SEND Action is a UK network of families, individuals and organizations committed to upholding the rights of children and young people with special educational needs/disabilities (SEND) and improving accountability within the SEND system. We currently receive no funding; this was a conscious choice to preserve our independence and to avoid compromising our right to campaign. We are a grassroots organization fuelled by the commitment of our core team of volunteers and our many allies.
We started out as several small groups of families campaigning against local cuts to SEND provision, and became aware of one another when families in Bristol, Surrey and Hackney took Judicial Reviews against their local authorities. It was clear that the difficulties we faced in securing appropriate support were deep-rooted and systemic, and replicated across the country; this was a national problem that required national solutions.
In 2018 we joined with other local groups facing similar issues to form SEND Action, so that we could share experiences and knowledge, and have a more powerful and coordinated voice. Word spread quickly and more groups joined us, hundreds and then thousands of people all doing their bit to make a difference.
Together, we crowdfunded for a legal challenge to the government's SEND funding policy by families from Birmingham, East Sussex and North Yorkshire, a challenge that reached the High Court. We have lobbied councillors and ministers, and worked with human rights organizations, charities, education groups and the media to raise awareness of the extent of the SEND crisis.
We believe children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and their families should be at the heart of all decision-making that affects them, not as bystanders but as real participants, deciding their own futures and steering the direction of SEND policy and practice at local and national level. That's why we have come together with Special Needs Jungle and SEND Crisis to form the Independent SEND Community Alliance, working with other SEND groups and allies to bring about meaningful, positive change.