16 January 2024

We are proud to be commemorating 40 years of using the law to help children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) get the education and support they are legally entitled to.  

To mark this occasion, we have published a new report, titled IPSEA at 40: reflecting on the past and looking to the future, which tells our story, from our beginnings as a small group of educational psychologists providing free second professional opinions, to our current status as a national charity with a team of staff and an expansive network of dedicated volunteers. Image of five members of IPSEA staff holding copys of a special publication for IPSEAs 40th anniversary

The report also highlights our achievements over the past four decades, which have helped ensure that thousands of children and young people with SEND across England receive the educational support they are entitled to by law, and that families feel empowered to enforce their children’s legal rights and entitlements.  

In addition, the report outlines our vision for the future and the action that must be taken to improve the SEND system and outcomes for children and young people with SEND. 

Yesterday, we were delighted to share the report with MPs and colleagues in the SEND sector at a special event in the House of Commons. Speaking at the event, our CEO, Ali Fiddy, said:  

"IPSEA has gone through many changes over the last 40 years, but what has remained constant throughout has been our unwavering commitment to ensuring that children and young people with special educational needs receive the educational support they are legally entitled to, and that parents and carers are empowered to challenge unlawful decision-making and behaviour.

As we move into our fifth decade we will continue to support individual families with next-step advice and tribunal support, we’ll continue to deliver training on the SEND legal framework both to empower parents and carers, and improve knowledge and understanding of legal obligations amongst professionals working within the SEND system, and we will focus our policy work on ensuring that the rights and entitlements of children and young people with SEND remain intact."

The event also featured contributions from Ian Mearns MP, David Wolfe KC (Matrix Chambers), Judge Jane McConnell (Ministry of Justice) and Tony King (IPSEA’s Chair of Trustees). 

We were delighted to have the opportunity to reflect on our achievements over our 40-year history, to thank our supporters for their backing and collaboration, and to discuss the current challenges and opportunities facing the SEND system. 

Read more about how we’re marking our 40th anniversary here