Not all local authorities fully appreciate the value of Parent Partnership Services (PPSs), according to new research(1). Some authorities are not convinced about the use of the service in enhancing outcomes for pupils with special educational needs.

Designed to ensure that parents and carers have access to information, advice and guidance on SEN to allow them to make informed decisions, PPSs were made statutory by the SEN and Disability Act in 2001. Many SENCOs have developed contacts with local PPSs in relation to pupils requiring assessment for statements.

This study on behalf of the DfES observes wide variations between services and highlights issues concerning funding, staffing and monitoring that limit the extent to which PPSs are effective. Schools and local authorities place different emphasis on three agendas for SEN, inclusion and standard raising and there will remain a consequent lack of consensus about the role and value of PPS.

However, in response to Every Child Matters, there is potential for PPS to extend their remit to pupils not specifically identified as having special educational needs, as part of an inclusion agenda that is characterised by early identification and intervention.

1. Evaluation of the Special Educational Needs Parent Partnership Service in England.