are not working as intended. These plans were meant to create a more holistic and person-centred approach to meeting the needs of the most complex children – yet most parents described the process of applying for an EHC plan as difficult. Parents also expressed concerns about the quality of plans, particularly for statement-to-EHCP conversions. Quality issues could be addressed through the annual review process; however, our survey found that this process is often non-compliant with statutory requirements. And even the best-written plans are of limited use if they are not being properly implemented – which our survey found to be a widespread problem.
- Children with SEND in mainstream settings are bearing the brunt of many years of real-terms funding cuts. In 2014, almost half of all parents of mainstream pupils thought that their child’s needs were being met by their child’s school; in 2019, this had fallen to just a quarter.
You can read the full report, or an executive summary, on the Sheffield Parent Carer Forum's website: