Parent / Carer Advice & Support

At SENDIASS we take a graduated approach to our offer for parents and carers.

Sendiass approach


Our website hosts a range of resources which can offer information about your situation and tools to help you move things forward. We also offer a range of workshops throughout the year on topics such as SEN support, Funding EHC needs assessments and plans and Annual Reviews. Please consult our Workshops and Presentations page for updates on new workshops taking place.

Advice and Information

From first contact, we will aim to return your call/email within 5 working days (although this may be extended during busier times). We will listen to your enquiry and provide detailed advice and information which aims to help you feel more knowledgeable and confident to self-advocate in further discussions with others and engage in SEND related processes. Our response may be over the phone or via email. A follow up email will be sent outlining our information and advice. This may include signposting to other services or providing links to helpful documents for example statutory guidance, legislation, or policies. Service users can contact the service as many times as is needed as this may be helpful when going through specific processes e.g. the EHC assessment and plans or following exclusions from schools.

One-off Support

If we feel your situation is particularly complex or you have needs of your own, we may feel it is important to offer some support for a specific meeting, discussion or to help start a process. As such one of our team will agree to work with you for a specific activity. Throughout this work, we remain committed to empowering you to play and active and informed role and consistently encourage self-advocacy.

Support through a SEND related process

If we feel your situation is particularly complex or you have needs of your own, we may feel it is important to offer some support while you are going through a specific SEND related process for example, EHC processes, Exclusions (where SEND is an important factor), Mediations and Tribunals. Throughout this work, we remain committed to empowering you to play and active and informed role and consistently encourage self-advocacy.

Make a referral

You may contact Rotherham SENDIASS and request support at a prearranged meeting. Due to the number of children, young people and parents/carers we work with throughout the year, it is not always possible to accommodate every meeting support request we receive.

Requests for support at meetings will always be considered and our decisions will be based on the following guidelines.

  • SENDIASS will only attend meetings if we have a valuable contribution to make or if you are unable to advocate for your child, or yourself. *
  • Requests for meeting support must be received with plenty of advanced notice. It would be helpful to be notified of the meeting at least 2 weeks before the support is required. We acknowledge that some meetings are arranged at shorter notice and so wherever possible we will try to accommodate. However please bear in mind we are a small team and our diaries become full quickly. It may be unlikely that meeting support can be offered with less than two weeks’ notice.
  • Meeting attendance from SENDIASS will be subject to our team member’s availability and this may be affected further during busy periods
  • SENDIASS may offer to attend a meeting virtually, using Microsoft Teams, if attending a meeting in person is not possible.
  • If we are not able to attend a meeting, or if we feel we don’t have a valuable contribution to make, we can provide advice and information before the meeting to help you feel prepared. We are also able to offer advice or information after the meeting if you feel this would be helpful.
  • Support offered at a prearranged meeting doesn’t guarantee support at the next meeting that is arranged. Future support will be discussed and agreed with the member of SENDIASS you have worked with and again support  will be considered using the above guidelines.

*  Self-advocacy means being able to speak for yourself. Our role in SENDIASS is to provide information, advice and support in the hope of promoting independence and self-advocacy. The information we provide will help you understand your rights.

You are the best person to speak for your child or for yourself.

We expect service users will….

  • Ensure the meeting host is aware you have asked SENDIASS to attend.
  • Ensure the SENDIASS representative is provided with the correct date, time and venue of the meeting or updates if things are changed.
  • Have a good understanding of what the meeting has been called for and what is likely to be discussed/ who is likely to attend and share this information with the SENDIASS representative.
  • Listen to all points of view in the meeting, respond and share your thoughts in an appropriate manner.

SENDIASS will not…

  • Take sides during meetings or provide our personal opinions of your situation. Please take a moment to view our impartiality policy here
  • Attend a meeting without the service user. If for any reason you are unable to attend the meeting on the day, it is likely that the SENDIASS representative would also pass on apologies and leave.

SENDIASS does not hold power over local authority, school policies, procedures, and practices and so is unable to influence decision making processes.


  • Help you feel prepared for the meeting by sharing relevant information and advice in advance. This may include specific processes for more formal meetings that are outlined in legislation or guidance such as Independent Reviews, Mediations and Tribunals.
  • Help you formulate your thoughts in advance of the meeting so you can be supported to self-advocate
  • At times of distress or upset, be able to offer support and provide a small amount of advocacy based on prior discussions, to enable you to eventually continue to share your views and wishes yourself. (*Please note this may not be possible during Tribunals if we have not been listed as a representative as we may not be in a position to talk)
  • Help to draw attention to any items that may have been missed in your discussions, based on prior knowledge and preparation with you.
  • Be able to offer information and clarity to all parties based on legislation and statutory guidance to ensure relevant SEND processes are made best use of. (Please note this role would not be appropriate in a SEND tribunal)
  • Take some notes of the meeting discussions to be used for SENDIASS purposes and act as an aide memoire (these are not to be seen as formal minutes)

*For support in a SEND Tribunal Hearing, SENDIASS will mostly be listed as a ‘supporter’ and not a representative unless the service user is unable to self-advocate. This will be discussed and agreed in advance so it can be listed on the relevant attendance form. Please ask to see our Tribunal Policy