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Parents and schools at inclusion conference

This year’s ISEND Inclusion Conference on 19 November broke new ground as it brought parents and school staff together to look at the theme “Working Together for Better Outcomes”.

All East Sussex schools were invited to book a place for their SENCO or head and one or two parents from their school to all attend together. It was inspiring to see the conference room at the Amex full of lively combinations of staff and parents from all over the county listening to the speakers, joining in the activities and thinking about how to put ideas into action back in their own schools.

Andy Cutting from the National Autistic Society talked about inclusion and exclusions, and why working in partnership is a vital aspect to including children with SEND. We heard about the priority that communication with parents has in the new East Sussex SEND Strategy. There was an activity led by Beth Armstrong from ISEND about getting communication right between school and parents based on powerful direct messages from parents. Thank you if you were one of the parents who responded to our survey to provide the parent feedback for this session as it made it real and relevant. Workshops and short presentations gave practical examples of good practice from schools and support services.

It was a good opportunity for parents from the new East Sussex Parent Carer Forum to let parents and schools know they are getting up and running. The stall was busy and plenty of parent carers and professionals signed up to hear more from the forum. Amaze took along information about SENDIASS and used the success story of Amazing Futures to get the delegates thinking about the value of peer support for young people and parents.

ISEND will be sharing the good practice and positive ideas from the conference so we will be sure to publicise this, but the most powerful impact of the day will be if the parents and SENCOs who came can go back, spread the conversation they started on the day with other staff and parents, and build on what they heard in real ways. The buzz on the day made us feel quite optimistic that this will happen.

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