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SEND Information Advice & Support Service

Thank you to Sendias Bathnes for putting this information together for us explaining what SEND Information, Advice and Support services are.

As part of the Children and Families Act 2014 it is a legal requirement that all local authorities ensure children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) & their parents have access to an impartial Information, Advice and Support (IAS) service.

The information, advice and support by a SENDIAS is:

  • Free
  • Confidential: We do not share that you have spoken to us with school, the Local Authority or anyone else unless you ask us to.  The exception to this is if we feel there is a safeguarding issue and this would be discussed with you before any contact was made.
  • Impartial – we do not take sides. We operate “at arm’s length” from the local authority.
  • Accurate – it is based on the law and policy

We offer legally-based advice about education, health and social care in relation to education. We provide useful resources, advice and support to make sure you know what you are entitled to.  We also offer training for parents and carers to enable you to make informed decisions.

Things we can help with:-

  • Help with paperwork.
  • Support at meetings – this may vary depending on location and needs
  • Explain the law and how processes work
  • Signpost you to other services
  • Help with complaints and appeals
  • Help with suspensions and/or exclusions
  • Work directly with children and young people
  • Listen to your concerns
  • Work with you to find a way forward
  • help you to have your voice heard
  • Our staff have legal training in SEND.

We can’t:

  • Provide financial advice e.g help with DLA/other benefit-related applications (but we would signpost you to Citizens Advice who can)
  • If you employ a solicitor we step away at that point as they are the legal experts

Your local Sendias is determined by where you live (think: who you pay your council tax to) rather than where your child goes to school. If you are moving into a new local authority the Sendias where you currently live can provide information and advice and you can contact the Sendias where your new home is once you have an address there.

If you need to find your local Sendias you can search here.

SEND Information and Advice Services in the South West: