10 Free SEND resources for foster families
It’s very common for foster children to have special educational needs (SEN). In fact, recent reports suggest four out of five children in care will require support for special educational needs at some point during their time in education.
Children with special educational needs may have a disability that makes it more difficult for them to learn, such as autism, dyslexia and ADHD. Others may struggle to behave appropriately in the classroom and make friends because of their past experiences. Some children need support for both.
As a foster parent of a child with special education needs or a disability, you might be wondering how you can support your child at school. As well as speaking to your social worker (and your advisory teacher if you’re fostering with ISP), the following resources have lots of information to help you support your foster child at school.
The ADHD Foundation
The ADHD Foundation is the leading neurodiversity charity in the UK, whose mission is to improve life chances for those living with ADHD, Autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia (DCD), Tourette’s syndrome, dyscalculia and dysgraphia. They have lots of information about these disabilities on their resource hub.
The National Autistic Society
The National Autistic Society provide support, guidance and advice to those on the autism spectrum and their families. They have a fantastic section on their website with lots of information on education for autistic children.
Contact a Family
Contact a Family is a charity that supports families with disabled children. The education and learning section on their website is a great source of information, covering the SEND review, support in school, EHC plans and assessments, school and college complaints, transport, finding the right school, bullying, and so much more.
Independent Parental Special Education Advice (IPSEA)
IPSEA is a charitable organisation that offers free legal information, advice and support to help children with special educational needs and disabilities get the right education. As well as operating a free advice line for parents and carers, they also have lots of information available around SEND.
Communities Empowerment Network (CEN)
CEN provide advice and support to parents whose children has been excluded from school. The CEN Parent Portal helps guide parents though the entire process of school exclusions and they also operate a free advocacy service.
Special Needs UK
Special Needs UK is a website where parents and carers can search for the right school or support group for your child. You simply select the condition relevant to your child and it returns a list of schools.
Ace Education provides independent advice and information for parents and carers on education issues. They provide a whole range of advice on their website around special education needs as well as information on school exclusions, bullying, attendance and more.
Education Advocacy provides families with legal advice around obtaining an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). The service is not free, however, they do have a comprehensive article about EHCPs and the process to obtain one.
There’s lots of information on the government website about the support given to children and young people with special education needs. This includes SEN support by age group, how to request an education, health and care plan (EHCP), and more.
ISP Knowledge Hub on YouTube
Watch our experts share their knowledge and insights on a wide range of topics, including education, disabilities and complex needs, therapeutic fostering, children’s mental health, and more. You’ll hear from social workers, therapists, education specialists, fostering advisors, and other childcare professionals.
We recognised the need for additional educational support for foster children from the get-go over 35 years ago – not just for the children in our care but for the foster parents who support them too.
And so at ISP, we have an education specialist based at each centre, who work directly with our children and their foster parents, teachers, local authorities and the virtual school. This ensures that every child in our care receives the support they need to have an enjoyable and fulfilling school experience.
Could you provide a child with a safe and secure home?
If you’d like more information about fostering a child or teenager who has gone through trauma, or about ISP and how we care for children with complex needs, please get in touch with our friendly team today. We'll gladly answer any of your questions, no matter how big or small.
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