Parents / Carers Support

Parent Support


Working in collaboration with parents and carers is crucial at Fordwater. We are always considering ways we can help families engage with each other as well as with the school and are open to any suggestions!

We hold half termly coffee and chat mornings where we provide the biscuits and you provide the chat! This is just for parents and carers and is not led by school staff. 
We also run a comprehensive schedule of workshops on a wide variety of topics from outside speakers, agencies and our own therapists and teachers.

There are many opportunities throughout the year to be part of the school community. We hold Harvest, Christmas and Easter celebrations; The PTFA organise Christmas, Easter and Sumer fayres; Departments organise a performance for parents and carers at different times of the year and we love a big traditional sports day in the summer term!

Teachers are very good at keeping in contact with families, through home school books, emails and phone calls, as well as face to face appointments and parent’s evening. 
We have an excellent team of therapists and also Gemma our school nurse who are on hand to give advice and listen to any concerns about your child.

The senior management team is always here for parents and carers and would like to help in any way they can. Your child’s happiness and wellbeing is our top priority, and we can only do the best for our pupils with an open and positive partnership between school and home.


West Sussex Parent Carer Forum is a community of parent carers who all have a child (aged 0-25 years) with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND). Our mission is to offer information, support and training. By sharing our experiences and knowledge, we aim to build your confidence as you navigate your own ‘special needs’ journey.

We believe that every single one of us can make a difference, and that is why we invite you to join us. We will help you to use your experiences in parenting and caring for a child with SEND to participate in shaping the services that we all benefit from. Your input will: 

  • Improve confidence that commissioned services meet the needs of children and young people with SEND
  • Bring a different perspective and challenge others’ thinking
  • Ensure that children and young people with SEND are valued and engaged.

We call this ‘co-production’.

Furthermore, we're here for you during all those tricky times, like when your child starts school, or moves to secondary school. We can also support you during their transition to adulthood and help you to navigate the various challenges that that part of their journey entails. 

To find out more, check out our website at, call us on 01903 726188, or drop us a line at


PACSO create play and social opportunities for children and young people with disabilities and their siblings, and provide respite for parents and carers in Chichester and Arun districts in West Sussex. We welcome children and young people of all ages (0-25) and we do not require a diagnosis. 

We will support every child or young person, no matter how complex or challenging their needs.

For more information, please contact us on 01243 533353 or visit
Registered Charity No. 1148138

Virtual PACSO Poster (.PDF file)



THINK18 was established in 2019 by Tessa Denison whose daughter Rosie attended Fordwater School. Tessa understands first hand how hard it is for young people with learning disabilities to socialise safely and to transition into adult life.   The THINK18 slogan is Make friends, have fun. THINK18 supports young adults (aged 16+) with learning disabilities to meet friends and engage in social activities in a safe supportive environment.  They run monthly social events alongside a programme of virtual workshops and events delivered via Zoom. 

THINK18 ‘SOCIAL EVENTS’ (on hold until lockdown restrictions are lifted)
THINK18 run a monthly social club with The halow project from three venues in Lavant, Petworth and Chichester (usually on Thursday evenings).  THINK18 also holds picnics, pub visits and other events where the whole family can join in and meet other families.   

THINK18 ‘AT HOME’ is a series of daytime and evening sessions delivered via the Zoom app.  These include Think Drama and Think Dance (in collaboration with Stagecoach Godalming), Think Art and Think18 virtual Social events.

They have proved enormously popular and have helped participants with confidence and communication.

Sessions will run all through the school holidays and in evenings once the schools go back in the autumn.  

THINK18 understand that consistency is a key element to any event they run and all their workshops/classes stick to a format that includes introductions, games and warm-up activities.

This quickly becomes familiar and when participants feel secure their confidence increases.  

Parent Listening was recently introduced as a much needed support session for parents and carers.   



Please get in touch with the THINK18 team who call you for an initial discussion before they send you the details of their zoom classes.

You will need to download the Zoom app onto your laptop, desktop or ipad and THINK18 will email you the link to join each class you sign up for. 


Please contact THINK18 and register your interest (see below for contact details).

You will need to provide your name and phone number and the name of your young adult.  THINK18 will then get in touch and find a convenient date for you both to attend a ‘getting to know you’ session either in person or online via Zoom.

THINK18 want to get to know your young adult, to chat about what they like and discuss any medical needs. THINK18 will then send you their Social events timetable.   
Please visit the THINK18 website for more information on how to participate.

Volunteering and Support

THINK18 welcome support in running events and fundraising.   Please visit their website or contact them for more information.


Instagram: think18charity 


Novio is a collaborative setting to setting network that aims to support 0-25 year olds with special educational needs and disabilities.

Support is provided through staff training and development and by sharing information and advice.
Novio is led by Fordwater and St. Anthony's School and operates within West Sussex Area A.

Novio is working closely with local schools and settings to gain a greater understanding of the special educational needs of 0-25 year olds in the area so that appropriate support can be offered.

The West Sussex SEND IAS Service is able to provide impartial advice and information to parents and carers of children who have special educational needs. 

They can be contacted via Email: or Helpline:
0330 222 8555 - Monday to Friday during office hours.

For further information for services that Novio can assist with please follow the link: