Waltham Forest Parent Forum is the parent carer forum in the London Borough of Waltham Forest. We work with (not for) the local authority, health and social services to improve services for children and young people aged 0-25 with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and their families.

Communication is key to what we do. We listen to the experiences and wishes of families and make sure that those views are heard by those providing services, so that we can be part of every stage of planning and decision-making. Wherever possible, we aim to work in co-production. 

We are an independent, voluntary organisation, funded by the Department for Education and the London Borough of Waltham Forest.



  • To provide an opportunity to participate in joint decision making on services

  • To provide information to help increase knowledge of the SEND reforms and legislation

  • To improve and influence those services affecting these families

  • To provide emotional, practical and social support

  • To help reduce isolation and increase well-being

  • To provide training on topics suggested by our members



  • We are all parent carers of children and young people aged 0-25 with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND)

  • We believe that our members are uniquely placed to help improve the experiences of families like ours in education, health and social care services

  • We know at first- hand how stressful and isolating advocating for our children can be

  • We believe that every new member increases our ability to make things better for our families

Currently we have a Steering Group of 12 led by a Participation Director. Take a look at HERE.


  • Our representatives attend regular meetings and make sure that SEND is always considered in strategic planning

  • We take part in groups designed to complete a particular piece of work, such as revising a document or devising a diagnostic pathway

  • We organise questionnaires and surveys on specific topics to gather parent carers’ views so that we can present them where they can make a difference

  • We help partners to produce information that is clearly written and informative

  • We hold regular meetings with key managers to discuss future initiatives and raise issues that our members tell us need to be addressed

  • We hold events to find out what parent carers are most concerned about and how well systems are working for them

  • We attend other conferences and talks, schools and departmental meetings, so that we can spread the word about WFPF and hear from parent carers

  • We provide training events for families to help them in their caring role and to reduce isolation



Parent participation is at the heart of the forum. It happens when parent carers and professionals work together, recognising each other's knowledge, to make informed decisions about services that make the best use of resources.


Parent carers can pinpoint problems frequently experienced by families with disabled children. Effective parent participation happens when parents have conversations with and work alongside professionals, to co design, develop and improve services.


Working with parents and carers helps professionals to understand what needs to happen to develop services that meet families’ needs and helps parents and carers understand the complexity involved and the challenges faced by the professionals who must bring about that change.


Working together and sharing knowledge enables parents and professionals to find solutions that work.