We know from talking to lots of parents and carers that caring for a child with additional support needs and making sure they have the right support in school can feel like an emotional roller coaster.
If your child is getting the help they need, you probably feel quite positive. But 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?
We can provide information on the law on additional support for learning – but we can also listen to your concerns and perhaps offer reassurance along the way. Our helpline team have identified some particular times parents find worrying – times when our advice may help.
Just being there with info and support that is current and accessible is fantastic! Parent
Finding out your child has additional support needs
You may know that your child will need additional support with learning from an early age (perhaps because of a disability or illness) or you may find out at preschool or nursery. Finding out exactly what their needs are and what help is available can be confusing. We can help you through the education maze by explaining people’s roles and responsibilities and give you some tips for coping in meetings.
Whatever time you find out a good first step is to order a copy of our Parents’ Guide to Additional Support for Learning. It explains clearly your child’s rights to support in school.
We have a range of factsheets you may also find useful including:
- Taking part in meetings about your child’s education
- Who provides extra support for children’s learning
- Early years education
We have used Enquire a few times and have found the advice and information very helpful and useful. Parent
“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 might include moving up a year in school, changing teachers or moving to a new classroom.
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.
You may also be worried about attending meetings with professionals and how you can make sure your, and your child’s views are listened to. Getting in touch with Enquire may help you put your worries into perspective and help you feel confident.
The following factsheets may be useful during these moves:
- Planning children’s and young people’s learning
- Choosing a school
- Placing requests
- Transport to school
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. Parent
Planning for life after school
This is sometimes called ‘Transition towards independence’. You may worry about what’s going to happen to your child after school long before they 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
Enquire has frequently been my first port of call. I also recommend to everyone who is struggling with education and their rights
At some point you may find yourself in disagreement with school or local authority staff. This can happen because:
- 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 damag 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 or miscommunication and can be sorted out by talking openly and finding ways to work better together in the future.
Enquire can also help you if you feel this isn’t possible. We can help you
- find a local organisation to help support you at meetings or speak on your behalf (advocacy)
- to find a mediator (somebody not involved with your child or the staff who can help both sides reach an acceptable solution)
- understand dispute resolution procedures
- by explaining how to make appeals or a reference to the Additional Support for Learning Tribunals.
I need help at another stage of my journey
No one is out of reach
Children need help too. Reach our website for pupils has lots of practical tips on what can help in school and young people sharing their views and experiences on all sorts of life issues, Reach offers a ‘go-to’ source of advice to help pupils make the most out of their education.