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Waltham Forest Special Education Needs and Disability

Information, Advice and Support Service

SEND logo




SENDIASS is a service run by the Citizens Advice Waltham Forest and is a service that the Local Authority has to legally provide under the Children and Families Act.

The service is commissioned by the Local Authority yet it is managed by a different agency that has its own company constitution and it provides; confidential, impartial, free, high quality information and advice and support to Children and young people with Special Educational Needs and disabilities.

The service also provides an independent supporter, a service commissioned by the Council for Disabled Children

How do I receive the support as a parent or carer of a child or young person with a special education need or disability?

You can make an appointment to have individual support or you could access any group support or any face to face support that the service offers.  Sometimes SENDIASS may provide sessions on:

  • Helping children, and young people and their parents or carers to gather and understand information that relates to their specific needs.
  • Education law on SEN and related law on disability, health and social care.
  • Arrangements for transitioning between provision and services such as from primary to secondary schools


Types of support provided by SENDIASS

SENDIASS provides:

  • Listen to your concerns and queries
  • Support around the legal framework for Educational Health and Care Plans
  • Support around education placement choices
  • SEND policy and practice
  • Information on services available locally
  • Personalisation and personal budgets
  • Legislation on SEND
  • Ways to resolve a disagreement or make a complaint, including mediation
  • Help you prepare for meetings
  • Training and events focused on SEND related topics
  • Disagreement resolution and mediation
  • Signpost to other sources of help and information
  • Help you to get your views, the views of your child or young person known, understood and valued
  • Help with paperwork and writing reports and letters
  • Help you to look at all of the options
  • Prepare you for appeal to the tribunal, and
  • Independent support


Support provided by an Independent Supporter

An Independent Supporter provide you a time limited (20 weeks) of impartial information and support. Working closely with SENDIASS, an Independent Supporter can support you at any stage of the Education, Health and Care (EHC) planning process. In particular:

  • They will explain the EHC assessment and how an EHC plan is developed
  • Help you to recognise the difference between goals, aspirations and outcomes
  • Help you to navigate the Local Offer found on the local authority website
  • Ensure you have all the information you need to make a decision e.g. how to request a personal budget, how to choose a school or setting
  • Provide impartial information and support for you to be confident to express your views
  • They will make sure you have all the information you need for the EHC Assessment
  • Help you prepare for and support you at meetings during the planning process
  • Review the proposed EHC plan with you
  • Independent supporter will support you put your views in writing but can not write it for you


SENDIASS and disagreements

Sometimes we get it wrong as an LA and at this time it is important that there is a process in place for mediation, disagreement resolution and complaints that support you and your child or young person.  SENDIASS can support you in managing this.


SENDIASS and Partnership work

SENDIASS works with the Waltham Forest Parents’ Forum, Barnardo’s and with education settings to support children and young people in interpreting the SEND code of practice.

SENDIASS has an interface with the Local Authority, in that they provide:

  • feedback on parents views and experiences of the service
  • Themes and trends that emerging through interaction with parents and carers


Who to contact

Telephone: 020 3233 0251


Here are some fact sheets which may answer your questions about SEND.

What is the Local Offer?

What is a Personal Budget and how can I get one?

What do we mean by impartial information, advice and support?

What if I do not agree with decisions about SEND provision?

How do I get an EHC needs assessment?

What SEN support is available in mainstream schools?

What funding is available for SEN support?

What is an EHC plan and how can I get one for my child?

Glossary – SEND terminology explained