Special needs support

Parents struggling to place special needs children in appropriate education will soon be able to access a free national Jewish consultancy service.

The facility is being provided by Cheshire-based Jewish special needs school Delamere Forest, which says it will offer advice regardless of where callers live and which school their child attends.

Planned assistance includes a monthly drop-in clinic at North Manchester's Jewish Cultural Centre. Parents in other parts of the UK can consult Delamere's experts by telephone, although school head Harvey Burman says plans are afoot to establish a similat clinic in London.

"I feel a responsibility to help any Jewish child encountering educational difficulties regardless of whether they come to Delamere," he said. "I'm increasingly aware of many families who are struggling with local authority funding and diagnosis."

As an example of the bureaucratic barriers facing parents, Mr Burman points out that Delamere has six boarding vacancies despite applications from 12 families. "We fight these battles with local authorities every day. We want to share that experience."

    Last updated: 10:13am, November 6 2008