Recognition for one of our leading lights

One of the National Children Bureau’s longest-serving and most influential members of staff has received a prestigious award in recognition of over three decades championing SEN and disability rights.

Image of Philippa Stobbs

Philippa Stobbs, who has worked for NCB and the Council for Disabled Children for more than 32 years and retires this December, collected the Person of the Year at nasen’s annual awards.

Also nominated in the Person of the Year category was Joe Fautley, project assistant in the NCB’s Health team, while the Early Years SEND Partnership also made the shortlist for the Early Years Provision award.

Having begun her career as a teacher and then inspector, Philippa joined the Council for Disabled Children (CDC) in 1990 and has played an integral role in most of its work ever since.

She has campaigned tirelessly for change, bringing disparate voices together, and consulting closely when the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 was extended to education.

In 1992, she set up the Special Educational Consortium (SEC) to create a national campaign and lobbying voice for the disabled children’s sector.

Under Philippa’s guidance and leadership, SEC brought about a number of important changes to the Children and Families Act in 2014, including the application of the legal framework to young people in custody, and stronger duties on health and social care services.

She also helped to establish and develop parent partnership services (now known as the Information, Advice and Support Services Network) and from 2008 to 2010 she was seconded into the Department for Education as professional adviser on SEN and disability.

In addition to her role as Assistant Director: Education at NCB, Philippa is the national coordinator for England in the European Agency for Special Needs and inclusive Education. She has also served as a trustee of an autism charity and Chair of Governors of a non-maintained special school.

Philippa and team celebrate her winning Person of the Year at the 2022 annual nasen awards

Philippa and team celebrate her award at the sixth nasen annual awards

“I felt very excited when I was short-listed for this Award, but I feel honoured, and a bit overwhelmed, to have won it amongst so many people who have contributed so much. I have a passion for the work I do when I can see that it makes a real difference. So a massive thank you to nasen for valuing and celebrating this difference through the Award.”

Philippa Stobbs, Assistant Director: Education

Chief Executive of nasen, Annamarie Hassall MBE said: “Philippa Stobbs should be extremely proud of what she has achieved. Our judges wished to celebrate her many achievements over the years, through work that has shone throughout her time in the sector. As she approaches retirement, we are delighted to acknowledge and celebrate her life’s work.”

nasen – the national association for special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) – is a membership charity that champions, connects and supports those working with and for children and young people with SEND and learning differences.

The annual nasen awards, now in their sixth year and held in Birmingham, celebrate the achievements of individuals and organisations within the SEND sector.

  • More details about Philippa's work are available on the Council for Disabled Children's website here.
The nasen 2022 awards winner logo