Event Schedule

9:30 - 10:00

Registration & refreshments

10:00 - 10:15

Welcome from Kerrie Highcock, family development manager at NEAS



10.15 - 11:00

Tracey Huggins

SEND’n Mam round the Bend: The SEND World According to Me

Tracey is a mental health advocate, a counsellor, a blogger, and the mum of three kids, including one she describes as a “very complicated little sassy soul.”

Tracey set up her blog “The SEND world according to me” in the midst of the Covid pandemic and it grew substantially from there. She is the CEO of Choice Wellbeing Service, supporting the mental health and wellbeing of parent carers.

11:00 - 11.15




11.15 - 12:00

Claire Stirland

Sensory eating differences


Claire qualified as an occupational therapist in 2005 and worked within the NHS for 18 years before setting up Sensory Work, a specialist sensory and OT service for children, young people and adults in County Durham. As a qualified sensory integration therapist, Claire is passionate about improving understand of sensory differences across society

12:00 - 12.30


Lunch Break  


12:30 - 1:15


Louise Parker Engels

Emotionally-based school avoidance

Louise is the co-founder of Not Fine in School, a family support group, and Define Fine, a parent/carer-led organisation for school attendance difficulties. A former primary school teacher, Louise is an experienced advocate and a freelance writer. She is parent to three boys who each struggle with school.

1:15 - 1.30


1.30 - 2:15

Rachel Smurthwaite

Navigating the SEND process for support

Rachel is a Newcastle-based solicitor specialising in education law with a particular focus on securing suitable provision for children and young people with special education needs and/or disabilities. She represents families in SEND tribunal appeals throughout England and Wales, advises on EHC assessments and plans, and assists with school admission and exclusion appeals. She is also a member of the Parent Carer Forum by her company Irwin Mitchell.

2:15 - 2.45

Q & A Panel

 All speakers 

2:45 - 3:00

Closing comments and evaluations 

 Kerrie Highcock 


Refreshments will be provided throughout the day. Please bring your own lunch or there is also a cafe on site at the Linkskill Centre. 

The conference will be recorded and videos will be sent to people who have registered for the event. 

Places are limited so if you would like to join us, please register for the event by signing up below. 

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