SEND Information, Advice and Support Service SENDIASS

parent partnership service

SEND Information, Advice and Support Service

Since April 2013 Family Lives has been running a SEND Information, Advice and Support Service to Croydon residents providing independent information, advice and guidance for parents/carers of children and young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN). The Parent Partnership Service has changed its name to SEND information, advice and support service (SENDIASS).

What is SEND Support?

SEND Support is a statutory service which is run at ‘arm’s length’ from the Special Educational Needs decision makers and aims to provide free, confidential, impartial advice, guidance and support to parents of children with special educational needs, including the very young and to young people aged between 16 and 25 with SEND . It aims to promote good working relationships between parents, education settings and the LA, whilst seeking to empower parents to play an active and informed role in their child’s education.

What support is available?

It provides a range of flexible services which include training, access to Independent Parental Supporters (IPS) on request, referral to other statutory and voluntary agencies, access to local and national support groups, telephone support and face to face meetings. Independent Parental Supporters are trained volunteers who can support and encourage parents to feel confident to take an equal part in making decisions about their children, and can help by:

  • Listening to any worries and concerns
  • Helping to understand the SEN Assessment procedures
  • Assisting with letter and report writing
  • Giving confidence to express views
  • Accompanying parents to meetings and visits to schools
  • Helping parents to draw up a profile of their child
  • Obtaining further information
  • Remaining calm and reassuring

The information, advice and support offered by SEND Support service will be impartial, confidential, accessible and free.

SEND Support staff are all independently trained in SEND law and practice. The obligations and expectations of an IAS Service are set out in Chapter 2 of the SEND Code of Practice and
the standards expected of SENDIASS can be found in the IASS Network Quality Standards. You can call us at SEND Support on 020 3131 3150 between 9.00 -5.00 each day for referrals or you can email us at

Information, advice and support is available with regard to the assessment process for Education, Health and Care Plans, support available in nurseries, schools and colleges for those with SEN or disabilities, as well as social care and health issues that are related to education.

Individual casework and support in preparing for and attending meetings can resolve many disagreements which may arise, but SEND Support also offers advice through Appeals and Complaints processes if appropriate.

As the law now expects young people over the age of 16 to have the right to participate in decisions about the provision that is made for them, SEND Support offers confidential and impartial information, advice and support to young people on their own, although in many cases parents and carers will still be involved.

As well as providing advice and casework regarding SEN and disabilities, SEND Support is expected to ensure that parents, carers and young people are kept informed and consulted with on any local SEND policy and practice.

Further support

SEND Support runs SEND Drop Ins every Thursday 10am-12 noon (term –time only) at Winterbourne Youth Centre, Winterbourne Youth Hub, (it is after Winterbourne Junior Boys’ School on the same road) Winterbourne Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey, CR7 7QT. No need to book, just drop in! In addition, SEND Support works closely with the local Parent Carer Forum (PIP) and the network of Independent Supporters. 

Useful information for parents

Croydon Local Offer

Confidentiality Policy

Impartiality Policy 

Guidelines for disagreeing with Local Authority

How can you recognise your child has SEN

What are special educational needs

What is an independent parent supporter

What your child's school can do to help

PPS in Lithuanian

Strategy sheet ADHD/ADD

Strategy sheet Aspergers/Autism

How we can help you

If you would like support and advice, you can talk to one of our Family Support Workers through Live Chat, email us or call our confidential helpline on 0808 800 2222. You can also share experiences and advice with other parents on our Forums.  Family Lives is here for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can contact us about any family issue, big or small.

Listening, supportive and non-judgemental