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SEND Parent/ Carer Ambassadors

Our SEND Parent/ Carer Ambassadors started in 2020. The group consists of parent/ carers with children and young people with Special Educational Needs who live in the Bradford District area. Our SEND Parent/ carer Ambassadors expressed an interest in working with closely with Bradford Council and within the partnership to help us identify and address barriers for children and young people with SEND in the area. The group meet monthly either online or face to face and through supportive relationships and small group work they have been able to influence change within the district and ensure the parent/ carer voice is heard across the partnership.

Any SEND parent/ carers interested in joining the SEND Ambassadors can email SENDT&

Our parent ambassadors have been key in the following areas:

Supporting review of Local Offer information including the development of the One Minute Guides, ensuring parent/ carers are represented at SEND Strategic Partnership Board and SEND work streams, participating in short break consultations which helped see the development of a new short breaks team, contributing to the SEND Inspections, ensuring the Lived Experience of families is present in multiple coproduction projects. 

SEND Parent/ Carer Ambassador Objectives:

  • To support and enhance the work of the Parents Forum and other established Parent Groups in Bradford;
  • To help Bradford build a broader network of parental voice;
  • To support two-way communication and better understanding of the lived experiences of families with SEND;
  • To raise awareness of the Local Offer and support services for children and young people with SEND and their families.
  • To assist Bradford Council and it’s partners in improving services for all children and young people with SEND and their families;
  • To help inform the commissioning of services; and
  • To signpost other parents and carers to the Local Offer and SEND Services get the right support for their children to give them the best possible outcomes in life.  

Getting Involved:

If you would like to express an interest in becoming an ambassador then please send an email the SEND Transformation and Compliance team at

Philippa McCann – SEND Ambassador profile

Can you tell us a little bit about your family and yourself?

I'm Mama to Big Small age 10 and Small Small age 7, and wife to Ian. We are a neurodiverse family; three of us are Autistic and two of us have ADHD, and one of us is Dyslexic!

I am a Communications and Public Affairs specialist, having worked for several years in Westminster as parliamentary advisor to the Chief Executive of a government body. We relocated to Yorkshire in 2010 where I worked as Parliamentary Affairs and Crisis Communications Specialist until 2017 when I took a major career break to become carer for my children.

Having said that, I am busier now than ever! I do still work, but in a less intense and far more flexible family friendly role. I continue to be a daily navigator of SEND paperwork, the keeper of the family appointments diary, chef to small but incredibly critical diners who only eat a very limited menu, the family taxi driver, and every other role that busy parents fulfil.

I volunteer as a SEND Ambassador within BDMC. I am a trustee of the Parents Forum of Bradford and Airedale. I am a trained Sleep Practitioner, and I sit on a SEND Steering Board for The Sleep Charity, overlooking their Sleep Talker project.

Why did you join as a SEND Ambassador?

I found out about the role of SEND Ambassador through the Local Offer emails, which I in turn discovered through Bradford Council’s Covid-19 communications. I felt that I had a lot of opinions about SEND provision within Bradford but had never actually done anything about them. This seemed like an excellent opportunity!

What has been the highlight of your experience as a SEND Ambassador? And what changes in SEND Services are you pleased to hear about?

As a SEND Ambassador I have been given opportunities to voice those opinions in practical ways. I was invited to contribute directly to the Ofsted inspection which was a very interesting process, and I attend regular SEND meetings within Bradford Council and take every chance I can, to remind them who their customers are! I have also seen first-hand that there are good things happening, changes happening within SEND Transport will have a positive impact for families in 2023.

What advice would you give to other parent carers?

Try to build the best relationship you can with your SENDCo. This isn’t always easy, but if you can work together jointly to support your child, it will help you all in the future.

Robena Sheikh - SEND Ambassador profile

Can you tell us a little bit about your family and yourself?

I am a single mum of two children (22 and 17) and one of them is Usman (17) who has additional needs. My children lost their father when they were very young. It was the most challenging time for me to overcome the bereavement and look after my children all by myself. When Usman started school I could identify his differences and addressed them. Sad part was he was mis-diagnosed because of the trauma of losing his father and school thought he was delayed in his development due to the same reason.

I am a very passionate person. After losing my husband due to cancer I showed courage overcoming the loss and transformed my pain into power. I started doing voluntary works for the Marie Curie UK and tried to spread the cancer awareness programme. I also raised the profile for the hospice facilities to the South -Asian community in Bradford and started helping people affected by terminal illness and planning for their end of life as a part of the national campaign.

How did you hear about SEND ambassadors?

I have become more passionate about SEND since Usman got diagnosed with special needs. Once I attended one of the Bradford Council’s open houses and I was approached to be get involved for this great cause. I started my SEND ambassadors journey from that very moment.

Why did you join SEND Ambassadors?

I felt honoured when a member of Bradford council employees requested me to be a voice for other parents and become a SEND ambassador. I always feel its my responsibility to help other mums out there who have similar journeys with their SEND children. I love to share my experiences and help other parents in educating in their SEND issues.

What has been the highlight of your experience as a SEND Ambassador?

I believe I speak in public with confidence and that’s my strength of being a voice for the other parents’ carers and I feel proud when organisations/ people do listen to my opinions and make me feel valued. Currently I am helping to rewrite the SYGNET course. I am also involved in various other groups within Bradford Council i.e. Thinking Big, BST, Neuro-diverse tool group, Preparation for Adulthood (PFA), SEND Strategic Partnership Board (SSPB), Short Breaks Consultations, PFA prospectus etc. I sit on the West Yorkshire Autism and ADHD Deep Dive Forum. I have a vision of improving, informing and communicating and understanding and transforming education in mainstream schools of our SEND children program and families.

What changes in SEND Services are you pleased to hear about?

I have become part of various groups, and boards where I got the opportunities to see real changes within the CBMDC. I was invited to contribute directly to various consultations including short breaks, PFA prospectus, CYGNET courses and the changes in those services made me feel proud of my SEND ambassadors role.

What advice would you give to other parent/ carers?

I would like to advise all the parent carers to take their own initiative, do their research and pick up the phones if they are not sure about anything in the SEND process.

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The Bradford SEND Local Offer is a free and impartial service provided by Bradford Council. The information contained within the website is available for the purposes of identifying services and provision that are available to children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities. This information does not represent a recommendation or an endorsement of a Service or Provider and neither does the Bradford Council or its partners make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy of the information.

Anyone seeking to use or access a service or provision is responsible for undertaking their own checks to determine the suitability and fitness for purpose of that service and provision. Some providers will be registered and inspected by external agencies, such as Ofsted or the Care Quality Commission. Anyone working with children and young people will be required to have appropriate Disclosure and Barring Service Check (the replacement for the Criminal Record Check), safeguarding policies and insurance in place, which they should make available to you on request.