In October last year we launched the Dorset Education Advice Line – an advice line for parents and carers who are worried their child might not be making the progress they should be, or who may believe their child might have emerging special educational needs.

To date, we’ve spoken with approximately 60 Dorset families, talking to them about their worries and concerns, and making sure they get the right help, at the right time.

Sarah’s daughter had been missing a lot of school due to severe anxiety

Sarah from West Dorset was concerned about her daughter’s educational progress. Her daughter had developed severe anxiety over the last year, which led to her missing out on a significant amount of school.

Her daughter hadn’t felt able to attend school since November 2021 and Sarah was concerned that her education was being affected. Working together with her school, they had suggested some measures of support, however her daughter’s anxiety meant that attending school to receive this help was difficult.

“I felt listened to and supported.I’m so glad that there is now a plan in place for my daughter”

Sarah was unsure where to turn to, until she came across the Dorset Education and Advice Line. After making contact, Claudia (one of our SEND family workers) gave her a call to understand the challenges her daughter faces and to talk through some advice and to see what support could be organised for Sarah and her family.

As a result, her daughter now has support in place that is working. She has taken part in some educational activities which Sarah felt helped immensely, her daughter is occasionally heading into school outside of normal school hours to get more comfortable with the school environment and is working towards attending full time.

Most importantly, monthly meetings have been set up so that Sarah, her partner, the school and Dorset Council’s inclusion team can all check-in on her daughter and coordinate their support.

Cllr Andrew Parry, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Children, Education, Skills and Early Help said:

“The Education Advice Line will help to ensure that families and professionals work together at the earliest opportunity to engage in early identification and universal support for families in Dorset.

“If you are concerned about your child’s academic progress, or social and emotional development, then please do get in touch. Our Special Educational Needs Family Workers are here to listen, offer advice and can talk through your concerns with you.”

Get in touch

You can book a 15 minute appointment with one of our SEND Family Workers by using our online form, this is the quickest way to contact us.

If you aren’t able to do so, contact us and someone can make this booking for you over the phone. Call freephone 0800 14 040 41.

Our lines are open:

  • Monday to Friday
  • 10am to 4pm
  • term time only

The Education Advice line is part of our SEND Local Offer to children, young people and families and works alongside existing services, such as Dorset Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) and the Education Psychology helpline.

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