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Settings, parents and carers for education- SPACE Forum

The newly named SPACE Forum brings together parent carers of children and young people with SEND and professionals from around the borough to collaborate, share experiences and ideas, and foster a supportive community for those involved in SEND.

All parent carers and educational settings within North East Lincolnshire are welcome to join these sessions.

The SPACE Forum builds on the work of the Autism in Schools Project, a programme of work our Local Authority successfully bid for to to progress our offer, and improve the understanding of neurodiversity from both parents and professionals.

Upcoming dates

Grimsby Town Hall

  • June 11 2024: Topic to be confirmed
  • July 9 2024: Pop-up event

What happened at our previous forums?


  • Parent carers and practitioners from early years, primary, secondary and post 16 settings all attended, which is valuable moving forward in working together.
  • Nicola Chappel gave a brief overview about the Solihull Approach programme, which is available in NEL. She is asking for some parent carers to take a look at the ‘Understanding your child with additional needs’ specialist course and share their thoughts, views about the course and whether they feel it would be beneficial for our local families to access. Please let us know if you would be interested in joining us for the session, which will be a Wednesday afternoon after the Easter holidays; date and venue to be confirmed.
  • We supported Neurodiversity Celebration Week by hosting a training session
  • ‘Handling Meetings’ which was delivered by CONTACT at the SPACE Forum. Questions flowed throughout and some good discussions were had by all Forum members. Please note, the slides for the session can only be shared with those who attended the session.
  • SPACE Forum has its own page on the Local Offer where we will be adding some resources and updates NELC SEND Local Offer- SPACE
  • Amazing discussions were had at the Forum and it was fabulous to have some new members attend.

At the event there was a great turnout of 15 parent carers and 24 practitioners.

All attendees were asked to suggest themes and topics for future Forums and how they would like the Forum to be shaped moving forward.

There were attendees from Early Years through to Post 16 settings. The varied interest of individuals from every setting will provide a valuable range of views and experiences going forward.

Karen Hoe from Autism Central gave an overview of her role and the training and support parent carers can access. The NELPCF introduced themselves and how they can support not only parent carers but also settings. Jack a speaker who shares his experience as an individual living with Autism introduced himself and will be the guest speaker at the Forum on the Tuesday 9 February 2024.

Questions asked included:

  • “Parent information on Disability Living Allowance, support completing applications, and how it can be used.”
  • “Can we have a one-stop-shop for NEL Early Years providers including private, voluntary and independent settings.”
    • We are planning a pop-up event on 9 July this year, the last SPACE Forum for the academic year.
  • “Parent carers would like guidance for when they feel settings aren’t listening to concerns; what to do, where to go, and the SEND Code of practice.”
    • A ‘handling meetings’ workshop has been planned for the 19 March at the SPACE Forum, flyer will follow shortly.

Read more: NELC SEND Local Offer | SPACE Forum takes off – NELC SEND Local Offer (

The Forum was led by Abi Fleming and Nicola Chappel and the following subjects were discussed:

  • The “Understanding Myself Programme” was discussed and shared with parent carers and practitioners present. We gave an overview of all 6 sessions to give them an insight of the programme and share with them the strategies and resources included in the programme that may help to support their child or young person at home too.
  • The forum is the only one within NEL that consists of parent carers and settings; therefore, the name should reflect this. The name that was chosen is ‘Settings, Parents and Carers for Education’ better known as SPACE Forum.
  • Three logos have been designed for the SPACE Forums and the logo with the highest number of votes was selected.
  • Moving forward, the forum will open to all education settings within the Local Authority not limited to the schools that took part in the Autism in Schools project.
  • Future planning and ideas were shared for the academic year 2023-2024.
  • It was shared with the forum that the SPACE Forums are now open to all parent carers and educational settings in North East Lincolnshire.
  • 7 parents/carers attended, 1 practitioner attended and 4 apologies were sent.   
  •  There were open discussions throughout the Forum.
  •  Questions were encouraged during the session. 
  • Abi Fleming shared that she now is a part of the SENDIASS team as their Parent Engagement Champion.
  • Young Minds Matter (YMM) and Access Pathway teams have been transferred to NAViGO, who were appointed as the new provider of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in April 2023. The pathway will be integrated with the current Young Minds Matter specialist assessment team which will allow for improved collaboration between care teams. This will create a single point of access to a Neurodevelopmental Assessment Team for the referral and specialist assessment of neurodevelopmental disorders for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Please join us for the opportunity to meet representatives of the NAVIGO/YMM and Access Pathway Team. They will be joining us at the SPACE Forum on Tuesday 21st November to introduce and discuss the new referral form for neurodevelopmental assessments (ASD and ADHD) in the North East Lincolnshire area. If you would like to join us please use the QR Code below to secure your place:
  • The topic for the next forum on the 21st of November was explained in more detail. It was explained that due to the capacity of the room we are restricted to number of attendees and therefore it is important to register to be able to attend this particular Forum. We must stress that if a place hasn’t been allocated to you will be will not be able to attend the session.

Question & Answer Section:

At the last SPACE Forum we received the following question regarding the Littlecoates Primary School Audit/Action Plan :

Has the Launchpad unit involved in the audit process? If so, it would be useful to see the statistics for the school itself as a separate entity, without the inclusion of the unit and its staff.

Answer from Vicky McGuire (Autism Education Trust/Cambridge Park Academy) who completed the school audits:

Launchpad was not part of the original AIS project. It was the primary school. However, as Kate was the AIS champion, Launchpad now benefits from her expertise that has been enhanced by hers and the school’s participation. 

We look forward to continuing our partnership and working together.

Feedback from Parent Carers and Practitioners:

Partnerships for Inclusion of Neurodiversity in Schools (PINS)

We would like to invite a select number of primary academies in North East Lincolnshire (NEL) to be part of the Partnerships for Inclusion of Neurodiversity in Schools project (PINS). Partnerships for Inclusion of Neurodiversity in Schools (PINS) will bring health and education specialists and expert parent carers into mainstream primary settings.

NELC SEND Local Offer | Partnerships for Inclusion of Neurodiversity in Schools (PINS) – NELC SEND Local Offer (


Parent carers have recommended useful resources for others to benefit from.

See what they recommended: Autism and neurodiversity resources

Autism in Schools

The SPACE Forum builds on the work of the Autism in Schools Project, a programme of work our Local Authority successfully bid for to to progress our offer, and improve the understanding of neurodiversity from both parents and professionals. Engagement was central to this work and the Autism in Schools Parents Supporting Parents Forum was one the most successful parts of the project.

Learn more about the project through these videos.