Providing information, advice and support to parents, children and young people about SEND since 1989

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Our service

What does our service do?

From 1st September 2014, the Parent Partnership Service in every local authority changed to the Information, Advice and Support Service. Supportive Parents continues to provide free, confidential and impartial information, advice and support (IAS) to parents and carers, and children with any type of special educational need and/or disabilities (SEND). We have extended our service to offer support to young people aged 16 – 25 with SEND, in line with the requirements of the Children and Families Act 2014. Click here for a FAQ information sheet about our service.

Our IAS service covers all aspects of SEND from the earliest stages of concern, through SEN Support in schools to support during statutory assessment, which may lead to an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and beyond.

All our staff are trained to help parents, children and young people during assessment for an EHCP or transfer of a Statement of Special Educational Needs or Learning Disability Assessment into an EHCP. Our service is not time-limited, so you decide how often you use us.  Many families contact our service for information and support at intervals throughout a child or young person’s time in education or training.

We aim to provide parents and children and young people with the information, advice and support which will enable them to fully participate in planning for their education, health and social care so that the young people are prepared for adulthood. 

What will Supportive Parents provide?

Our Information, Advice & Support (IAS) Line is open 10am - 2pm, Monday, Wednesday and Friday during term time only (answerphone at all other times – limited service available during holidays) offering:

  • IAS on subjects including local policy and practice, the Local Offer, personalisation, Personal Budgets, the law on SEN and disability, health and social care
  • IAS through the EHC assessment and planning process
  • Individual support in preparing for and attending meetings
  • Help with paperwork, filling in forms and writing letters/reports
  • Support on exclusions
  • Support in resolving disagreements, including mediation and tribunals
  • Signposting to local or national sources of advice, information and support
  • Links to local parent support groups and forums
  • Developing our service to include providing confidential and impartial IAS to young people (16+) on their own, if requested

We also provide

  • Monthly support group meetings
  • Free parent courses designed to give an overview of relevant Education policies and specific information relating to special educational provision
  • Training aimed at SENCOs, school governors and trainee Educational Psychologists
  • Termly newsletter


SENDIAS is a statutory service, which means there has to be one in every local authority. They are free, impartial and confidential services.

 “Local authorities must arrange for children with SEN or disabilities for whom they are responsible, and their parents, and young people with SEN or disabilities for whom they are responsible, to be provided with information and advice about matters relating to their SEN or disabilities, including matters relating to health and social care.”

SEND Code of Practice 2014, DfE


Information Advice and Support Services – Key Points

  • They are statutory services that provide information, advice and support to disabled children and young people, and those with SEN, and their parents
  • They are required to be confidential, impartial, accessible and free
  • IAS staff should be independently trained
  • The obligations and expectations of an IAS Service are set out in Chapter 2 of the SEND Code of Practice
  • The standards expected of IAS Services can be found in the IASS Network Quality Standards
  • IAS Services will differ greatly from authority to authority, with variation in size, capacity and resources

Complaints, constructive criticism, comments and compliments help us to identify what we do well and where we need to make improvements. Supportive Parents has a complaints procedure if you feel unhappy about the service you have received. Your comments will be dealt with in confidence, with fairness and respect.

Links to our Policies

Confidentiality Policy

Equal Opportunities & Diversity Policy

Safeguarding Policy for Children & Young People

Safeguarding Policy for Vulnerable Adults

Impartiality Policy