Communities Empowerment Network - Education advocate volunteer

  • Job type: Volunteer role
  • Location: London

About the opportunity

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) are 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 minimize 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 second or third year of a law degree.

Volunteer time required

We are ideally looking for people who can work at least one day a week as this ensures sufficient time to prepare, deliver and close cases with a minimum of three months commitment.

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 organization 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 & verbal skills;
  • Ability to manage tasks in an assertive, efficient and timely manner;
  • Intermediate proficiency in IT (MS - Office).

Please have a look at our website to find out more about our charity and its work.

To apply, return the following documents to

  • 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.

Communities Empowerment Network
Shakespeare Business Centre
Unit 104 245a Coldharbour Lane
London SW9 8RR

Office: 020 7733 0297

CEN is funded by the Big Lottery, BBC Children in Need, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Henry Smith Charity, Sir John Lyon Charity, Mercers Company.