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About Us

SENDIASS are the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information, Advice and Support Service for children and young people with SEND and their parents or carers.

This short animation video will help children and young people with SEND, and their parents, learn about the service and support on offer from their local SEND Information Advice and Support Service (IASS). Sometimes referred to as IASS, or here in Southend as SENDIASS.

It also talks about how a local SEND IASS team can be contacted - including how to access the National Helpline provided by Contact.



Your local SEND Information, Advice and Support Service has to work in a certain way to make sure they are meeting the minimum standards.

This short video tells you what that certain way is, and some of the things services have to do. This is so you understand more about your SEND IASS service.

The SENDIASS Service are trained by IPSEA (Independent Provider of Special Education Advice) through the National IASS network

We provide information and advice about the law on Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) including:

  • the local authority’s policies and procedures
  • the policy and practice in local schools and other settings
  • the Local Offer 
  • health and social care where it is linked to education

We aim to help parents and young people work in partnership with services and professionals and we can help you find solutions when you’re unhappy with how things are going.

Our service is for children and young people with SEND and their parents or carers living in the City of Southend-on-Sea.

You need to live in Southend-on-Sea to use our service, but there is a SENDIAS service for every area across the country. Every local authority has to make sure parents carers and children and young people with SEN and disabilities have access to impartial information, advice and support on issues to do with SEN and disability.

If you live in Essex, your local service is Essex SENDIASS 

Young people and their parents or carers can contact the service themselves.

We provide access to information that is:

  • clear
  • accurate
  • relevant
  • based on legislation 

This will help you take part in decisions about yourself or if you are a parent, your child. We:

  • aim to help you to feel confident to have your say and feel heard
  • are not an advocacy service and we do not speak on your behalf
  • do not favour either side
  • do not have influence over the outcome of any meetings

We cannot:

  • offer counselling - enquiries must be based around a question related to SEND
  • deliver emergency support or interventions
  • make decisions for you - you know your child’s, or your own wishes and needs best
  • attend all meetings
  • arrange meetings or take minutes*
  • write letters or emails for you*
  • complete paperwork on your behalf*
  • routinely read or check draft EHC Plans*
  • spend time re-addressing an enquiry that has already been addressed by our service
  • offer information, advice or support or review forms on issues that are not linked to SEND e.g. DLA or PIP

*Unless you have additional support needs that mean you cannot undertake these actions independently and we have agreed that we have the capacity to support you at that time.

If you are receiving support from a solicitor, we regret that we will be limited in the information, advice and support that we can provide. This is to avoid the potential for conflicting advice and to ensure our service is available for parents or carers not receiving any other support.

You may find the answers to some of your questions by:

  • looking through the information here on our web pages
  • viewing our social media channels

If you can't find the answers to your questions, you can get in touch by phone,  by email, or by using our contact us form. You choose which works best for you. 

If do not live in Southend-on-Sea or Essex, you can look for your local service on the Council for Disabled Childrens website.  

We can offer more direct one-to-one help and advice to young people and in exceptional cases, to parents who would really struggle without this, for example, because they don’t speak English.

For families where English is not their first language, we have produced our service leaflet in some of the most commonly spoken languages in Southend schools, as determined by the 2020 schools census. We have recently added Dari and Ukrainian.

  • Albanian
  • Bengali
  • Chinese (simplified font)
  • Czech
  • Dari
  • Malay
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Romanian
  • Tamil
  • Ukrainian
  • Urdu

Please contact us to request a copy of our leaflet, identifying your preferred language from those listed above.