Welcome to West Midlands Advocacy Service. The service provides independent specialist advice and advocacy to and on behalf of parents and carers who care for children with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities.
The team has extensive knowledge and expertise in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities; some of the team also have personal experience so can understand your difficulties both on a personal and professional level.
The team supports parents and carers to secure the right educational support for their child with the aim of changing their life for the better so they can succeed to go on to achieve!
There were 5679 Special Educational Needs and Disability appeals registered in 2017/18 with the First Tier Tribunal, an increase of 20% on the previous year’s figures. 5000 appeals were seen through to conclusion, 2300 appeals were decided by tribunal and 2700 were concluded without the actual need for a hearing.
When the reforms were brought in, the Department for Education anticipated there would be a drop in the number of appeals reaching tribunal, as parents, the Local Authority and staff from the Health sector would work happily together in co-production to meet the needs of children with Special Educational Needs.
Unfortunately, this has not exactly gone to plan and is having a negative impact on children and young people with Special Needs and Disabilities!
There are multiple reasons for this:
Local Authorities may have rushed converting statements and the 16+ Learning Difficulty Assessments into plans to meet Governmental deadlines for conversion, which has led plans being issued of poor quality so many have ended up at tribunal appeal courts.
There is no standard template for the Educational Health Care Plans and so, we believe, any number of Local Authorities are using their own templates that are of questionable legality.
New educational assessments for Educational Health Care Plans are not being carried out properly or, quite often, not at all. So of course, the wrong conclusions are drawn because there is insufficient professional evidence to make the right ones.
More Educational Health Care Plans are being issued as the age range has been extended from birth now up until the age of 25.
There is already a crisis in Local Authority resources with staff cuts and the outsourcing of plan writing to people who have never met the child or family.
Parents and young people are still not being listened to by education, health or social care and they’re not listening to each other either.