Independent Support offers parents and young people extra advice and support while they go through the process of getting an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan.
Since September 2014, EHC plans have been replacing Statements of special educational needs (SEN). All East and West Sussex parents and carers can get advice about EHC assessments and plans as part of the Information, Advice and Support Service and also have support from their Plan Coordinator in the SEN team.
Independent Supporters offer additional help to make sure a parent carer or young person can be fully involved throughout the EHC process. We work with families in Sussex (and Brighton and Hove) who are requesting a new EHC Plan or where there is a transfer from a Statement. All families who need extra support can have an Independent Supporter and young people aged 16 to 25 may also request an Independent Supporter of their own. Read more about Independent Support and other Amaze services for young people
The Independent Support service in East and West Sussex is provided by Amaze with funding from the government. The service is independent but works in partnership with the local authority, schools, colleges and other services. All of the Independent Support team have a DBS (formerly CRB) check and complete accredited national training. Read more in our Sussex Independent Support Service leaflet [pdf 690kb] and Service Outline [MS Word 85kb]
How can an Independent Supporter help?
Independent Supporters should provide a helping hand without taking over. This could be over the phone, by email and by meeting you face to face. They can:
- Explain what is happening and how you should be involved
- Offer prompts about aspirations and outcomes for the child/young person
- Support you to complete your Parental or Young Person contribution to the assessment
- Make sure you feel able to get your views across
- Check you have information you need, including on the Local Offer and Personal Budgets
- Go to EHC meetings with you
- Look through reports with you to be sure you understand them fully
- Ensure you know when you have choices or decisions to make about the EHC plan such as giving a preference for a school
- Help you check through the EHC plan to see if you are happy with it.
Read our guide about What to expect during the transfer of a Statement to an EHC Plan.
How do I get an Independent Supporter?
Parents and young people in East and West Sussex can call 0300 123 7782 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll call you to offer advice and support over the phone, whilst working out with you whether you need the extra help of an Independent Supporter. If so we will match you up with one of the team.
If a SENCO, social worker or other professional working with you wants to make a referral they should get your permission first.
Contact the Independent Support Manager on 07483 111659 and we will try to resolve the problem. You can also give us your feedback on this website. Visit the contact us page and fill in our feedback form. You may also want to read our complaints procedure and policy.
The Local Offer
People and services commissioned by the local authority to support children and young people with special educational needs have a responsibility, as part of the government’s new Local Offer framework, to supply comprehensive details of the kinds of support they offer. Download full details of the West Sussex Independent Support Service as specified by the Local Offer [MS Word 28kb].
Visit the Local Offer for East Sussex
Visit the Local Offer for West Sussex