To all parents affected by Cumbria Council's decision to reduce education to 3 days a week for all SEND students at further education colleges in Cumbria as from September 2018.
We at CPCF have made detailed representations to Dan Barton, Assistant Director at Cumbria Council, making it clear that we do not believe the council has acted in accordance with the government's statutory guidance, together with fully detailed reasons why. This was given to the council on 18th December 2017, and although trustees of CPCF have had meetings with Mr Barton, nearly two months have gone by without any written response from the council.
We have, therefore, written to Mr. Barton to request the council's written response by. In the event, we do not receive a written response from the council or receive a response that we consider to be inadequate or otherwise unacceptable, then the trustees of CPCF will meet to consider what action we will take.
At the present time, CPCF believes the council has not acted correctly on their new policy, and until the council justifies to us that they are not in breach of their legal requirements and are abiding by the government's statutory guidance, we will continue to take whatever action we can to protect the interests of our parent carer members and their children.
In the statutory guidance that the council has to comply with, it says in paragraph 1.13 parent carer forums (such as we are) represent local groups of parents and carers of children and young people with disabilities, and that we work alongside local authorities, education, health and other service providers to ensure the services they plan, commission, deliver and monitor meet the needs of children and families. The most important words are that we ensure bodies such as the local authority meet the needs of children and families, and that is what we need to ensure happens.
Hopefully, we will soon have some news for you about this council policy, be it good or bad.