DCR and WAND Parent Champions FAQs
FAQs for WAND Parent Champions
A) About the DCR and WAND card, or being a Parent Champion:
Q. What if I have a query about any of the services on offer that I cannot answer?
- Refer the parent to the THRIVE Online website for general queries such as ‘where can my child do swimming lessons’.
- For more complex queries or where a parent does not have access to the website, complete a Parent data collection form and pass it to Eleanor or Nazim to contact the person.
- Or phone or email us for a chat about the question: 020 8871 8907 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Q. What if I have a query or concern about my role as a Parent Champion?
- In the first instance, consider sharing your concern with an established Parent Champion who may be able to help you. Alternatively, email or speak Eleanor or, if it is a concern that you need to take higher, arrange a time to talk to Clare Devane, Head of Special Services Planning.
email@example.com: 020 8871 8907
firstname.lastname@example.org: 020 8871 8309
Q. When should I wear my Parent Champion ‘uniform’?
- Always carry your ID badge with you so that it is to hand to show people.
- The team is encouraged to wear the blue WAND sweatshirts when out and about on stands in shopping or leisure centres and for photo-opportunities, such as meeting the Mayor.
Q. I like to help, but sometimes worry that professionals or other colleagues have higher expectations of what I can manage.
- Occasional stretches can be good for us all. They take us out of our comfort zone and can be empowering. But don’t let taking on too much become a habit!
- Everyone is unique and will have their own levels of comfort around how much they want to do beyond the basic remit of an average 2.5 hours per week as a volunteer, during term time.
- If you feel demands on your time are getting out of hand, or you would like further training, ask for a review and better clarification about your role.
- Talk to the PC co-ordinator or the overarching manager.
Q. Sometimes a parent comes to me with so many issues that I feel overwhelmed.
- Just by listening and reflecting back what is said, you will be helping the person feel heard.
- But remember your brief: it is to help promote the WAND/WAND+ card and SEND Local Offer in Wandsworth and to raise awareness in the community about us.
- You are not expected to do or know everything.
- Ask the person ‘what is the biggest issue for you right now?’ and start from there – either by guiding them to the DCR/WAND/WAND+/Local Offer or signposting them to all the services available.
Q. What if a parent is anxious about ‘letting go’ and allowing the child/young person in their care to try out something new?
- Suggest visiting the setting and talking to other parents there first or trialling a session, with support from a supervisor there.
- As a Parent Champion, you are an ideal role model, but if your experience is very different, suggest another Parent Champion or someone else that they could relate to.
Q. How do I set boundaries around my Parent Champion work so that I don’t do too much outside my planned PC hours?
- Be clear to people when you’ve got your ‘PC hat’ on and when you do not.
- Remember the limits of your role and always refer the person to the THRIVE helpline or other services for wider support.
- Do not hand out your mobile number or share social media. Asks friends to bear this in mind and not to hand out your contact details to others.
- Check out our Top Ten Tips for Setting Boundaries on how to say 'no' sometimes.
Q. What if someone wants a WAND card who doesn’t yet receive DLA or is waiting for their application to be assessed?
- Explain that they are welcome to join the Disabled Children’s Register and to receive our newsletter and other communications.
- If they haven’t applied for DLA but you think they should qualify for DLA because their child’s needs are complex, you can refer them to Contact to do an assessment and help them complete a DLA form. Having DLA can open up other benefits such as Carers Allowance which may help them financially, so it is well worth getting.
- Once they receive a letter from DLA confirming receipt at middle or upper rate, they can apply to us for the WAND card.
- Supporting letter for those without DLA: Contact can also write a letter of support as an interim until the DLA letter arrives if they consider a child qualifies for a WAND card. Also, their GP or SENCO can write us a letter, as can a consultant treating them. However we cannot accept copies of hospital reports or statements as evidence unless they are addressed specifically to us with regard to the WAND card.
Q. What if a young person is too old to qualify for the WAND card?
- Although they won’t be placed on the Disabled Children’s Register, young people aged 18-24 can apply for the WAND+ card and will receive our newsletter too.
Q. I need more leaflets/envelopes.
- Please email Eleanor or Nazim if you need any more leaflets and can either pick them up from the office or at our next meeting or we can post them to you.
- Available to order:
- THRIVE ONLINE leaflets
- DCR/WAND membership forms and reply-paid envelopes
- WAND+ forms for 18-24 year-olds
- DCR leaflets
- WAND Map of the borough
- Posters for shops/clinics etc
- Money – leaflet promoting how people can get help via DLA/Carers Allowance etc
- DCR concertina cards (to fit in Oyster card holders)
- Business cards
Q. How can I order report-back forms?
As above, you can request copies of the following:
- Business sign-up forms
- Outreach forms
- Individual customer query forms
Q. When should I send in report-back forms?
- Please return any completed forms asap if an individual needs help from THRIVE ONLINE. Hand in at the monthly meetings, or post report-back forms from businesses or group visits to us in the reply-paid envelopes at the end of each month. Never keep personal details of clients for data protection. Always pass these to the team as soon as possible.
Q. Do I need to do a report back form for each setting visited?
- Please complete a group report back form for each setting or group meeting you hold. This is important, so that we can record the number of parents/carers you have spoken to.
- You do not need to do a detailed report back form for every individual you talk to, unless they require information us, in which case please forward to us immediately in a reply-paid envelope.
NB: It is essential that data regarding individuals is either passed to us or disposed of securely to conform with the latest data protection guidelines.
Q. How will DCR know which membership forms come from which Parent Champion?
- Mark all your forms with ‘PC’ and your own initials in top corner where it says ‘for office use only’.
- We will keep a record of whose initials are on each form.
Q. What areas of the borough should I be covering?
- Get to know your own town centre and surrounding streets when it comes to visiting GP surgeries, dentists, clinics, local shops etc. For bigger events, we circulate info to all Parent Champions and try to share requests at events according to who is available at the time.
Q. How do we avoid duplication of visits?
- In the main, please keep to your local area of the borough and liaise with colleagues in your area to avoid duplicating visits. Please update us on any visits you have organised locally by email so that we avoid duplication of effort.
Q. What freebies have we got that we can give away?
- Currently we have post-it notes and pens. Please ask if you would like some to give away to people you talk to.
Q. Can I have a bag for carrying information?
- You should have received a THRIVE ONLINE bag at the first training session and another containing your starter-pack of info. However, if you need one, please contact Eleanor or Nazim.
Q. How should we approach businesses about the WAND card?
- If you know a local business that you think might be interested, have a chat with the manager and take down his/her name for follow-up with more details from Lucia. We also have a single sheet of information for businesses interested in supporting the scheme that you can get from us.
Q. What if someone I talk to expresses interest in becoming a Parent Champion?
- Ask them to contact Eleanor for an application form or complete a parent report form with their details and pass it back to us.
B) Frequently asked queries about support services for families
As a Parent Champion, your role is to help with queries about the DCR and WAND/WAND+ card – you are not expected to be an expert on everything and if in any doubt, ask us! However, here are the more common questions, with suggestions on where else to signpost people to:
Q. Where can I guide a parent who has a child under five who may have a special need or disability or who has recently been diagnosed with SEND?
- Give them a copy of the WAND Map listing sources of support on side 2 and refer them to the Early Years section: Encourage them to visit their nearest Children’s Centre where specialist staff should be able to pick up on their needs, or refer them to the Early Years Centre or the Enhanced Children’s Centre for more support.
Q. What offers are availble to someone whose child is over 18?
- The WAND+ card is availble for young people 18 to 24 years old with special educational needs, disabilities or complex health needs.
Q. I know a parent who is struggling due to their situation and needs a helping hand.
- Always check if they have spoken to their GP about the situation. Their GP should be made aware that the parent is a carer of a child with SEND.
- CONTACT run a wide range of activities to support parents of children with SEND and can also help with completing forms for DLA (details on WAND map and on THRIVE ONLINE).
- Wandsworth Carers Centre (details on the WAND map and on THRIVE ONLINE) offer support to carers of young people and also those with adult dependents (or both) to help them cope with their caring needs.
- Home Start (details on THRIVE ONLINE) provides volunteers who will meet weekly over several months with families where there is a child under the age of 5 in the family (it does not need to be the one with SEND).
Q. Where should I send someone to get help with housing advice?
- Housing, especially that which is suitable for growing families, is in very short supply in the borough of Wandsworth, as in all of London. For this reason, exercise extreme caution about raising any expectations when it comes to finding family-sized accommodation in the borough. There are sources of information, but these don’t necessarily translate into provision:
- THRIVE ONLINE lists a number of sources of information if you look up ‘housing advice’ on the search engine: the key one, in terms of local housing availability and procedures for applying, being the Council’s Housing Options Team who provide housing advice and assistance to homeless people, residents in social and private housing; and landlords in the private sector.
- Contact can help with applying for DLA and other benefits and will also advise on housing issues.
- Shelter is a national housing charity that works to alleviate the distress caused by homelessness and bad housing. They give advice, information and advocacy services to people in housing need.
Q. Who should I suggest the parent talk to if their child is having trouble with the law or police?
- The Citizen's Advice Bureau can point you to understanding legal services.
- Coram offers its own Child Law Advice Service (CLAS). For more details see their website: https://childlawadvice.org.uk/
Q. What can a parent do if their child fails entry to college?
- If the child has a Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) they should approach their Case Manager.
- Otherwise, support can be found at Wandsworth Information, Advice and Support Service (WIASS).
Q. What if a parent is unhappy with their school or how well teachers are meeting a child with SENDs needs?
- All maintained schools must have a published Complaints Procedure outlining the steps to be taken in the case of a complaint. Parents/carers are entitled to ask for a copy for the relevant complaints policy or check the school website for details. There are several stages to escalating a concern and it is advisable to follow each step in turn and to date your communications:
- Express concern to staff member (informal)
- if that does not solve the issue promptly, then:
- Complain to head teacher (formal written/email complaint)
- Complain to the Chair of the Governing Body (in writing/email)
- Complain to Governing Body Appeal Panel
- Each school may have a different procedure for complaints but it is very common for an initial complaint to be made in writing to the head teacher of the school. It is also good practice to send a copy of the complaint to the Chair of Governors.
The complaint will then be addressed either through correspondence or through a meeting with the Chair of Governors depending on the school’s complaints procedure.
Governmental Advice recommends that the person investigating the complaint should investigate what has happened so far and who has been involved and clarify what needs to be resolved by meeting with the person making the complaint. The person investigating is recommended to keep a written record of any meetings in relation to the complaint as well as the progress and final outcome of the complaint.
There should be a reasonable timeframe for dealing with the complaint and the school should inform you of any deadlines and delays.
- The complaints system can be slow and complex, so it is good to persevere and follow up unanswered emails within a reasonable time to keep the concern high on the agenda.
- If a parent wants advice from a source outside of the school or if their complaint is still not satisfactorily dealt with, they can contact WIASS - the Wandsworth Information, Advice and Support Service (details on THRIVE ONLINE) regarding next steps or changing schools.
- IPSEA (Independent Parental Special Education Advice ) give legal training to WIASS and have an Advice Line and a Tribunal Helpline
- Further details, with more specific advice about different types of schools, plus possible further courses of action are available on the Child Law Advice website: https://childlawadvice.org.uk Child Law Advice is a part of the Coram group of charities. It has a free legal helpline and an email advice service. Full details of how to access this help is given on their website.
Who to contact
Wandsworth's team of DCR (The Disabled Children's Register), WAND and WAND+ Parent Champions are parents of children with WAND and WAND+ cards who want to let other parents know about Wandsworth's SEND Local Offer and how their family can access and benefit from the support, activities and advice available.
The Disabled Children's Register (DCR) the WAND and WAND+ Cards are initiatives by the the DCR, WAND and WAND+ Team, part of THRIVE Online and Special Services Planning in Wandsworth to identify, inform and assist children and young people in Wandsworth with disabilities and/or special educational needs.
- Local Offer Age Bands
Transitions to Adulthood (16+)
Secondary (11-16 years)
Primary (4-10 years)
Early Years (0-4 years)
Last updated: 12 Sep 2019