Helping families and building better relationships: Celebrating 20 years of Enquire
Cat Thomson reflects on achievements made over two decades of the Scottish advice service for additional support for learning
This year Enquire celebrates a major milestone – 20 years of providing advice and information to children and young people with additional support needs, their families and the practitioners that work with them.
Our mission has always been to raise awareness of children’s right to additional support for learning and help families make informed decisions about their children’s education and support.
Through the advice and information we offer – via our telephone helpline, publications and websites – we hope all children are able to access the support they need to get the most from school.
How Enquire makes a difference
We know feeling informed can make a huge difference to families dealing with the many unknowns that come with having a child with additional support needs.
Families tell us that understanding the systems in place to ensure children get the support they need and knowing there is advice and information available to explain their options makes them feel more empowered.
This in itself can reduce anxiety and stress and hopefully avoids small, fixable issues escalating to become bigger problems.
Since 1999 we’ve provided advice and information to more than 21,000 people on our helpline, and disseminated over 111, 000 Parents’ Guides on additional support for learning. Since we relaunched our website in 2017, it's been viewed more than 250,000 times.
Feedback from families has included the following:
“As parents we felt frustrated trying to work through an educational maze. The lady on the phone listened to everything I had to say then gave some excellent advice in each area of concern. We found out things we didn’t already know and got great information through the post which we'll use in the future.”
“Enquire helped me to see a way through, and to feel less anxious and confused about how best to help our daughter in terms of assessment and support.”
We couldn’t celebrate 20 years without mentioning the important work Enquire does to reduce the stigma faced by some children who need extra support in school.
Through our children and young people's website Reach, we raise awareness of the range of reasons a child may need additional support and promote their rights to be listened to and involved in decisions about that support.
In addition, as partners in the My Rights, My Say children’s service we are able to help children aged 12 – 15 access advocacy support to be involved in decision about their support.
Families + Schools = Partners
At the heart of the advice and information we provide is the importance of building positive relationships.
That’s why we see our biggest strength as helping pupils, families and schools work together to make sure children get the support they need and ultimately get the most from their experience of school as they can.
Cat Thomson is Partnership Manager at Enquire