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Our advice service

We provide advice to parents, grandparents, relatives, friends and kinship carers who are involved with children’s services in England or need their help. We can help you understand processes and options when social workers or courts are making decisions about your child’s welfare.

Our advice service is free, independent and confidential.

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By phone or email

To speak to an adviser, please call our free and confidential advice line 0808 801 0366 (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 3pm, excluding Bank Holidays). Or you can ask us a question via email using our advice enquiry form.

Discuss on our forums

Our online advice forums are an anonymous space where parents and kinship carers (also known as family and friends carers) can get legal and practical advice, build a support network and learn from other people’s experiences.

Advice on our website

Our get help and advice section describes the processes that you and your family are likely to go through, so that you know what to expect. Our webchat service can help you find the information and advice on our website which will help you understand the law and your rights.

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What is SEND support exactly?

Under the system for ensuring the right support plans are in place for all children with special educational needs and disabilities, schools must use a four-part process. This explained more in the SEND Code of Practice.

The SEND Code of Practice is government statutory guidance.  It supports practitioners working with children to do what the law requires them to do. Local councils – including the children’s services departments and education department – must have regard to the Code of Practice. This simply means they must consider what the Code says whenever they make decisions.

The SEND Code of Practice says the SENCO and teachers should Assess, Plan, Do and Review. At pages 100-102 (sections 6.44 to 6.56) the Code says they should:

  1. Assess a child to see what help they need
  2. Make a plan for how that support will help them, including what progress they expect to see,
  3. Do – put this support in place, and then
  4. Regularly review the situation to see if the plan is working, or whether different help is needed. And the school must provide a report at least once a year on the child’s progress.

Every school should publish on their website their SEND information report, which sets out their policy for managing and supporting pupils with SEND.

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