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> > Information and Advice

Education Grants
Information and Advice

Education Support Summary


  • For help towards school uniform in England check your local councils’ website. You can also get help in ScotlandWales and Northern Ireland.  Eligibility is usually based on being in receipt of certain benefits.

If you are having difficulties with your child's education and require support contact:


  • IPSEA - free independent legal advice and support for appeals and tribunals.
  • ACE – Advisory Centre for Education gives advice on current education law and how to work with their child’s school to resolve concerns.
  • Contact – Education specialist helpline advisors available Monday-Friday 9.30-5pm.  Telephone: 0808 808 3555


  • Enquire – Factsheets on attending school, disputes and school transport. 
  • Govan Law Centre – Their Education Law Unit is Scotland’s expert legal resource on education


Northern Ireland

ACE (Advisory Centre for Education)

ACE provides free independent advice and support for parents and carers of children aged 5-16 in state-funded education.

This can include issues over exclusions, admissions, attendance, bullying and Special Educational Needs.

A range of advice booklets are available to download from their website. They also operate an advice telephone helpline: 0808 800 5793 Monday to Friday (10am to 4pm).


BPP School Exclusion Project

The BPP School Exclusions Project offers free advice and representation to parents whose children have been excluded from school, whether permanently or for a fixed term.

Student reps from BPP receive detailed training and have access to guidance from Stephen Broach(Barrister) and colleagues at the Doughty Street Chambers. They support families from the earliest stages in any appeal to the school governors through hearings at Independent Appeal Panels.

In the past three years the student reps have achieved some fantastic results, including winning cases for children with very complex needs. At present their referrals seem to have slowed down - yet there is no suggestion the number of children being excluded from school is decreasing.

Any family who may want representation simply needs to email the project address above - schoolexclusions@my.bpp.com - and a referral form will be sent straight out.

Alternatively contact: Doughty Street Chambers, 53-54 Doughty Street, London, WC1N 2LS Telephone: 020 7404 1313

 Steve Broach was Legal Aid lawyer of the year 2011 and  focuses on the rights of children (especially disabled  children) and disabled adults.

He was also co-author of Disabled Children - A Legal Handbook (with Luke Clements and Janet Read).


Early Support

Early Support is based on 10 principles that came from working with Parent Carers to encourage services to talk to each other and to provide greater clarification on available support.

Each of the 10 principles is broken down into "Actions" which are regularly evaluated with Parents and Practitioners together.

By taking a partnership approach and coordinating services families receive an Education, Health and Social Care Plan (EHCP).

This is achieved on a method called "Keyworking" - an evidence based system to ensure the provision of holistic care and support meets the individual needs of the child or young person and their family.

It is recognised that not every family will need the same level of support all the time and that a flexible approach is required depending on the needs of the family at a given time.



Enquire is the Scottish advice service for additional support for learning in Scotland.

It provides easy to understand advice and information on all aspects of getting help for your child in school.

There is a parents guide free to download which explains your child's rights, the local authorities' duties and solving problems at meetings.

Helpline number: 0345 123 2303.


IPSEA (Independent Parental Special Education Advice)

IPSEA is a national charity providing free and independent legal advice to families with children with Special Educational Needs (SEN).

It provides details on what you need to know and model letters to cover all steps of the assessment and statementing of a child with SEN.

They also online support sheets/case studies to help parents take action and resolve common SEN issues. 

Further support is provided through their free telephone helplines:

  • Advice line: 0800 018 4016
  • Tribunal Helpline: 0845 602 9579

Case worker volunteers can also give individual support to families with the tribunal process.


Information Advice and Support Services Network (IASSN)

The IASSN was previous called the National network of Parent Partnership Services.  It is based within the Council for Disabled Children in The National Children's Bureau.

It is a legal requirement that all local authorities ensure children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and their parents have access to an impartial Information, Advice and Support (IAS) service. 

The IAS Services have a duty to provide information, advice and support to parents and carers of children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND).

For help and support in England and Wales you would need to contact your local service. 

The services are there to guide parents through the complex assessment of SEN and provide support at meetings.



Natspec is the member organisation for specialist colleges for young people with disabilities and learning difficulties.

There are 76 member colleges across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  They provide teaching and support for young people with learning difficulties, sensory impairments, physical disabilities, multiple and complex disabilities.

The colleges offer the opportunity for the young person to continue their education while gaining other skills relevant for employment and independent living for adult life.

Unlike mainstream colleges they are totally focused on the specialist needs of the young person and provide a holistic "education" in the company of like-minded young people.

Funding for the young person's place is provided by your Local Authority and placements may be on a day or residential basis.  

With cutbacks in funding some authorities may not inform parents of these alternative options as it may involve additional expenditure if the most suitable college is outside the young person's home county.

So parents need to be proactive in researching these alternative options for their child.


Network 81

Network 81 is a network of parents working towards inclusive education for children with special needs.

Their main focus is on the legislation surrounding Special Educational Needs and the assessment process to get support for your child in school.

They run Befriender courses around the country each year to train Befrienders on the Code of Practice and current education law.

There is also a national helpline offering advice and support:  0845 077 4055

The Network 81 Parents Guide can be ordered through the website.


SEND Reforms

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice has been approved by Parliament.

These new reforms will be implemented from September 2014.

The Government has produced an SEND Guide for parents and carers.

The Department of Education and the Special Needs Jungle have produced an Infographic to highlight the most import details of the reforms.

Mencap has also produced a range of resources about the Government's changes.

Now check out the other pages.....

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