We are so sorry to have to tell you that Jo Nye, our brilliant vice chair, has made the decision to step down from her position at the forum. Jo has been the heart of ESPCF since it began and has worked, and continues to work, tirelessly for SEND families across East Sussex.
A comment made by Jo on social media, outside of ESPCF, and made as a parent carer, was challenged by East Sussex ISEND.
The forum is not in agreement with the challenge posed by ISEND and sought to have direct dialogue which was denied.
We are sad and disappointed that ISEND has not given us or Jo the opportunity to agree a fair and satisfactory resolution in order to avoid this outcome. We are urgently reviewing our policies to ensure that any parent carer working with ESPCF is safe, confident and able to express their personal views outside of the forum as they would usually do. At times, these views will be strong and therefore difficult to hear because they are borne out of immensely frustrating and challenging situations. It has become apparent that we do not presently have shared clarity with the local authority around this as an issue and this is why Jo has stepped back from her role. ESPCF is committed to representing the views and experiences of all parent carers in East Sussex.
“I have loved working as part of the team at ESPCF alongside such a dedicated and proactive team of parent carers who are inspiring, motivated and passionate about delivering better outcomes for families living with special educational needs and disabilities.
As parent carers, we all experience ongoing challenges with ensuring our children and young people receive the support they need. I have tried and succeeded in balancing my life as a parent carer, my role running a support group, and my position at the forum by committing to working professionally in coproduction with service providers. However, it has now become apparent that as vice chair of the forum I am unable to express my own experiences at any time in the way I wish.
I have always strived to influence positive change where possible and it is with much regret that I feel my position within the forum has become untenable. I will continue to contribute to the forum as a member.”
We want to place on record our huge gratitude to Jo for everything she has done for the forum, and for her invaluable support, guidance and friendship. Jo remains a member of ESPCF, but we are going to miss working with her so much.