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Children and Disability: Local and National Perspectives

9:00am - 3:45pm / Friday 31st January 2020
Type: Conference / Category: Research
  • Admission: Free event, please register for catering purposes.
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Conference Outline
The provision of services for children and young people with disabilities has been radically overhauled. The Children and Families Act 2014 aimed to restructure both the ethos and nature of the delivery of children’s educational, health and social care needs. However, the practical translation of these changes for children and young people with disabilities and their families into accessible realities, has not been a smooth process. The recent publication of the House of Commons Education Committee Report on Special educational needs and disabilities in October 2019 highlights this. In painting a picture of a system characterised by a lack of accountability, inadequate service provision, overly bureaucratic systems and instances of illegal behaviour, the report highlights the many issues which confront and undermine children’s services. Such evidence also strikes right at the heart of the stated aims and purpose of the legislation itself and demands further scrutiny of the manner in which children and young people’s rights are being upheld and delivered.
This one-day conference brings together a wide number of academics, NGO organisations, parent representative groups and Liverpool City Council to examine and understand the provision of services for children and young people with disabilities. The conference will provide an opportunity for researchers at the University of Liverpool to formally disseminate the findings of a pilot study carried out into the provision of services for disabled children in the Merseyside area which will be followed by a response by Liverpool City Council. Following on from this, the conference will explore the broader national context and explore how children and young people with disabilities, and their families, can better navigate a complex system, and have their rights upheld and secured. The conference will also include a “Know Your Rights” session which will be aimed at breaking down the law into a clear and understandable format for the benefit of families, parents and guardians.
This conference will be of interest to a wide audience including academics, policy-makers, and activists in the field of children’s rights, disability studies, education law and policy and health law and policy. The conference will also appeal to parents, guardians and families with loved ones with disabilities who want to learn more about their rights and how to engage with the law in this area.
For any queries please contact

09.00-09.30 - Registration and Coffee
09.30-09.45 -Welcome and Introductions
09.45 – 11.15 - Local Perspectives: Chair: Dan Carden, MP
Dr. Amel Alghrani, Ms Deborah Tyfield & Mr. Seamus Byrne, (University of Liverpool)
Release of Key Findings From Liverpool Study
Mr. Steve Reddy, Director of Children’s Services, Liverpool City Council Formal Response to Findings
11.15-11.30 - Coffee Break
11.30-13.00 - National and Local Perspectives: Chair (TBC)
Professor Neville Harris (University of Manchester)
Dr. Craig Johnston (University of Winchester)
Ms. Colette Taylor (Merseyside Youth Association)
Ms. Vanda Reeves (Advanced Solutions Liverpool)
13.00 – 14.00 - Lunch
14.00 – 15.00 - Afternoon breakout sessions – “Know Your Rights”
1. School Exclusions and the Law
2. Obtaining an Educational, Health and Social Care Plan and challenging refusals.
3. Social Care Assessments
15.10 - 15.30 - Panel discussion and Q & A
The main themes form the breakout sessions will be summarised and broken-down. This will allow for a questions and answers session form the floor with the speakers.
15.30 - 15.45 Closing
Dr. Amel Alghrani, Ms Deborah Tyfield & Mr. Seamus Byrne (University of Liverpool)