We are a voluntary group of enthusiastic, committed parents and family carers in the London Borough of Barnet working with the local authority to ensure that the voices of our children young people and their families are heard
If you want to be involved in shaping services for our young people then please join us - the wider our representation the stronger our voice!
Barnet Parent Carer Forum is part of the National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) whose membership is made up of all Parent Carer Forums in England. NNPCF representatives, who are all parent carers, work with a broad range of organisations including Department of Education, Department of Health, Council for Disabled Children, British Academy of Childhood Disability and IPSEA.
To find out more go to www.nnpcf.org.uk
Barnet Parent Carer Forum Structure and Constitution
We are a constituted body
We aim for a broad membership of Parent carers to ensure a representation of age, gender, disability, ethnicity, type of education and parents’ skills and abilities. Our steering group meets every 6/8 weeks. If you are interested in joining us please contact us. By getting involved you can have a say in what matters to the child or young person in your family.
Why get involved?
You are the expert. If you are the parent of a child who has Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities, then you are an expert on the support and services that your child and their family need. Here is an opportunity for you to share this knowledge with others, including the professionals who make decisions that directly affect you.
You have insight. This is your chance to give local authority officers and other decision makers a unique insight into the impact of services on the lives of families with disabled children, and contributing to service development from the service users perspective.
Develop yourself. Other forums report that parents volunteering their time can have raised self- esteem and develop other skills and experience.
Meet Us - The Team
Teresa Bull – Chair
I am a mother to four children - my eldest son has profound and multiple learning difficulties and has recently moved to a residential setting. I worked for many years in the NHS before giving up work when my children were small to be a full time mum and carer. I am passionate about sporting opportunities and community integration for people with disabilities, and I am also a trustee of a local charity providing horse riding opportunities for children and adults with SEND.
I joined the BPCF when it was formed in November 2014 as I recognised the need for parents to be able to have input into the services their children receive. Over the years I have had support and inspiration from some fantastic parents as I came to terms with my son’s disability and, in my turn, I would like to support other parents. I believe that an organisation like BPCF is a great way to reach as many parent carers as possible and give them a voice to inform service providers of our children and young peoples’ needs. It should be recognised that we are the experts on our own children.
Cathy Goldin – Vice Chair
I have 5 children and my middle child, who lives at home, has profound and multiple learning difficulties. He went to Oakleigh and Mapledown Schools and now attends Barnet and Southgate College. I worked as a schoolteacher until he was born. I chair the Barnet SENDIASS Advisory Group and sit on the Barnet Joint Commissioning Work Stream committee. I have also been involved with the Short Breaks Co-Design and the Preparing for Adulthood Protocol groups and am a governor at Kisharon Special School and Menorah Primary School.
I joined the BPCF when it was formed, in 2014, as I believe it is vital that the voice of the parents of children with special needs and disabilities be heard. As it is parents who know their children’s needs best it is important that they can provide this input into local authorities.
Lisa Coffman - Treasurer and Co-ordinator
I am the treasurer of the Barnet Parent Carer Forum having become a member of the Steering Group in 2017.
I am the mother of 3 teenage girls, a corporate lawyer and a governor at The Henrietta Barnett School and Pavilion/Meadway, the Pupil Referral Unit in Barnet.
As well as ensuring that the Forum manages and spends its limited funds well I also sit on various workstream and leading edge groups in Barnet aiming to represent the views of parents/carers and families of children with ASD and mental health difficulties. It is vital that the views of all SEND families are heard, especially those who find it difficult to express their opinions.
Parents and Carers of children and young people with SEND have a great deal of knowledge and expertise and it is hugely important that this is used to inform and improve the decisions being taken by those who develop and provide services for them.
Simone Roberts - Steering Group Member, BPCF
Hi, I’m the parent of a teenager with complex needs. I joined the Barnet Parent Carer Forum last year as I was keen to provide constructive user feedback and to influence the shape of future health, education and social care services so they work better for Barnet’s SEN families. So far I’ve been involved in the CAMHS transformation project and I sit on the Autism Spectrum Condition and Mental Health working groups.
Navigating SEN services and getting the best outcomes for our loved ones can be difficult but it shouldn’t be. I want Barnet’s health and education professionals to really understand the challenges families face and the frustrations we feel when our children aren’t being served well by their services.
I believe if parent groups can establish an on-going dialogue with the strategic decision makers in Barnet then we can work in partnership to design services and processes that work better for all Barnet’s SEN families and we can also hold Barnet to account more effectively.
Jill Slotnick - Steering Group Member, BPCF
Prior to becoming a parent of a child with complex needs I owned and ran a
successful transatlantic design company in New York and London.
I am passionate about giving parents a positive voice having been Independent Parental Special Education Advice trained in SEND legalisation.
I first joined the steering committee of the BPCF in 2016 and have been a Governor at Young Epilepsy, Surrey since 2017. I hope that both my professional and personal experiences can help implement improvements for children and young people in Barnet.
Ayala Lerner - Steering Group Member, BPCF
I am the mother of two teenagers one with SEN who attends a SEN School. I have worked in a SEN school for 15 years and have gained so much from teaching there. The pupils have taught me to be patient and appreciative and to accept others.
I have learnt the importance of celebrating even the smallest achievements and the warmth and pure love of the children who I teach. Giving a voice to parents with SEN children and young adults is really important to me and I hope to continue to give back to society through my work with the Forum, my governing and my teaching.
Anna Petsas - Steering Group Member, BPCF
Hello, I’m mummy to 3 children and my eldest has Down’s Syndrome. I am a member of the Down’s syndrome leading edge group and have been involved in the generation of the combined care pathway for children with with Down’s Syndrome in Barnet. I am passionate about working with all members of the team around a child, from education to health, to ensure that each child receives the best possible input to allow them to reach their full potential.
I am also a doctor, working in the NHS as an anaesthetist and intensivist. I’ve experienced the health care service as both as a provider and user, and I’m acutely aware of the struggles on both sides. I feel passionately that we need to work together to create a more accessible, user friendly and cohesive support system for our children within the health service and beyond.
The BPCF is a unique and powerful forum that allows our voices to not only be heard, but listened to and considered. Through co-production and negotiation we can help to shape services to better suit the needs of our children.
Gita Mehmood - Steering Group Member, BPCF
I am the parent of a teenager with Autism Spectrum Condition and I joined the forum in order to help parents to have a voice in how and which services are delivered for disabled children. Like many others, I have been frustrated by how hard it is to get the support my child needs.
I urge other parents to join the BPCF as I truly believe that parents should be involved at every stage in decisions that are made by key professionals who are responsible for designing and delivering services that greatly affect our children,