Amanda Elliott, special educational needs campaigner poses for a portrait at home in Hackney, London, UK Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. When Callam was a toddler it was clear he was not like other children. When he was five he was diagnosed with autism. Her husband was later diagnosed with autism too.
In 2008 she helped set up the Hackney parent-carer forum. This group enabled parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to ask difficult questions of the local authority about provision, and reached out to isolated families. They also ran events on benefits and where to get help, advice and legal support. While working with the Forum Amanda found the council were increasingly calling them in for “co-production meetings” which were basically asking them how they could reduce services. In 2017, when there was another very big round of cuts, they decided to mobilise members against the local authority. They generated hundreds of responses to the consultation and organised a demonstration outside the town hall, with some children acting as delegates. The Council were taken aback by it. Previously the issue was not on their radar and now it was right in their face.  Despite this big impact the cuts continued, so they decided to crowdfund to mount a legal case against Hackney Council.(Elizabeth Dalziel)

2018: Hackney SEND parents’ protest

2018: Parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities launch a legal case against Hackney Council over cuts to education provision