Communities Empowerment Network (CEN) is looking to recruit education advocate volunteers who will advise and represent parents and their children who are excluded from school at governor disciplinary committees and independent review panels.

  • All volunteers in this role must be law graduates or at least in their third year of a law degree.
  • Advocates are trained and supervised by CEN's legal officers to work in real life scenarios.
  • Educational exclusion cases can be challenging but very rewarding as the outcomes can be life changing for the young person involved.
  • Some legal students have a unique opportunity to focus on special educational needs.

If you are interested in becoming an education Advocate please read more about the role below and book on to our next introductory Advocacy Training day.

If you are an existing legal Advocate interested in sharing and learning from your work experience please read more about our Knowledge Transfer events.

Watch our video for volunteer legal advocates.

Why volunteer with CEN?

What sets CEN apart from other legal charities is our approach to supervision. All volunteers are allocated to a personal legal expert who is on call via email, telephone or for face-to-face supervision.

CEN provides law students with cases, training, oversight and administrative support.

Positive outcomes

Over 80% of parents reported that there had been no further exclusions of their child after three months of receiving advice, support and representation from CEN's team of advocates.

Experience with CEN provides law students with a unique selling point on pupillage applications.

+Education Advocate - job description and how to apply-Education Advocate - job description and how to apply

Communities Empowerment Network - Education Advocate volunteer

  • Job type: Volunteer role
  • Location: London

The education advocate will advise, support and represent parents and their children excluded from school at governor disciplinary committee meetings (GDCs) and independent review panels (IRPs).

Communities Empowerment Network (CEN), an education advocacy charity based in Lambeth and providing a London-wide service, is looking to recruit education advocate volunteers who will advise and represent parents and their children who are excluded from school at governor disciplinary committees and independent review panels.

About CEN

CEN was founded in 1999 by a group of lawyers, educators and social workers concerned with the level of school exclusions affecting African-Caribbean children in particular. CEN provides a London-wide service to mainly African and African-Caribbean parents by offering advice, support and representation for their children who have either been excluded from school or are at risk of permanent exclusion. The service aims to both help minimise the use of school exclusion in the first place, as well as to counter its damaging effects by facilitating a swift return to full-time, mainstream education.

CEN's model for service delivery is based on providing advocates and representatives for parent/s and their child at governor's hearings, independent review panels where the decision to exclude a pupil can be challenged by the parent on principles outlined in education law and the Department for Education guidance on school exclusions.

What are we looking for?

All volunteers in this role must be law graduates or at least in their third year of a law degree.

Volunteer time required

We are ideally looking for people who can work a minimum of two days a week as this ensures sufficient time to prepare, deliver and close cases with a minimum of six months commitment. However, we know that people have different circumstances so this is not a rigid requirement. As long as a volunteer can commit sufficient time to preparing and delivering a case we can often make this work.

What can you expect from us?

You will gain a wealth of experience working in a small, warm and supportive environment with a team of advocates who hold a real passion and dedication towards supporting parents committed to keeping their children in mainstream education and therefore avoiding all the pitfalls of being out of school.

We offer an induction which includes a one day education advocacy training programme, opportunities to shadow and are supported by our advocates as well as experience of preparing and representing clients at governor disciplinary committee meetings (GDCs) and independent review panels (IRPs.) This will give you considerable experience which will be valuable in any legal environment.

You will also gain an insight and understanding of how the education system operates, often to the detriment of certain marginalised groups.

You will have the opportunity to be a real contribution to young people and their families by providing them with free, independent and expert representation at hearings and appeals. CEN are the only organisation in the UK providing this service free at the point of delivery.

You will also be trained and gain experience in using one of the one of the world’s leading CRM databases which you will use to assist in recording and tracking your casework. We also pay travel expenses up to a maximum of £5 per day.

These are busy and demanding roles and a high standard of performance is expected with the ability to deal sensitively with clients and experts. Successful applicants must demonstrate:

  • Genuine passion for working with a leading charity advocacy organisation and about providing access to justice to all
  • Excellent written and verbal skills
  • Ability to manage tasks in an assertive, efficient and timely manner
  • Intermediate proficiency in IT (MS - Office).

How to apply

Please return the following documents to Janet Richard (janet@  ):

  • A covering letter stating why you are interested and match the person specification
  • A copy of your up-to-date CV

CEN is committed to equality and diversity and welcomes applications from all sections of the community. A copy of the equality and diversity policy is available upon request.