We have been jointly commissioned with Kids by the Department for Education to deliver a national participation programme with disabled children and young people, and children and young people with SEN.

FLARE members gather in a circle to share their ideas.

Making Participation Work includes a young people's advisory group, FLARE, which is formed of twelve 13-25 year-olds with SEND from around the country, to advise, challenge and support the government about how the SEND reforms would affect disabled children and young people directly.

Following on from EPIC, which advised the government on the content of the SEND reforms,  the group has named themselves FLARE (Friendship, Learning, Achieve, Reach and Empower) and come together at regular times during the year to discuss how key aspects of SEND reform policy directly impacts disabled children and young people and their Hot Topics. You can also read a report of a recent meeting here.

FLARE members are passionate about ensuring disabled children and young people have an equal say in the policies and practices that affect them and their families. FLARE and our other young people involved in regional groups within the programme play a key role in ensuring the voice and experiences of disabled children and young people are fully included in this work.

Click here to meet the FLARE members.


Flare Blogs

To that end, we regularly ask our FLARE participants to write blogs for us on a variety of subjects. For ease of access, these are all collated below:

Work experience should be for everyone

This week, Amba talks about the benefits that work experience has given her. 

Meeting the Minister

Daniel writes about the meeting that FLARE had with Nadhim Zahawi, and why giving children and young people opportunities to talk directly to policy-makers is so important.

"Hello?" Disability representation in the media

Carys discusses the importance of portraying disabled in a positive light, and having disabled actors in roles which do not focus on their disability.


Surviving loneliness and other sad times

FLARE member Meg shares some of her strategies for coping with and combatting loneliness.

All ages, all abilities, all ready and willing to be heard

Carys, one of the members of FLARE, writes about her experience co-chairing and co-facilitating the Making Participation Work Children and Young People's Conference.

It was a great turnout with over 60 children and young people

Amba from FLARE talks about her experience co-facilitating at the Making Participation Work Children and Young People's Conference.

My school gives me exactly what I need

FLARE member Zach vlogs about the benefits that his special school brings him, and challenges the assumption that going to a special school limits a child's choices.

Respect people's opinions to build their self-esteem

Alisha from FLARE talks about the importance of respecting children and young people's views and opinions, and how this can affect their self-esteem.

Hey, aren't I the most important person here?

Hannah M, a member of FLARE, writes about her worries after her final transition meeting.

Transition to Uni - Getting It Right

FLARE member Amba writes about the challenges facing young people with SEND starting university, and how they can be supported.

My autism is part of me, but it does not define me

Alisha, one of the FLARE group, writes on the impact that labelling young people with autism can have.

Inclusive education is the best education

FLARE member Hannah Louise talks about the importance of school staff and students having positive attitudes towards disability.

How do you define yourself?

Our latest FLARE blog sees Carys discuss self-definition.

Good support is like a box

Amy from our FLARE group on support in schools.

Young people are capable of having a voice too

FLARE member Amba on her work experience being part of the Making Participation Work conference.

Changing the future for disabled young people

Megan from FLARE on how FLARE’s message could improve the future of so many young people with disabilities.

Supporting young people to reach their full potential

Daniel from FLARE talks about how university students often go without EHC plans.

Navigating the transition to adult services

Katy from EPIC, FLARE's predecessor group, on the tricky transition from children's to adult services at sixteen.

Making Myself Heard

FLARE member Hannah explains what she took away from the Making Participation Work conference.