Westminster Information Advice Support Service (IASS)) are expected to provide a range of flexible services, including access to an Independent Supporter (IS) for all parents and young person who want one. (COP: 2:20)
Independent Volunteer SEND Supporters are volunteers who have been trained and undertaken an initial legal online course on Special Educational Needs (SEN) law.
They are independent of decision-making professionals so there is no conflict of interest that could influence their capacity to advise and give information to a parent.
Independent Volunteer SEND Supporters help individual parents/carers/ children and young people through SEN and related issues and processes of obtaining a statement and/or Educational Health Care Plan (EHC).
A VSS offers independent advice and support. They understand parents’/or young person’s concerns about the child/ young person with additional needs. Some of them may be parents themselves who have had experience of SEN process through their own children; others may have some experience of SEN from a professional point of view.
Volunteer SEND Supporters:
- Listen to concerns
- Obtain information
- Help parents express their views in person or in writing
- Assist and empower parents to communicate with the school and other services involved
- Explain the SEN process
- Accompany parents to meetings/reviews
- Read through and discuss written documents
Westminster IASS have a strict confidentiality policy and no information is passed on to third parties without the consent of the parent/carer/young person.
All VSS’s must:
- undergo DBS check
- complete initial training
- have good communication and listening skills
- be flexible and reliable
- approach cases sensitively and sympathetically