Category: National Children's Bureau

Posted on 21.03.2023

The National Children’s Bureau, one of the four Childlife charities, recently brought together more than 100 children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to take part in their annual Youth Voice Matters conference.

The national conference is co-developed and co-delivered by FLARE, the young SEND advisors to the Department of Education. The event, delivered as part of the Making Participation Work programme, provided attendees with the opportunity to build on their participation skills, develop their voice and feel empowered to participate in decision making at a local, national and strategic level.

At the start of the conference attendees watched a video by the Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing, Claire Coutinho MP who said: “To support a culture of inclusion, we need to deliver improved mainstream provision with prompt access to targeted support where it’s needed.”

Young people had to option to take part in workshops throughout the day which covered a variety of important topics. FLARE members Carys, Louise, Pavan and Jonathan and NCB Trustee Bethan, delivered a workshop around using social media for advocacy. Participants learnt about the different social media platforms available, the impact young people can have online and how to create accessible and engaging content.

Bethan said: “I have had the best day hearing from [children and young people] across the country on issues that affect them. I’ve loved working alongside the most amazing self-advocates and I even spoke to the Department for Education!”

In a separate workshop, FLARE members Jacob, Rowan and Sam led sessions on how to get the right education support, where participants were taught about their rights and discussed the best ways to overcome challenges in their education.

Young Minds spoke with attendees about the importance of looking after their mental health and Council for Disabled Children delivered an interactive session on the future of the SEND and Alternative Provision system.

In between workshops, children and young people had to opportunity to make friends, take selfies in the photo booth and take part in news-style interviews with young roaming reporters Jacob and Sam.

One young person said of the day: “I have an amazing day sharing issues SEND people face on a daily basis so thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my voice.”

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