Getting Started

If you are just starting to explore what your child might be entitled to in terms of support for special educational needs, you will not be alone. We speak to many parents in your position.

Before you get in touch, it might be a good idea to have a read through our website as it might help with some of the basics. It has a lot of information and detail that we share regularly with parents who are in a similar situation, and we hope it’s helpful.

A girl of about 3 years old playing with toys on a table at nursery school

What underpins our advice?

The SEND Code of Practice 2015 is the statutory guidance for how children and young people with SEND should be supported. It’s worth taking a look.

It contains law as well as guidance regarding SEND and additional support.

Our Services

We have a range of services to help parents navigate their way through the process of getting support. Take a look at how we can help you.

It might all seem very overwhelming once you get started,  but we have a great team of volunteers who are here to help you understand your child’s entitlements and how to navigate the bureaucracy and obstacles you might encounter to get the right support for your child.

As well as setting out details of our services, advice and the processes you can expect to go through, our website contains a Help Centre, which gathers together many of the questions and issues that parents come across and raise with us.

Take a look at our Beginner’s Guides to the SEN System and Getting SEN Support. You will find more details on our webinars page.

A learning support assistant sits with a schoolgirl providing one to one support with her work in class

Get to know your SENCO

It’s really key that you engage and talk to the SENCO at your school to find out how the school can support your child.  It’s important that you provide the school with any information that you already have to ensure they have insight into your child’s difficulties.

Schools have an obligation to identify and support needs where possible. Find out more in our Help Centre article on what to expect from schools.  Make sure you ask to see a written plan that will set out the support your child will receive.

Where else can you get information and support?

Local Offer website

Each LA must publish a Local Offer website setting out what services/support are available across education, health and social care for children and young people with SEND for whom they are responsible. This must include for those who do not have an EHCP.

The Local Offer should also contain details and policies for how education settings should be identifying needs of children and young people with SEND.

Parent Carer Forum (PCF)

You will typically find details on your Local Offer website. The PCF is a group of parents who support parents and families of children with SEND and help ensure the voice of children and young people is heard in consultations with the LA.


SENDIASS is the local SEND information and advice service in your local area that provides fact-based information to parents. It is the responsibility of the LA but is typically managed ‘separately’ so as to give confidence to parents although it is not technically independent.

Communicating with the local authority

If you are applying for a needs assessment or are already in contact with a case worker about a child or young person’s EHCP and support for their SEND, we advise that all communication should be in writing to ensure transparency. Email is probably the easiest. This enables you to capture and record the conversations about your child or young person on the SEN journey as it relates to the LA’s involvement.

Common Questions

If you are using social media, you will probably find Facebook groups local to your area, where you can be in touch with other parents. Do be cautious that not all information shared on Facebook groups is accurate. You can also look at your local authority's Local Offer website which may have local groups you can contact.

Find out more: