We have a group of trained volunteer Independent Advice Supporters (IAS) who are able to support parents who have children with special educational needs.Volunteer logo

Our volunteers may be able to attend meetings with you or help you to put your views in writing.

How can IAS volunteers help parents?

IAS volunteers may be able to help in a variety of ways:

  • By listening to what you have to say.
  • Helping you think about options and talk through decisions.
  • Helping you to understand the timetable for an EHC Needs Assessment and to complete any relevant documents as part of the needs assessment.
  • Helping you to complete annual review paperwork.
  • Finding out information on your behalf, with your permission.
  • Helping you to prepare for school meetings and/or attend meetings with you.
  • Our IAS volunteers can refer at all times to SEND IASS staff for advice and support.

Who are IAS volunteers?

IAS volunteers may be parents themselves, or they may have experience of working in schools, or they may just be interested individuals who have an empathy with parents of children with special educational needs.

They should possess the following skills and personal attributes:

  • Willingness to listen and an empathy with parents.
  • An understanding of the types of difficulties parents face.
  • A working knowledge of special educational needs.
  • Fully IPSEA trained – (Independent Provider of Special Education Advice).

What IAS volunteers will not do

IAS volunteers will not make professional judgements about you or your child, or make decisions for you.

Our IAS’s are there to support you and they will not work directly with professionals. They will only communicate with professionals with your permission.

The IAS’s role is to assist you with specific issues concerning your child’s special educational needs. They are not able to get involved in other ways with your family, though they can refer to the SEND IASS staff to help you to locate other sources of support.