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MumsnetGuestPosts (MNHQ) Thu 11-Jun-15 12:54:05

Guest post: SEN and schools - "All children should have access to education"

It's Giving Week at MNHQ, and we're going to be hearing from each of the five charities chosen by you. Today, it's the turn of Independent Parental Special Education Advice (IPSEA), which helps children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities get the education they need. Do give what you can, and Mumsnet will match your donations to a total of £25,000.

Share this on Facebook, and tweet using the hashtag #MNGiving to help us spread the word.

Julia Hancock

Independent Parental Special Education Advice

Posted on: Thu 11-Jun-15 12:54:05

(7 comments )

Lead photo

"Thousands of families are having to fight for what their child is entitled to by law."

Independent Parental Special Education Advice (IPSEA) is a lifeline for families who have nowhere else to turn. We have first-hand experience of how tough it is when our children are suffering at school, and we use this experience, plus our legal-based expertise to change this by making education a right – for ALL children.

Almost one in five school children in England have some kind of special educational need and/or disability. That's almost 1.5 million children. You probably know some of them.

Getting the right education helps children to reach their full potential. It ensures their wellbeing and supports them to become active members of society. It improves their life chances. So getting the right education for children is a no-brainer, right?

And yet thousands of children and young people who happen to have SEND are not getting the education they need, and thousands of families are having to fight for what their child is entitled to by law.

Their struggle is pretty much invisible. The vast volumes of paperwork that families have to wade through are unseen. The complexity of the system goes unacknowledged. Professionals often ignore the fact that parents are experts when it comes to their child.

The vast volumes of paperwork that families have to wade through are unseen. The complexity of the system goes unacknowledged. Professionals often ignore the fact that parents are experts when it comes to their child.


Take Kieran. He has a visual impairment. He also has attention deficit disorder and dyslexia. As a result of his special educational needs, Kieran needs some extra help at school. As well as needing to be able to learn alongside his classmates, he also needs support to get from class to class. He needs assistance at break and lunch times too. The Local Authority said that Kieran only needed 14 hours of support each week but his mum knew this wasn't enough.

We're here to provide a unique blend of expertise and experience. Many of our volunteers and staff have children with SEND. We know exactly what the families we support are going through. In Kieran's case, we helped by providing a dedicated volunteer caseworker who agreed a plan of action with Kieran's Mum. She arranged a meeting with Local Authority and school staff to explain why Kieran needed more support, and before the meeting, she worked with Kieran's Mum to get all the reports, professional assessments and paperwork needed to support their case. Within a couple of weeks, the Local Authority agreed to provide Kieran with the level of support that his Mum knew he needed.

We've been providing this sort of help for 27 years. We focus on what works; using the law. We work tirelessly and study all the relevant legal documents in detail. We create free resources. We provide training. We transform lives.

Kieran is thriving at school now but there are still thousands of children and young people across the country who need IPSEA's support. Without it, the education system will fail them, and they many become angry, frustrated, upset and depressed. Children who are not getting the right help can develop severe behavioural problems. They may even become suicidal.

You can change this. You can show children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities that you care. You can help to shape a better future for some of the most distressed and disadvantaged children in England by supporting our work, and you can help us turn worrying mums (and dads, grandparents and carers) into warriors.

By Julia Hancock

Twitter: @IPSEAcharity

quirkychick Thu 11-Jun-15 14:59:10

Fantastic charity! My dd has ds and it can be so hard to get what she needs. We are lucky in that her school is very supportive, but preschool were clueless.

A lot of education professionals often just do not "get it" and so often the onus is on the parents to push for what is needed.

DrinkGirlsFeck Thu 11-Jun-15 17:26:31

You do amazing work. I received brilliant advice from you that enabled me to tell the school and specialist teaching service what I expected and what my son is entitled to, by law. I'm at the beginning of a long slog, but reliable, factual advice is a chink of light on some petty dark days.

Thank you.

I really appreciate the work IPSEA does too, I have only contacted them a couple of times by phone, but their volunteers were very helpful and I have found the information on their website invaluable while I have been going through the very difficult process of obtaining a statement.

Springtimemama Fri 12-Jun-15 10:35:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PolterGoose Fri 12-Jun-15 11:53:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

zen1 Sat 13-Jun-15 23:10:52

Can't thank IPSEA enough for their support over the last couple of years, especially when going through the Tribunal process flowers

Levismum Sat 13-Jun-15 23:22:56

IPSEA were my only support with my son's educational needs.
He now has an EHCP & started at his new special school 2 weeks ago.

Thank you IPSEA. You are a great charity that makes an enormous difference to families with children with SEN. flowers

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