Our Mission

We empower and advocate for parents, carers, and professionals who support children and young people with Special Educational Needs & Disabilities.

OUR STORY

We were founded in 2017 by Chrissa Wadlow after her own gruelling battle to gain her daughter a suitable education provision.

Her journey, littered with injustice, was filled with a catalogue of errors and the family received very limited help from services they thought they could trust, creating irreparable damage for the entire family.

It took 2 SEND tribunals, a high court case and one final SEND tribunal for Chrissa to gain the educational placement her daughter needed. It shouldn’t be this hard.

Chrissa could not allow this to continue to happen, and so formed Sunshine Support to help other families navigate their way through the process of Special Educational Needs to ensure they received the RIGHT advice and guidance from trustworthy experts.

Her story has inspired thousands of families to seek justice and exercise their right to the law.

Who is Chrissa?

Incredibly focused and extraordinarily passionate about justice, Chrissa has extensive experience in business management and has a special interest in psychology, which has led to her winning awards for her commitment to the SEND community. Chrissa is proudly neurodivergent and is an outspoken ambassador for the Inflammatory Bowel Disease community, having lived with Crohn’s Colitis sine the age of 9. 

Chrissa has 4 daughters who keep her feeling alive every day and an incredibly empowering husband, Tom. As a family they can often be found deep in discussion about equity, kindness and how to make a difference. When she’s not working, Chrissa (in true ADHD fashion) can be found changing her hair – so don’t be alarmed if you see several ‘versions’ of her throughout this website!

When not working, Chrissa can be found fundraising for our SEND community, singing (with her own little Wadlow choir, of course), indulging in all important self-care and studying her MA in Autism and SEN at the University of South Wales (where she originates from!).

Meet our Team

MicrosoftTeams-image (12)

Jess

PA to Managing Director

Jess is an energetic and bubbly member of the team, having spent a lot of her career working with Autistic children with complex needs she is super empathetic and really understanding.  Super organised and always one step ahead, Jess helps keep Chrissa on track; making sure everything runs smoothly and ensuring her diary is effectively managed.

Jess is a SEND parent too, her youngest child has Down Syndrome, delayed development and sensory processing difficulties which, like many of us at Sunshine, has led Jess to learn more about additional needs and the EHCP process. She loves being able to support others, and you’ll come into contact with her a lot during your journey here at Sunshine – you may not even realise!

When she’s not fighting the great fight for equity and justice with team Sunshine, Jess likes long walks with her children and snuggling up with a good book (with a bar of Galaxy… Other chocolate brands are available!).

FullSizeRender

Emma

Support Co-ordinator

Emma describes herself as fun, friendly, and everybody’s cheerleader! Using her array of a admin skills she manages our enquires and keeps are busy team on top everything to ensure we provide everyone with the best possible experience. 

Emma has quite the career in working with children. Having worked in nurseries and actually owned and ran her own nursery, she’s very familiar in early years education and child development. She also has an NVQ 4 in Child Development in addition to a plethora of qualifications that relate to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. 

In her spare time Emma loves getting back to nature and taking her two dogs for long walks in the great outdoors. She’s also a big fan of crafting and learn all sort of fun new skills.

 

Kelly Jarvis 2

Kelly BA (Hons) English, PGCE Secondary English

Head of Advocacy & Consultancy

Kelly has a real passion for working with children with SEN.

Her interest in SEN and associated complexities inspired her to join the Cambian Group where she was Head of a highly specialist residential school for Autistic children.

This allowed Kelly to gain valuable experience in fulfilling EHCPs in order to ensure the best possible outcome. In addition, she has experience creating and designing innovative SEN specialist curriculums that are tailored to the individual and their needs.

Highly accomplished and motivated, Kelly has experience training school leaders and advocates in representing their educational establishments at SENDIST tribunals.

Kelly has been powerfully advocating for families at Sunshine since 2021, and her impact is far reaching; the success she has seen is absolutely incredible.

In her spare time Kelly enjoys playing guitar, hiking in the countryside and writing with the dream of one day publishing a book.

Charlotte

Senior Advocate & Educational Consultant

Charlotte has worked with children for over 20 years and is passionate about each child meeting their full potential and has been a Sunshine Advocate since 2021. She believes that SEN should not be a barrier to progress and that with the right provision and understanding, every individual can thrive. 

As a qualified specialist teacher, Charlotte has worked with a wide range of age groups and has spent a large part of her career as a an Educational SEN Advisor to schools and early years settings; she has a wealth of experience in early identification, intervention and support.

Charlotte feels passionately that we achieve the best outcomes for our children though coproduction. She is experienced in bringing parents, professionals, and settings together to support the needs of the child and is outstanding at mediating.

Along with her advocacy work, Charlotte is responsible for delivering bespoke training to professionals at Sunshine on a very wide range of topics, and she is an authorised trainer by the Autism Education Trust (AET).

Charlotte is our Education Queen; if there’s a creative reasonable adjustment that can be made to improve inclusion then Charlotte will know what it is! She’s great at getting them implemented successfully, too!

In her spare time, Charlotte is studying for a Masters in Psychology and hopes to one day retrain as an Educational Psychologist. To relax, Charlotte enjoys spending time in her garden and baking.

20210424_125236 2

Jess

Legal Adviser

Jessica has worked in the legal sector for a number of years and has spent a significant amount of time specialising in SEND Law. She considers that everyone has the right to understand the legal sector and be supported to help their children access their education.

Following completion of her degree, Jessica joined a leading law firm in Education Law and developed a detailed understanding of the Tribunal process, the legislation and regulations underpinning SEND law and how to support parents through the legal process.

Jessica is very passionate about supporting parents and ensuring that the legal process is understandable to parents without unnecessary legal jargon. Jessica feels it is important that public bodies are held accountable for failings when they detriment a child’s ability to access the education they deserve and wants to support parents through this daunting process.  

Jessica aspires to qualify as a Solicitor to continue her work in the legal sector supporting parents through the SEND Tribunal.

In her spare time, Jessica likes to bake with her son and spend time with her array of pets.

Nicole

SEND Advocate

Nicole came to the SEN world through lived experience. She has three fabulous children who each present their own unique style for taking on life each day.

Through her children Nicole learned how tricky the SEN world can be, how no two children or professionals approach things in the same way.

Through a conversation with the Education Funding Agency about an issue her child was having at school, she was encouraged to take her knowledge further, something she hadn’t as a parent carer thought to do.

This pushed Nicole to study for a law degree via Open University, mostly in school car parks, on the side-lines of sports training or late at night when the children were asleep. All the while she was continuing to support parents via both a local charity and a national one.

Since completing her degree she has continued to advocate for parents, it is why she studied, to try and make the whole process simpler.

Nicole spends her spare time travelling, walking the dogs, being taxi driver for her kids and  is at her happiest when crafting with a cold glass of pino.

Gabby

Advocate & Educational Consultant

Gabby started her career in Early Years, in Birmingham, when she moved to the North East where she worked as a Specialist Language Provision teacher and SENDCo, for 14 years.

Not only does Gabby hold a first-class honours degree in early education and a masters degree in Language and Communication in Children (LACIC), but she also holds additional qualifications in working with PANS/PANDAS children, having lived experience of this herself. It has to be said, she’s quite the academic!

Gabby has a particular interest in working with children with Developmental Language Disorder and has previously worked alongside a highly specialist speech and language therapy team in the North East for over ten years; collaboration and working with outside agencies are a particular strength of hers.

In her spare time, Gabby loves going to gigs and rock festivals. At weekends she can often be found sewing or browsing the local crystal shop! She also enjoys spending time with her family and friends at the beach, hunting for sea glass.

Ashley

Accounts & Finance

Ashley is AAT qualified and has many years experience within the Accounts & Finance sector, previously working for Nestle.

Ashley has tremendous experience in big and small companies as a bookkeeper, and her expertise has been very welcome here at Sunshine since she joined in 2021. Ashley organises the accounts for us, provides support to clients relating to their payments and is a fantastic member of the team who we all rely on heavily.

Ashley has worked with families that home educate, where school hasn’t always been the most suitable place for children, helping families connect and also find work and training around home education. She is a huge ambassador of quality home education and trauma responsive approaches to parenting and teaching children. 

When taking a break from all the numbers, Ashley can be found enjoying a walk with her two dogs and three children.

Jessica

Events Co-ordinator

An Essex girl originally from Southend-on-Sea, Jessica moved to Derbyshire to complete her degree in events management at The University of Derby in 2017.

Jessica has worked in events management for over 12 years, having a particular passion for events in the education and charity sector. Jessica’s first event in 2011, a female fronted charity event for breast cancer called “Boobie Nights”, rose over £700 and set her on the career path she is on now.

Jessica now uses her excellent organisational skills to manage and co-ordinate the webinars and in-person at Sunshine Support.

Out of working hours, Jessica enjoys the surrounding Peak District and attending local community events.

George

George

Media Co-Ordinator

George has lived experience with SEN, having gone through the education system and eventually diagnosed with ADHD as a young adult. It’s the combination of personal experience and intuitive nature that allows him to write from a personal and relatable perspective. George has been providing amazing content, ideas and events at Sunshine since 2020.

Although originally from west Wales, George currently resides in south-east London where he is studying a BA in Journalism at Goldsmiths University of London. Once completed, he intends to go on to do a master’s degree.

George comes from a “neurodivergent” family. Having grown up with an older Autistic brother and a mother who has Autism and ADHD, he has gained a valuable insight into the day-to-day challenges that neurodivergent people and their families face. George produces fabulously well researched and empathetic content for families and professionals to benefit from and he organises our events to ensure they’re informative and empowering.

When not working or studying, George can be found attempting to master one of the many instruments he has taken up over the years or reading a good book with a glass of merlot in hand!

Katrina

Media Producer

Broadcast Media with English Literature BA (Hons) 

Katrina has worked in film and content production for 12 years whilst also managing a variety of community-based projects. With a lot of those being based around positive mental health in children.

With a passion for learning and lived experience of being a SEND parent, Katrina will be creating content for our platforms with education and accessibility in mind.  

Katrina has a busy household of five children and a menagerie of pets to keep her on her toes. But when she does find time away from home you can find her Wrestling under the name Cherry Skye.

“A huge thank you to Sunshine Support for showing us we are not alone and giving us knowledge, understanding and hope. Chrissa has turned her awful journey into something so positive. You are truly amazing.”

Parent | East Mids | 2022

“There were so many light bulb moments attending my first Sunshine Support training workshop. Excellent trainer, and the option to have the advice clinic is just what parents need. Thank you!”

Parent | Midlands | 2018

“I was about to fork out for private assessments, not really knowing if they would be accepted or make a difference. Then I spoke to Marguerite, she gave me focus and saved me a fortune. My son is thriving now!”

Parent | London | 2020

“WOW. People say the EHCP process is stressful. Marguerite supported us from start to finish and I didn’t experience any stress at all! She handled it all meaning I could be a parent! And we won our case with no tribunal!”

Parent | Manchester | 2020