Support SEND Kids (SSK) is a new UK charity that helps families with children who have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) access critical care and education.
Their vision is “a world where access to education through the legal system for SEND Kids is pain free,” and their mission is centered around using technology to provide SEND families with critical knowledge and resources.
The Problem of Access to Crucial SEND Knowledge
“After nearly 30 interviews with parents of SEND kids, it is clear that the fight to get the right provisions for their child adds stress and extra mental load to already exhausted parents,” says Tamsin Ogilvie, User Experience Strategist at Support SEND Kids. “SEND parents’ time shouldn’t be spent battling with the legal system.”
BRYTER is committed to providing free support for non-profits and NGOs looking to take advantage of the latest technology through our BRYTER Open program. As such, we were excited by the opportunity to support SSK starting earlier this year, in collaboration with Adam Curphey of Reed Smith.
Giving Parents Direct Access to Institutional Knowledge Through User-Friendly Technology
“We were pretty sure we could bring together a legal tech community that could help,” explains Rachel Amos, Trustee of Support SEND Kids. “We had a kick-off call with BRYTER Open which was immediately brilliant — we could see how to connect some of the data inside the charity and make more exciting things with it. We had been talking to Reed Smith, and Adam had already been working with BRYTER for six to nine months, so we had that pro bono contribution (and the right person in the firm) who could use the info we were gathering. This collaboration with BRYTER and Reed Smith is really exciting.”
We had a kick-off call with BRYTER Open which was immediately brilliant — we could see how to connect some of the data inside the charity and make more exciting things with it.Rachel Amos, Trustee of Support SEND Kids
One of the first things SSK aspires to do with BRYTER no-code platform is to make complicated institutional knowledge around SEND law more accessible to parents who need it most. The first interactive digital tool that SSK has created with the support of barristers David Wolfe QC of Matric Chambers and Leon Glenister of Landmark Chambers will launch in Q1 2022. It takes the valuable knowledge of the “Noddy Guide” — a free public resource published by the barristers to assist all those who deal with SEND law — and makes it available through a more accessible and user-friendly Q&A interface. Now parents and caregivers can ask their questions related to SEND law and get direct answers and resources on-demand, without the support of lawyers. This kind of access makes all the difference for parents who are already strapped for time and low on the energy needed to navigate such a complex system.
Helping SEND Families Navigate Educational Health and Care Plan (EHCP) Applications
Support SEND Kids is now expanding parents’ access to crucial SEND resources by collaborating with pro bono support from Reed Smith to help parents effectively navigate their own EHCP application process. The next phase is to develop a checklist for parents, using BRYTER Open, the digitized Noddy Guide, and the input of parents and SEND practitioners gathered over time on their Q&A platform, Senate. SSK hopes that this checklist and their online community will make it easier for families to get the right support at the right time by making the process less intimidating and difficult. They hope to dramatically reduce the time, money, and energy that SEND parents spend seeking proper care for their children.
Rachel at SSK commented, “[This collaboration] is broadening legal tech contributions and putting them together in an ecosystem, and solving an expensive process of unknowns for parents, enabling them and making it all less painful mentally and financially.”
We believe this checklist and the digitization of legal and practical guides will make the entire EHCP process easier and far more user friendly for SEND families and the wider community.Tamsin Ogilvie, User Experience Strategist at Support SEND Kids
“The legal and technological support we have received enabled us to create a platform that we hope will be transformative for SEND families. Adam volunteered his time to help us build on our digitized Noddy Guide and feed it into a checklist we designed, built on a BRYTER module that we can easily keep up to date as guidelines change. It helps lift some of the mental load, by giving parents a roadmap and automatically reminding them of timings throughout the whole process, so parents don’t think, ‘have I forgotten something?’ The platform can take that anxiety away. We believe this checklist and the digitization of legal and practical guides will make the entire EHCP process easier and far more user friendly for SEND families and the wider community,” Tamsin explained.
Looking Ahead: Further Expanding Access to Care for SEND Families Through Digital Tools
Over the next year, the goal is to continue to add functionalities to the platform, including a searchable database of EHCPs and digital workflows that illustrate the stages of the EHCP process for SEND families. “Now we’re building a platform to share community and experience, and we also want to take the insights from that and build other useful things for parents,” said Rachel. “We also want to give SEND lawyers the tech we’re used to having in the commercial world, and we hope to serve as a model for other charities—because all charities have the challenge of digitizing, of getting access to and using scalable tools.”