Independent Parental Support

Are you the parent or carer of a child with special educational needs?

Would you like to speak to somebody who is independent of the education system about your child’s needs?

Family Support Advisers at Families In Focus are often responsible for achieving statutory assessments, statements of special educational needs and placements at specialist schools for the children and young people they deal with…

You may have just learned that:

  • Your child has special needs.
  • Your child is to be assessed at school.
  • Your child is to be assessed for an EHC Plan (Education, Health & Care Plan).
  • Your child’s school wants to meet with you to review his or her progress.
  • You may feel alone and vulnerable when faced with meetings and dealings with your child’s school or with other professionals.
  • Be unhappy with the decisions made about your child’s education.
  • Want to have somebody there to support YOU, to enable you to communicate the unique knowledge and information you have about your child to the professionals.

We can help you by:

  • Talking through the issues with you.
  • Completing forms and writing letters.
  • Offering advice on the processes involved.
  • Making an appeal against decisions you are unhappy with.
  • Obtaining more specialist advice.
  • Making somebody available to accompany you to meetings, reviews and tribunals (subject to us receiving enough notice).

… They also advise and support parents whose children are being wrongly excluded or discriminated against in educational settings. These things cannot be underestimated in terms of their impact on the long–term achievement and well being of young people.


A new partnership between local voluntary organisations Families InFocus (Essex), InterAct, ecdp and parent/carer forum FACE exists to provide Independent Supporters to work with parents of children (up to 25) with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and directly with young people, as they go through the new assessment process for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan). The role of Independent Supporters is to:

  • Focus on the main task of helping to transfer a statement into an EHCP;
  • Help the parent/carer or young person understand the local offer;
  • Act as a named contact for the parent/carer or young person throughout the assessment and planning process;
  • Liaise across a range of agencies with the parent/carer or young person to help gather the information required for an EHCP;
  • Provide information to parents/carers and young people on personal budgets;
  • Support the parent/carer or young person in contributing to an EHCP that is then ready to be signed off by a designated professional, agreed as part of a local referral protocol process;
  • Signpost parents/carers and young people, when the issue is outside the remit of an Independent Supporter, to organisations providing impartial information advice and support (IAS) services, e.g. Families InFocus (Essex) and Essex Parent Partnership Services.

Please get in touch with us if you require information and support.