Independent special needs consultancy offering a service to schools, children and families. Nicola Durrant is an experienced specialist teacher, a trainer for ‘The Autism Education Trust’ and a teacher/assessor of dyslexia. Other team members of ACE-SEN include an Autism Specialist Support, Early Years Consultant, EHCP Consultant and a hairdresser for special educational needs children.
As a Special Educational Needs & Disability (SEND) Consultant, my extensive experience and passion in this field has enabled me to successfully support families, children and young people with Special Needs as well as supporting Schools and Educational professionals. Speaking from a professional and personal stance, having gone through the EHCP process, I have full empathy with parents and appreciate that this can be overwhelming at times.
My extensive career within the SEND department of Essex County Council spanned over 18 years, where I was working within the Statutory Assessment Service as a Locality Casework Manager. I undertook the processes relating to the initiation and progression of requests for EHCPs and as a line manager, had the responsibility of supervising and monitoring the casework and Educational Health Care Needs Assessments (EHCNA) to ensure the statutory responsibilities and the local authority’s policies were adhered to. I have extensive experience and success with supporting parents and schools with managing a child’s EHCP, amending EHCPs, attending annual reviews, mediation meetings, complex cases, children at risk of school placement breakdown or exclusion and prepared paperwork for Tribunals and Appeals.
Currently, I work alongside a number of local authorities within the South East and West of England, including London, covering a range of special educational needs advice to the authority and their SEN families. I make panel decisions as to whether a child or young person requires an Educational Health Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA), based on the request paperwork submitted. I regularly check and issue draft EHCPs liaising with parents in relation to any amendments that may be required. Working as a consultant SEND Auditor for children and young people with EHCPs, I ensure the quality of those plans. I offer advice, guidance, and I also challenge where necessary to ensure processes and procedures met statutory obligations. I have since received a further request to embark on further auditing at another local authority after being personally recommended by the SEN Department and SEN Parent Forums.
As a SEND consultant I can offer to attend school-based meetings to negotiate, mediate and resolve any complex issues that may need challenging, ensuring a positive outcome for the child, parent and professionals involved. I support families and schools where a decision not to proceed with an (EHCNA) Education Health Care Needs Assessment has been issued, providing advice and guidance through this process. Parents and school settings feel supported, ensuring their voice is heard and have the confidence to proceed and focus their energies along the appropriate route. I am delighted to be part of ACE-SEN Consultancy, working alongside other likeminded professionals to ensure positive outcomes for families and children. I am keen to support parents and settings in understanding the complex paperwork processes involved when embarking on an EHCP request and any potential ongoing issues.