The Hall Triathlon Team

Hall Tri Team raising funds for Support SEND Kids

Fundraising for Support SEND Kids Limited
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Event: Blenheim Palace Triathlon 2024, from 1 June 2024 to 2 June 2024 Start fundraising for this event
Support SEND Kids Limited

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Story

2024 celebrates 10 years of The Hall School Triathlon Team and the farewell ride of the Tour de Godwin (TDG), a grand finale to Chris and Sue Godwin's time at The Hall School. Please give generously to support this year’s important cause and help SEND children access the education they need to thrive.

Who we are

The triathlon team, an inclusive group of mums, dads, teachers, and friends of the Hall School, is undertaking its annual challenge to complete a sprint triathlon at Blenheim Palace on Sunday 2 June. On the same morning, a group of intrepid cyclists will undertake the 115km from London to Oxfordshire, fondly named the Tour de Godwin, to arrive at Blenheim Palace in time to cheer on the triathletes.

The triathlon and Tour de Godwin are a huge personal challenge for each member of the team. Many of our triathletes battle the winter months to build up strength and stamina to swim 750 in open water, conquer the London roads to prepare for the 21km cycle leg and finally drag themselves from the couch to train for the 5km run. For the cyclists, the 115km cycle ride will test their endurance over the Chiltern hills, their spirits on the long stretches and their resolve as they tick off the miles.

Support SEND Kids (SSK)

This year about 50 of us are participating to raise money for Support SEND Kids (SSK). SEND defines a wide range of Special Educational Needs or Disabilities. These can be physical challenges but over 70% are ‘invisible’. This includes neurodiverse children, those with ADHD, Autism, dyslexia and other, often combined, learning difficulties.

SSK believes passionately in the right of every child to get a good education. Yet, there are 1 million school age children with SEND, including a number at the Hall, who face desperate and often invisible struggles to access learning, navigate friendships, or just survive the school day. SSK works hard so SEND children don’t get left behind, or left out of, education.

• 11% school aged children have a disability (defined by the Equality Act 2010) out of 9.4million school aged children.

• 51% of children must wait longer than 20 weeks for help they urgently need.

• 90% success rate for parents who go to appeal for a needs assessment. Evidence that local authorities turn down most applications unjustifiably. Children, whose parents don’t appeal, miss the chance for the right educational support and get left behind.

“Unfortunately, navigating the SEND system is, in the words of the House of Commons Education Committee, a ‘bureaucratic nightmare’ ...SEND families often have to resort to legal action. This is typically a lengthy, gruelling and expensive experience for families ... precious time is wasted in pointless legal fighting. Support SEND Kids is a new charity on a mission to change this. ... By providing online resources to SEND families going through the EHCP application process, we want to give families the help they need, when they need it, free of charge. No SEND child should miss out on the right educational support simply because their parents cannot afford expensive legal proceedings” Education Today, Oct 2021

Imagine if all children facing the race to literacy and numeracy, stand in a row at the start of a running track, those with SEND face a long line of invisible hurdles which they must jump before they reach the finish line. The hurdles leave them exhausted, often demoralised with so many more ahead, and worst of all, most people can’t see them and assume the child is lazy or naughty.

“From my community of fellow parents of children with disabilities, I have heard some truly heart-breaking stories: a two year old child being excluded from nursery because he has epilepsy and his seizures are “stressing out” the staff; another family being refused a place at more than five nurseries once those establishments learned their child was disabled; a child with sensory processing disorder who was punished by teachers for not wearing their itchy school jumper... a child who is a wheelchair user being excluded from a school trip to an adventure playground” Education Business, March 2023, Caroline Withers, Trustee

How heart-breaking if this is your child, imagine the stress and anxiety of not knowing where to turn and what to do. The stories of families whose children have SEND are desperately moving, because, despite the laws that are in place to protect these most vulnerable children and protect their right to education, the system is hard to access, chaotic and unnecessarily adversarial. For many parents, the barriers can feel insurmountable: confidence in navigating the system, confusion about their rights, cost of advice. Without the right support children can struggle to survive in school.

“The challenge of assisting children, young people and adults with the often oppressive disability and other related challenges they face is huge and we are proud to be supporting the Support SEND Kids efforts to bring greater transparency and availability of clear and accurate answers to the SEND community of parents, practitioners and educators. As parents of SEND children ourselves, we know how important this is.” Learning Disability Today, Nov 2022, Mandy Aulak and Sean Kennedy, Talem Law

Every donation you make will have a big difference on helping SEND children reach the educational provision they need. The charity’s 2-year objective, boosted by the tri team, is to get more of the right information in front of more of the right people to effect immediate change. This means upskilling parents to know exactly what to ask for and how to ask, it means teaching SENCOs which routes through the SEND laws will get the best outcome for each child. And it means maximising the pro bono delivered by junior lawyers, by providing training modules so many more lawyers can advise.

What difference can we make

£20-40k raised: can deliver on the urgent need to present the no-nonsense information in more accessible forms, such as step-by-step and audio guides. Giving more parents the confidence to navigate the process, making education accessible to more children. We estimate our reach to be 10,000+ parents.

An additional £20-40k: can produce and deliver online training modules to upskill lawyers to deliver more pro bono support for parents. We estimate our reach to be 1,000+ lawyers.

£80-100k raised: can deliver a SSK conference which would have a significant impact on the SEND legal landscape and accelerate much needed systemic change. Delivering fast-track training and information for lawyers, schools, and parents. Outcome, a possible 1000+ in person (5000 online) delegates ready to deliver change for the SEND children in their care. Results for SEND children would be a rapid improvement on delivering to their needs. Reach estimated 20,000+ children.

“After nearly 30 interviews with parents of SEND kids, it is clear that the fight to get their child the right provision adds huge mental load to already exhausted parents. But when the system works and the right education is in place, SEND children can amaze everyone. Each child is unique and faces a personal set of challenges but often it only takes small adjustments to enable them to get the most out of their education.” Bryter 2021, interview with Tamsin Ogilvie, UX strategist

About the charity

Support SEND Kids Limited

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