Supporting your child’s learning journey

Getting help at the right time

If your child has additional support for learning needs, getting the right help at school is crucial. As their parent or carer, you may feel that you are on an emotional roller coaster.

If your child is currently getting the help they need, you probably feel more positive.

Even when things are going well, you may still worry about the future. Getting advice and information at the right time can stop small issues becoming bigger, more problematic ones.

How can Enquire help?

Our helpline team provides practical information on the law on additional support for learning – but we can also listen to your concerns and perhaps offer reassurance along the way.

The helpline team have identified particular times and concerns parents often find particularly worrying – times that our advice and information may help. Remember, no problem is too small for us to listen to.

Finding out your child has additional support needs

You may know that your child will need additional support with learning from an early age (for example, because of a disability or illness). Finding out exactly what their needs are and what help is available sometimes feels like entering a confusing world of assessments and meetings with unknown professionals.

Enquire’s helpline staff can help you through this maze by explaining people’s roles and responsibilities and give you some tips for coping in meetings.

Some children’s additional support needs are picked up once they are at nursery or school. If you have worries, a good first step is to talk to a member of staff about your concerns.

Children’s additional support needs can occur for lots of different reasons including:

  • a specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia is identified
  • being looked after by someone other than their parents
  • being ahead of other children in their class
  • having English as their second language
  • changing schools a lot
  • something unexpected happens at home such as a bereavement, a family illness or the family splits up.

Enquire can provide advice and information on all aspects of additional support for learning. We have a range of factsheets you might find useful at this time including:


‘Transition’ is just a word to describe a child’s move between different education stages. Some professionals use it to describe any change in a child’s school or home life that affects their learning. Transitions include major moves such as:

  • settling into nursery
  • leaving nursery and starting primary school
  • going up to secondary school
  • changing school
  • moving to mainstream or special school.

Other more common – but just as important – changes include:

  • moving up a year in school
  • changing teachers
  • moving to a new classroom
  • a new or different classroom routine.

Each move can bring different concerns but some of the most common worries are:

  • deciding whether to delay starting primary school
  • deciding which local school your child should attend
  • deciding between a mainstream or a special school
  • making a placing request
  • arranging transport to and from school
  • making sure important information about your child is passed to the correct person.

Other concerns may include:

  • how to be actively involved in planning
  • making sure you and your child’s views are taken seriously
  • feeling confident about attending meetings with professional staff
  • finding a supporter or advocate to help if you don’t feel able to attend meetings on your own.

Contacting Enquire when you are worried may help you put worries into perspective.

The following factsheets may be useful during these moves:

Planning for life after school

This is sometimes called ‘Transition towards independence’.
Planning for your child’s future after leaving school can be a big worry. Concerns about the future can start long before your child reaches school-leaving age. You might be concerned about:

  • lack of planning for the move out of school
  • fear that your child will not cope without the structure and support of school life
  • lack of suitable employment, training or education opportunities for your child
  • arranging appropriate learning support if your child decides to attend college or university.

Enquire can provide advice and information about your child’s rights as they move out of school and put you in contact with agencies that can give you specialist advice about further education and benefits. For more information have a look at our factsheet on leaving school:
Progressing beyond school after 16


At some point you may find yourself in disagreement with staff involved in your child’s education or care.
This can occur when:

  • you don’t agree with what is being said about your child
  • you feel your knowledge about your child is being ignored
  • agreed support isn’t put in place straight away or at all
  • levels of support are reduced
  • decisions are made and not explained.

Disagreements can lead to parents and staff being unable to deal with each other and can damage a previously good relationship. This can be upsetting for everybody involved.
Enquire can give you ideas on how to repair relationships. Disagreements sometimes happen because of a misunderstanding and can be sorted out by talking openly and finding ways to work better together in the future.
If this isn’t possible, Enquire can advise on other options available.
These include:

  • finding a local organisation to help support you at meetings or speak on your behalf (advocacy)
  • how to involve a mediator (somebody not involved with your child or the staff who can help both sides reach an acceptable solution)
  • formal dispute resolution involving an independent review of your child’s case
  • appeals or references to the Additional Support for Learning Tribunals.

Take a look at our factsheets on Mediation and Independent adjudication.

I need help at another stage of my journey

This factsheet describes only some of the times you may need our help. We can provide lots more help and advice either personally on our helpline or through our other factsheets and other publications.

We’ve also got a great website for children and young people so if your child wants to ask a question of their own we can help them too.
What parents have said about Enquire:

    “As a result of the confidence and support provided through the phone call, my son is now in full time school and very happy. Many thanks”

    “Just being there with info and support that is current and accessible is fantastic!”

    “We have used Enquire a few times and have found the advice and information very helpful and useful”

0345 123 2303
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children and young people

Helpline: 0345 123 2303

Visit our website for children and young people