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Mumsnet webchat about special educational needs with specialist barrister Alice de Coverley

Struggling to get good educational provision for a child with special needs? You’re not alone: we know from thousands of discussions on Mumsnet that for some families, it can be a headache to get the right measures in place at school - or even to get the right school place at all. 

By Mumsnet HQ | Last updated Aug 24, 2021

The regulations are a bit of a minefield for non-specialists, so we were absolutely honoured to host specialist barrister Alice de Coverley for a webchat on this topic in the summer of 2021. 

Alice is an expert in school exclusions, child sexual abuse and discrimination, acting on behalf of children and young people, vulnerable adults, parents and carers, schools, local authorities, charities and NGOs, government departments, students, and universities. She is ranked by legal researchers at Chambers and Partners UK and the Legal 500, and is the co-author of “A Practical Guide to School Exclusions”.

How would you advise parents advocate for their young person who has an anxiety based issue that the school doesn't seem to want to refer to specialists?

The webchat covered loads of important areas: school avoidance, exclusions, behaviour, low self-esteem, bringing in specialist ed psych and speech and language therapists, and how to work with teachers to help your child reach their potential and be happy and healthy at school.

Looking back, a few conversations with teachers missed out obvious issues, like short term memory and the holistic approach to the child. I’ve realised teachers actually get no SEN training, not even basic stuff.

If you feel like you’re fighting an endless battle with your child’s school, or that your child is unhappy and ‘stuck’, have a read of the webchat here and remember you can always post on Mumsnet’s Special Educational Needs board for brilliant peer-to-peer support and advice.