Our Journey

Genuine Partnerships and the Four Cornerstones (also known as the Rotherham Charter) has evolved from a unique partnership involving Rotherham Parent Carers Forum and Rotherham Borough Council. What is now known as the Four Cornerstones Approach developed from research involving Rotherham children and young people with special educational needs, and their parents and carers, highlighting the relationship between genuine parent carer involvement, emotional wellbeing, and positive outcomes for children and young people.

Parental involvement has a significant effect on children’s achievement and adjustment even after all other factors such as social class, maternal education and poverty have been taken out of the equation…
Desforges with Abouchaar 2003

At first funded by the Department for Education (DfE) as an innovative project following publication of the “Lamb Inquiry: Special Educational Needs and Parental Confidence” (2009), what followed has enabled genuine and exciting partnerships to flourish between services, parents and carers, schools, settings, children and young people.

The Genuine Partnerships way of working is recognised as best practice by national charity Contact. It underpins Rotherham’s SEND Strategy and contributes to Rotherham’s Preparing for Adulthood Strategic Board, making sure the voices of children, young people and their families are genuinely heard.

At Rotherham’s first ‘In It Together’ event in July 2014 keynote speaker and DfE advisor on Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Brian Lamb OBE talked with enthusiasm about the influence of the Rotherham Charter (the Four Cornerstones) on SEND legislation. The 2014 Children and Families Act and SEND Code of Practice emphasise how genuine partnership working is the most effective way to make outcomes better for children and young people with SEND aged 0-25, and their parents and carers.

The Genuine Partnerships team quickly recognised that the Cornerstones should be equally reflected in all our relationships; with children and young people, with their parents and carers, and with each other.

“The Four Cornerstones Approach developed by Genuine Partnerships is exceptional in leading the thinking of how to ensure that good co-production is embedded in schools, other settings and services. The insights have been developed and honed over a number of years and exemplify some of the best thinking in creating real working partnerships between parent carers, children and young people and practitioners. It is no surprise that this approach has been hugely influential locally, and adopted nationally, as it provides a comprehensive framework of values but also the tools to measure how well everyone is meeting those values and ensuring more appropriate services and better outcomes. For anyone who wants to ensure that real co-production happens, this is the approach to inform your thinking and practice.”
Brian Lamb OBE