This page answers the questions that we often hear from parents, carers and young people about our service. If you still have queries after reading this page, please do not hesitate to contact us.
What is a Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS)?
The Children and Families Act 2014 says local authorities must provide information advice and support about special educational needs (SEN), disability, health and social care for children, young people and parents.
The SEND Code of Practice says:
This means that every local authority should provide a service that is free, easy to access and confidential and that can help children, parents and young people take part in decisions that affect their lives.
The ‘Local Offer ’ must include information about the sources of information, advice and support for parents, children and young people and how this is resourced.
In Leicester City, SENDIASS Leicester provides our service to parents and carers of young people aged 0-25 with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND), professionals who work with them, as well as young people themselves.
The Children and Families Act 2014 Section 20 defines Special Educational Needs as the following:
- A child or young person has Special Educational Needs if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.
- A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:
(a) has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or
(b) has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions.
- A child under compulsory school age has special educational needs if he or she is likely to fall within the definition above when they reach compulsory school age or would do so if special educational provision was not made for them.”
The information, advice and support that we offer are firmly based in the law and the SEND Code of Practice. The SEND Code of Practice says:
In accordance with this guidance, we provide unbiased information and advice about the local authority’s policies and procedures and about the policy and practice in local schools and other settings.
We do not give priority to any particular impairment, disability or special educational need, nor do we campaign for any particular approach to education.
By being impartial we aim to help parents, children and young people have clear, accurate and relevant information that will help them take part in decisions about their lives.
It is very easy to be biased. Everyone has opinions about most things! Sometimes people can be biased without even realising it.
That is why we really value your opinion about the information, advice and support we offer. We want you to tell us if you think we are not impartial. To help us check that we are impartial we routinely ask those who use our service to say whether they think we have been biased one way or another.
At SENDIASS Leicester we follow a national set of Minimum Standards developed by the Network of Information, Advice and Support Services. This helps us to monitor the effectiveness of our service we provide and ensure that it is ‘at arms’ length’ from the local authority.
By this we mean that we act, and are seen to act, separately and impartially, with no undue influence or control from either the local authority or the Clinical Commissioning Group in our area.
We also publish an Annual Report that includes information on what people tell us about our service.
We offer accurate, up to date and impartial resources and information about the law on special educational needs and disability. This covers:
- education, health and social care
- national and local policy
- the Local Offer
- your rights and choices
- your opportunities to participate
- where you can find help and advice
- how you can access this support
Sometimes information alone is not enough. You may want help to gather information, make sense of it and apply it to your own situation. We call this advice and we offer this service by email, on the telephone, face to face and through work with groups or in training.
We can also offer more intensive support if you need it. This can include helping with letters, attending meetings with you or supporting you in discussions with the local authority, school or other setting. We may be able to help you find a key worker or a volunteer who can support you.
When we are not able to help we will do our best to tell you about, or put you in touch with other groups or organisations that can help. We call this signposting.
YES! We will not share your information with anyone unless you tell us we can. The only exception to this would be because we have a specific concern about a child’s safety.
We will often work with parents and children or young people together. Sometimes we will work with them separately. When we do this the same confidentiality rules apply.