The SOS!SEN story

SOS!SEN is a national charity that aims to empower parents and carers of children and young people with SEND to successfully tackle the difficulties they face when trying to secure the right educational provision for their children.

A few words from our founders

Marion Strudwick and Martin Dean

Marion Strudwick and Martin DeanCo-founders - SOS!SEN

A brief history

SOS!SEN was started in 2002 by a small group who had spent much of their lives in education or related services.

It began from a recognition that many parents and carers were not fully aware of their children’s rights and entitlements to an adequate education and how to obtain them.

We have been joined over the years by a number of parents and friends and now have a team of some 70 committed, part-time volunteers providing support to families.  Many of our volunteers have been in your shoes and understand how parents are feeling when trying to work their way through the process.

Our Helpline alone now deals with some 1400 first time calls each year, and the success rate at Tribunal for parents who have attended our workshops or been guided by us is approximately 95%.

We believe many parents can be successfully empowered to manage their own cases, particularly when they have the reassurance and back up of support from our team of volunteers across a range of services.

Young boy and girl playing with fidget spinners.

Our governance

We’re governed by a board of trustees, supported by the founders,  who meet monthly and are responsible for setting our strategy and ensuring we’re effectively managed and meet our objectives.

Our Chief Executive, Richard Orchard-Rowe and Legal Officer, Eleanor Wright, work closely with the trustees to implement the strategy and objectives of the organisation.

How we are funded

SOS!SEN is a registered charity. To ensure our total independence, we do not accept offers of financial help from local authorities or from any other source where there could be conflict of interest.

We rely totally, therefore, on donations and the fees we charge for the services we provide which includes our documentation checking and preparation, 1:1 advice sessions, webinars and booklets. We also hold fundraising events, some of which our parents organise for our benefit.

Our charity shop in Worcester Park also provides key financial support to SOS!SEN. We’d welcome any good quality donations for our charity shop. Or if you would like to sell something on eBay and contribute part of the proceeds to us, we’d love to hear from you.