Meet Jackie, an IPSEA volunteer dedicated to making a difference

As a mother of four children and a background in secondary education, Jackie brings a wealth of personal experience and professional knowledge to her role.


Hello, my name is Jackie and I’m a mother of four children. My journey with IPSEA began from a place of personal experience. I had previously received support from IPSEA for my own child and saw firsthand the incredible impact it had on our lives. With a background in secondary education and a growing interest in education law, I decided to retrain and pursued a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and Masters in Law (LLM) . As part of this journey, I needed relevant work experience, and volunteering with IPSEA felt like the perfect fit.  

A day in the life of a volunteer 

No day is the same when volunteering with IPSEA, and that's one of the things I love about it. There's a lot of variety and challenge in the role. One experience that has stood out to me while volunteering was supporting a family whose child was receiving very poor educational provision. When we concluded the case successfully, the family expressed that, for the first time, they could look forward to a positive future. They told me I had been ‘a lifeline’ to them. Hearing those words and knowing I had made such a significant impact was incredibly rewarding.  

The impact of volunteering 

I believe that supporting a child or young person to access the education they are entitled to has a profound effect on the entire family. It helps to remove stress and anxiety, allowing families to start living a more normal life. Knowing that my work contributes to this transformation is deeply fulfilling.  

However, one of the biggest challenges in my role is managing the expectations of distressed parents in complex situations. They often feel ignored and dismissed and are desperate to help their child. I have learned how to calmly explain the law clearly even when it may not be able to provide the answers required and provide the best support I can.  

Volunteering with IPSEA has significantly enhanced my communication skills, particularly in having difficult conversations and explaining complex legal concepts in a way that is easily understood. I’ve also learned to be flexible and think ‘outside the box’ to find solutions for the families I support.  

My advice for prospective volunteers 

My advice to anyone considering volunteering with IPSEA is to just go for it - you will have no regrets! The role is challenging, rewarding, and full of opportunities for personal and professional development. The training and support provided by IPSEA are excellent, and the experience is incredibly fulfilling. If you’re passionate about making a difference in the lives of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, this is the place for you. 


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