Project information

Education for children with special needs

Every year thousands of families struggle to get the education that their child with SEN needs. IPSEA's highly trained volunteers provide advice and support that empowers parents to understand and make choices about SEN/disability provision.

April 2011 - March 2012

Charity information

IPSEA (Independent Parental Special Education Advice)

IPSEA (Independent Parental Special Education Advice) logo
  • Need


    Children whose SEN are not met at school are more likely to end up living in poverty as adults, being in custody and being unemployed. IPSEA works to ensure that children with SEN are given the best possible education so that their potential is fulfilled and their life chances are improved. Securing this education is often a struggle. The process is complex and many parents need help with the volume of paperwork that is involved.


    Our volunteers help families who need support with; negotiations with schools and Local Authorities, interpretation of complex documents ( professional reports), drafting letters and working documents, specific wording for statements of SEN and preparation for difficult meetings. IPSEA's advice is legally based. This basic understanding of the law equips families to be involved in the decisions that affect them. It helps them avoid future issues, access other services & improve their future.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To provide free legally based advice to parents struggling to secure an education for their child


    » We will run telephone help lines covered by IPSEA volunteers. Our volunteers will be trained in SEN, disability discrimination and exclusion law.
    » We will recruit and train more volunteers so that we can help more families via our help lines.

    We will ask parents who have rung our help lines to give us feedback on how our advice and support has helped their child.

  • Impact


    IPSEA's advice changes lives. Here is some recent feedback that shows how we help: "When I called IPSEA my son was in a mainstream school. He was in year two and could not read or write. After getting advice from IPSEA I was able to apply for a statement of edcuation needs, write a detailed parental statement and put forward my case for transferring my son to a special needs school. My son is now in an excellent special school. Within one term of him starting there he learnt to read and write."


    IPSEA relies on volunteers to provide advice and support in order to keep our costs to a minimum. We have been working hard with funders to ensure that the current economic climate will not affect the delivery of our unique and vital services.


    We send regular reports to our supporters - with information taken from our database and the results of our parent feedback surveys.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £10,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £4,000 telephone costs for providing 0800 and 0845 help lines
      £3,000 project costs adding call sheets to our database
      £3,000 IT costs website and computer maintenance
  • Background


    IPSEA works from an office in Essex but our volunteers are spread across England and we help families across the whole of England and Wales.


    2,824 vulnerable children benefitted from IPSEA’s advice in 2009
    All had SEN and/or a disability
    29% were from black/ ethnic minorities
    28% were being bullied at school
    24% live in households with an income below £20,000 per year
    18% live in the most deprived local authorities
    10% have been excluded from school

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    No one else offers the range of advice and support that we offer. We help parents across England and Wales with all aspects of their struggle to secure the education that their child needs - for free. We help parents whose children have all kinds of SEN/disability. We use our unique casework experience to improve policy and practice at a national level.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Jane McConnell

    Chief Executive of IPSEA


will pay for IPSEA to support a tribunal appeal

Thanks to IPSEA our son had a very successful 5 years in a mainstream school with full time support.

Parent advised by IPSEA