COVID-19 update (9/10/2020) – Please note, all face to face meetings and events are currently postponed due to the ongoing pandemic. As always, follow the official guidance from and NHS England for current restrictions etc for your area.


UPDATE October 2020 – Face to face meetings and events are still on hold due to the ongoing pandemic and local restrictions in place.

 The Forum is continuing to work from home whilst looking after our own SEND children and young people, and are in regular contact with our fellow parent carers regionally and nationally, who continue to feed back to government ministers.  The Forum is attending various meetings via Teams and Zoom, with our partners in education, health and social care.

We will be adding useful links to a dedicated page HERE

Stay safe and well, but don’t be alone – reach out to friends and family, whether it be phone calls, text messages, face time or Facebook.
please don’t hesitate to contact us if you think we may be able to help in any way.

Welcome to Sunderland Parent Carer Forum

We are a parent led, voluntary group of parents, carers and grandparents of children and young people (CYP) aged 0-25 with SEND (special educational needs and disabilities);  our CYP have a variety of SEND.


Our aim is to give parent carers a voice in how services for CYP with SEND are shaped and delivered in the City of Sunderland, as well as an opportunity to come together and talk in a relaxed atmosphere.


We do this by organising events, coffee mornings, information sessions and training events.  Our parent reps attend meetings with various organisations in health, education and social care, as well as local charity groups.


SPCF are one of 152 parent carer forums in England who are members of the National Network of Parent Carer Forums; the NNPCF has 9 regions, and we are part of the North East & Cumbria Region PCFs.


Our parent reps attend regular regional meetings, and currently our Chair is co-chair of the National Network, and regularly attends meetings in London.  Parent reps also get the opportunity to attend regional and national conferences.


This means that the voice of parent carers in Sunderland help influence services for children and young people with SEND locally, regionally and nationally!

FAQs & Mythbuster.

Who do we work for?

No-one! We represent parent carers but are entirely independent of any statutory organisation. We are all volunteers.

Are we paid by the local council?

No, we receive a grant from the DfE (Department for Education) for parent participation (More about participation later!)

Are we just another support group?

No, we are a participation group but we will try and signpost you to a support group.

Are we a campaign group?

No, but we acknowledge the important role that campaign groups have in helping to get the parent voice heard. At the forum we are happy to work with campaign groups by providing them information and feeding back the issues they raise.

So what do we do then?

We promote parent voice through participation and co-production. We sit on working groups and attend meetings with statutory organisations. We run coffee mornings and events such as the SEND Information Day; these give families the opportunity to get together, see what help is out there and feedback their experiences. We can also provide information and training to parent carers.

What can I do, I’m just a mam/dad/grandparent?

YOU can do a lot! YOU are an expert in your child, YOU know what they need. Join us at one of our coffee mornings and add your voice and experiences. You can be involved as much or as little as you feel comfortable with.

What is Co-production & Parent Participation?

Parent carer participation is when parents and professionals work together, recognising each other’s expert knowledge, to design, develop and improve services for disabled children in the local area.

Contact (formerly Contact A Family) has some good resources around parent participation for anyone wanting more information on what this means.  You can also visit HERE to see who we have participated with over the years.


Co-production – Parents & professionals working jointly together to develop, decide, design & do as equal partners.


Participation – Parents & professionals working in groups to decide what should happen to shape services.


Consultation – Parents are given options and the professionals decide what happens


Information – Parents Carers are provided with information from or about the service providers.


No engagement – Parents do not have a working relationship with service providers and/or don’t know who to contact

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