Contact a Family’s Special Educational Needs helpline service, which offers advice, support and information to parents worried about their disabled child’s education, has received a second year of funding from the Masonic Charitable Foundation to continue its vital work.
The way children with special educational needs and disabilities are supported in schools changed in September 2014 with the introduction of the Children and Families Act. Since then, Contact a Family has seen a four-fold increase in the number of calls to its unique SEN helpline from parents confused about the changes and needing more information about the new system.
The welcome funding from the Masonic Charitable Foundation will help meet this extra demand by paying for an SEN specialist adviser on Contact a Family’s helpline. It is the second year the Foundation has funded a part time helpline specialist for the charity.
Jill Davies who manages the SEN helpline at Contact a Family says:
“Education remains a top concern for families with disabled children and the number of calls to our SEN helpline continues to rise year on year. Children with additional needs require extra support in school and can miss out on vital education without it. Parents understandably worry if their child is not progressing due to a lack of support and this can affect their health and wellbeing. All our advisers help parents understand their rights and guide them through the process to get extra help for their child’s SEN.
“Last year, the SEN helpline advisor funded by the Masonic Charitable Foundation reached over 600 families with disabled children, helping them overcome the challenges they face when accessing suitable education for their child. We are delighted to receive this second year of funding which will help us reach even more families with our in-depth and personalised advice from fully trained and experienced SEN advisers.”
Contact a Family established the SEN helpline with funding from the Department for Education. It forms part of the charity’s integrated helpline and online service for families of disabled children.
David Innes, Chief Executive of the Masonic Charitable Foundation said: “We are proud to support Contact a Family and their vital work with the families of disabled children. The Masonic Charitable Foundation is dedicated to helping people affected by hardship, disability, exclusion or disadvantage and makes grants totalling millions of pounds to national and local charities each year. We hope that this grant, which was funded by donations from across the Masonic community, will enable Contact a Family to meet the increased demand for their excellent SEN helpline.”
Parents or carers looking after children with additional needs who need advice and information about any aspect of their child’s education can call Contact a Family’s SEN Helpline on 0808 808 3555, email firstname.lastname@example.org or online www.cafamily.org.uk/families/SEN . Questions and queries can also be posted on the charity’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/contactafamly. The helpline is open Monday to Friday, 0930-17:00.