Where can I get help?

Parents are experts regarding their child but, sometimes, even experts need a bit of help!

Cutting through local authority rhetoric and distinguishing between the law and local authority policies is not easy but the law must be your starting point. Here are some useful sources of information and advice to get you started (lawyers are listed separately here):

  • SEN COP, SEN COP, the special educational needs code of practice, provides statutory guidance to schools and local authorities on the SEN system. The fact that this is statutory guidance means it must be followed unless there is a very good reason for departing from it 

    • IPSEA IPSEA is a national charity providing free legally based advice to families who have children with special educational needs. All our advice is given by trained volunteers. It has a freephone helpline. Its advice line 0800 018 4016 is open Monday to Thursday from 10am to 4pm and from 7pm to 9pm. It is also open on Fridays between 10am to 4pm. You can also access a telephone appointment via their website.
    • IPSEA have also produced a really helpful list of leaflets dealing with common problems and how to take action on them
    • SOS-SEN offer a free, friendly, independent and confidential telephone helpline for parents and others looking for information and advice on Special Educational Needs (SEN). Its telephone line 020 8538 3731 is available every weekday between 9:30am and 12:30 and between 2:00 and 5:00pm.

      • Contact a family Contact a Family is the only national charity that exists to support the families of disabled children whatever their condition or disability. Advice on SEN is available through their helpline 0808 808 3555 from Monday to Friday between 9.30am to 5pm.

        • Parent Partnership Parent Partnership Services offer advice and support to parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs (SEN). Concerns are expressed by some parents about the independence and impartiality of some services which vary from area to area. Some parents report that PP services may provide advice which appears to be based on LA policies or priorities rather than the law. To find details of your local service call 0207 843 6058

          • Dyslexia Action Dyslexia Action is a national charity that takes action to change the lives of people with dyslexia and literacy difficulties. Dyslexia Action operate through 26 main centres and a network of teaching outposts and units. For more details see the website here

              • David Wolfe QC, a leading education law barrister, has prepared this excellent summary of the law on SEN David also

              • I CAN is the children’s communication charity. I CAN’s mission is to ensure that no child who struggles to communicate is left out or left behind.  I CAN helps parents and practitioners providing information and resources by phone or email through the I CAN Help Enquiry Service, online via the Talking Point website and in person through multi-disciplinary speech and language assessments for children. It also has factsheets on its website.Call 020 7843 2544 to arrange a free phone call from one of our speech and language therapists through the I CAN Help Enquiry Service or email your questions to help@ican.org.uk

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