Part of a series of true stories reflecting the struggles of SEND children and families in Birmingham recorded by Laura and Paul from Children’s Quarter during 2021/22. See the Stories Without Pictures index.
B came to Birmingham from another EU country with her son. It was clear – though she was too polite to say it directly – that she found her experience in this city a real contrast to the help she received elsewhere. B reflected back to us a nightmarish picture of the system in Birmingham – where no one appears to know what they are doing; and it feels there is no one to help you…
“My son is 12 years old and he is in year 7. I am new in this country – so he has his diagnosis from back home in (the EU country) where he was born. The issue I faced is that I requested an EHC plan for my son and still we don’t have anyone to help us. First I sent everything in and (the response) was’ Ok… we’ll let you know.’ And then (the response) was no ‘We have no principal officer’ and then there was ‘We will contact you’. And then (they said): ‘There is no one (here to help you) any more.’
“So, I have been busy with this for two years now; with ‘yes’ and ‘no’. No one knows anything and no one can tell you anything. When they sent something, they sent it to the wrong people. When we started, (my son) was in primary school; he’s now in secondary school. They sent everything to the primary school that he had already left. By the time I said ‘OK, you are doing the wrong thing’, they said ‘Oh, there is no one now to help you and still more ‘yes’ and ‘no’.
“Now, in the secondary school, the educational psychologist contacted them and they still can’t say who can help us in the whole SENA (special educational needs assessment). For now the secondary school is helping him, supporting him in everything. The frustration is that you don’t know; there is no one to help you; they are the people you need to help you – who have to help you – but you have nobody to help you.”