We want to ensure students with sight loss thrive within their educational setting and go on to achieve their full potential.
Our Educational Advocacy service provides support and guidance for the benefit of our vision impaired clients. We primarily work with the parents/ carers of school-age children but also directly with our clients aged 18 and over who are still in education and require our support.
Our ethos is to place the educational needs of the client firmly at the centre of our work. We strongly believe if these needs are appropriately met, all parties benefit, the client, parents/ carers, school and in some cases the Local Authority.
Our team have the specialist knowledge and experience to advise on appropriate resources, strategies and interventions to ensure learners with a vision impairment can access the full curriculum and their learning potential. Working with parents we seek to minimise any emotional or financial costs that may arise when trying to secure suitable educational provision for their child. We aim to support parents and clients to self-advocate so that they can liaise with schools/ educational settings and local authorities with confidence, understanding their child’s rights to accessible education and choice of school or college. We liaise closely with the Qualified Teachers of Vision Impairment (QTVIs) supporting pupils in maintained education.
What we can do for you
- Attend any meetings relating to your child’s education as your advocate.
- Help you apply to your local Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND) Team for a Statutory Assessment of Educational Need for your child if you feel and we agree that they require an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
- Liaise between yourself and your Local Authority during the assessment and planning stages.
- Ensure any EHCP produced is “fit for purpose”.
- Advise and support you with a mediation and/or Tribunal appeal against a Local Authority decision related to the provision of your child’s special educational needs or disability related to their vision impairment i.e. refusal to assess or refusal to issue an EHCP.
- Attend a First Tier SEND Tribunal acting as your educational advocate if your appeal is about disputed special educational needs, provision or a refusal to name a specialist VI school/ college on your child’s EHCP.
What we cannot do
Due to the high demand for our service, we are only able to offer “light-touch” support to a client/ parent if their vision impairment is not their primary special educational need, or if they attend an independent mainstream school. We can offer telephone advice and support in these instances. In addition we are unable to:
- Support you with a Second Tier SEND Tribunal, at this stage you will need to involve a lawyer.
- Attend a First Tier SEND Tribunal if your child’s primary need IS NOT vision impairment, and/or the school you want named is NOT VI specialist.
- Blatchington Court Trust has always aspired to support parents to get the best educational opportunities for their child and to ensure they get equal access to the curriculum so they can achieve their potential alongside their peers.
What is an EHCP?
For information about EHCP';s, we recommend watching "A quick guide for parents and carers to the Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) process" published by Educational Psychology Reach-Out.Watch A quick guide for parents and carers to the Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) process
If you require support, have questions or would like to find out more about our Educational Advocacy service, please contact us.Contact us
If I feel my child needs a specialist education how could you help?
We support parents through the process of negotiating maintained and independent specialist education; this may require an appeal at Tribunal.
If my child moves or starts a new school, does a new EHCP have to be made?
Only if you move out of your current local authority, when the new local authority may want to carry out a new assessment of needs
The school are still not meeting the needs of my child, what can I do?
We can facilitate meetings with you at school, at formal mediation and during negotiations with your local education authority.
Am I required to make any financial contributions towards legal costs?
No, as above, we can support you without the need of legal professionals. We do not get involved at Second Tier Tribunals when you would need to pay for legal advice in the event your original appeal had been unsuccessful.
Can I appeal if my child’s EHCP is not approved?
Yes, we can support you up to and including a First Tier SEND Tribunal
Are you still able to provide educational advocacy if my child has other additional needs as well as sight loss?
Yes, provided their VI has a significant impact on their learning as well as their other additional needs.