Charity awarded funding to run SEN helplines

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The charity for disabled children Contact a Family has been granted £600,000 by the Big Lottery Fund to provide information to families about the new SEN system.


The new funding will help support families with the changes

The new SEND code of practice was introduced last September, but Contact a Family says that many parents are still in the dark about how the changes will affect their child's education.

The charity has been working with parents and running helplines to raise awareness about the changes. The new funding means special educational needs experts will be able to support families over the phone as well as face-to-face.

Amanda Batten, CEO of Contact of Family, said, ‘Every day, our SEN helpline deals with calls from parents trying to get information about the new system.

‘This project will mean we can enhance what we offer families over the phone and online with a team of SEN experts working face-to face with families.

‘We can focus on families that fall between the cracks, those that statutory services find difficult to reach.’

A series of information sessions for parent carers and parent support groups will be held across England to enable parents to provide information for their peers.

The information sessions will include: a background to SEND reforms and the Children & Families Bill; the implications of these reforms for families with disabled children; the roll out of the Single Status/Education, Health and Care plans, together with the ‘local offer’ of support available to guide parents and young people through the process, which will vary in each local authority area. 

The charity has also produced a series of factsheets for parents to understand the new SEN reforms in England, including ‘Help in the early years if your child has additional needs’ and ‘Changing from the old system to the new – how will it happen?’

  • More information and factsheets are available from Contact a Family’s free helpline on 0808 808 3555 or by visiting
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