As part of IPSEA's 40th anniversary, we have collected stories from people who have had personal experiences with IPSEA. 

These stories not only provide valuable insights into the diverse challenges families encounter while navigating the SEND system, but also offer a glimpse into the remarkable individuals who have played a pivotal role in shaping our organisation.

Discover more people of IPSEA.


At my son Adam’s year 11 annual review we put forward our named provision for sixth form along with good evidence and updates from our school to the local authority (LA). Our son wanted to stay in education and his special school were 100% behind that decision. He had made good progress and had the potential to make more progress. 

We subsequently received a letter from the LA that said the recommendations had been accepted, but when the updated Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan came back, all references to education had been removed. The LA had decided his time in education was up. We all initially thought it was a simple mistake, but they would not back down. The school wrote back to say he had simply been put on the wrong trajectory and it was a mistake – but the door was closed. 

How IPSEA helped

I booked an appointment on IPSEA’s Advice Line and got fantastic advice. The volunteer adviser helped me look at Adam’s EHC plan and identify areas that were outdated, not quantified, or not substantial enough. She directed me to the parts of the Children and Families Act 2014, Special educational needs and disability (SEND) code of practice and Equality Act 2010 I could reference and gave me the confidence to go ahead and appeal to the SEND Tribunal. The telephone call left me feeling empowered. 

I went ahead and brought my appeal to the SEND Tribunal and down the line had further two calls with IPSEA – this time with the Tribunal Helpline. These calls were equally helpful and gave me all the support and guidance I needed to take the LA to Tribunal. The final outcome being the Tribunal found in our favour. 

At the time of our appeal to the Tribunal, IPSEA advised me there was a ‘National Trial’ pilot taking place where the SEND Tribunal’s powers were extended to be able to make ‘non-binding’ recommendations to the health and social care sections of EHC plans (the National Trial allowed parents and young people to appeal against the health and social care sections of the EHC plan when appealing sections relating to special educational needs, special educational provision and/or placement). 

We took this opportunity to challenge the health and social care parts of Adam’s EHC plan and were successful in receiving all the support he needed. 

The outcome

The outcomes have been life changing. At 20, four years on, our son is still in education. He is so happy. He was ready to learn and has made progress beyond what any of us could have imagined. Last year he won the award at his college for the student who had made the most progress. It was the stuff of dreams! He also has a social care package. Going out and about with others and staying overnight regularly with our amazing respite family has led to Adam being so much more independent and he is not lonely or isolated anymore.