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Independent Support Service

The Children and Families Act 2014 introduced changes to the system of support and provision for children and young people with Special Education Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND), to be implemented from September 2014.

On 7 January 2014 the Government announced funding to enable commissioned providers to be used to recruit, train and deploy a pool of Independent Supporters(IS’s) drawn from Parent Partnership Services and independent voluntary, community and private organisations. IS’s will consist of both paid staff and volunteers.

We want to recruit volunteer Independent Supporters who ideally live in the London Borough of Waltham Forest and surrounding areas who have some knowledge of local resources and who reflect the diversity of the borough’s population.


Key Activities for volunteer Independent Supporters

  • Helping parents understand the SEND system
  • Provide information, advice and support to explain the process and to help clients take part in Education Health and Care (EHC) Plan needs assessments
  • advice and support about EHC plans
  • information, advice and support to help clients take part in reviews of EHC plans
  • support to help clients find out more about the funding and provision for SEND made for the client
  • information, advice and support about Personal Budgets if the client has an Education, Health and Care Plan
  • Listening to parents and giving them impartial advice and information about SEN system and sign posting them to other agencies and services where necessary.
  • Information, advice and support about the clients rights to make a complaint, seek independent resolution or mediation
  • Information on appeal to the SEND First Tier Tribunal
  • Assisting them to fill out parental views forms for Statutory Assessment.
  • Liaising with schools and professionals on behalf of parents, organising and accompanying them to school meetings and on visits to prospective new schools.


Volunteers will need;

  • Some knowledge of Special Educational Needs system and/or willingness and ability to learn.
  • Ability to maintain appropriate boundaries when having contact with families.
  • An adequate level of literacy needed to support form filling
  • Good communication skills to support parents at meetings
  • Patience and understanding
  • Good listening skills
  • To be reliable and keep to arrangements made with a family/young person
  • To see the work they do with families through to its conclusion
  • Ability to work under the supervision of the Volunteer Co-ordinator


All volunteers working in the Independent Supporters Service must complete the CDC accredited training, which consists of two days “classroom based” and two days online training. The content for the training contains legal information and practice guidance and Volunteers will need to be able to retain and apply this to their work with families.  

We would like volunteers to provide at least one day a week.

Out of pocket expenses for food and travel incurred during SENDIASS work will be reimbursed in accordance with Citizens Advice Waltham Forest volunteer expenses policy.


To express interest in this role, please complete and return the following application form by 31st March 2017.

Independent Support Volunteer Application Form