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Back to Portsmouth SENDIASS

Children and Young People

Children and Young People

Welcome to Portsmouth Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS).

We offer free impartial information, advice and support to children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) in the Portsmouth area. Which means we do not take sides and we try to ensure that everyone’s views are expressed and heard. 

We can help you with any problems you might be having at school, and can also give you information about other services such as health or social care. For example a SENDIASS caseworker could:

  • Help you to arrange a meeting with teachers and other school staff about the help you need in school.
  • Help you to write down all the things you want to say at the meeting and even come along with you to make sure that you have the chance to say all the things you wanted to say.
  • Help you and your parents, teachers and other professionals to make a plan about how to meet your needs.

The following video explains what SENDIASS services are and how they can help:


Useful information

Information, advice, and support is available through:

  • Our direct telephone line: 0239 323 3656
  • Our enquiry form
  • Email:
  • Face-to-face meetings

We provide information, advice and support for children and young people who are:

  • aged 25 or under
  • are disabled or who have special educational needs. (Special educational needs are when you need extra support to learn things).

You can come to us if you want some help with getting the right kind of:

  • Support at school, college or training
  • Health services
  • Care and support

Most people who are 16 years old or more and have finished Year 11 can make their own decisions about their school or support.

If you would like a parent or carer to help then that is OK. It is up to you.
If you are under 16 years old, then we will need to talk to your parents or carers before we make any decisions.

Our service is impartial. This means we will not tell you what to do. We will not take sides.
We will give you the information and support you need to make your own choices.

Our service is confidential. That means our meetings will be private. We will only tell people what we talk about if you say it is ok. We also need to tell someone if we think you are in danger of being hurt.

If you are not happy with our support then please tell us how we can make it better!


Finding out what support you need

Sometimes we might need extra help in school, college or training. To find out if you need extra support, you might have an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment.

This is a careful look at what you might need help with. Lots of people think about what you might need and then write reports.

Sometimes it is called an EHC Needs Assessment.

You and the people who support you will think about what you can do on your own and what you might need extra help with. They will try to work out if you need any extra support.

At the end, they will decide if you need a plan to get you extra help in your school, college or training. This would be called an Education, Health and Care plan.

If you are over 18 you might need a plan to make sure you can finish your education or training.

Who should have the assessment?

You must have an EHC Needs Assessment if you are:

  • aged 25 years or under
  • you have special educational needs. This means you need extra help to learn things
  • your school or college may not be able to give you all of the support you need
What is in the assessment?

You and your parents or carers will be asked if you want to write down or to say what you think about your needs and support.

Lots of other people will also help write reports, including:

  • Your school or college
  • People that support you
  • An educational psychologist. This is someone who knows lots about how people learn.
  • If you see them, doctors and therapists
  • If you use social services or need to, social workers
  • If you have problems with hearing or sight, teachers who know lots about those things
  • Any other people you want to write reports to explain your needs

The law says that the local authority must send everyone what you have said you need, or any reports you want them to look at.

How do I get an assessment?

You can ask for an assessment if you are aged between 16 and 25 years old and you think you might need one.

Other people that can ask for you are:

  • Your parents or carers
  • Your school
  • People who work with you, like doctors or teachers

If you want any help getting an EHC Needs Assessment then you can ask the Information, Advice and Support Service. If you do not agree with anything then they can make sure your views are heard.

Ask one of our members of staff for support

EHCP Summary information sheet

Useful contacts during the EHCP process

Annual review fact sheet

Disagreement resolution and meditation information sheet

Getting the right kind of support

Children and young people who need extra help with learning have a Education, Health and Care plan. Sometimes these are called EHC plans.

The plan will use information from your EHC Needs Assessment to say what you want to achieve and what support must be provided to help you.

To find out more about EHC plans, watch this video

What is in the plan?

Everyone will have a different plan because it is all about YOU. We are all different.

It will have information like:

  • Who you are
  • How you communicate
  • What you want to achieve
  • Why you need help with things
  • What kind and amount of support you need, and how often you must get it
  • Where you go to school or college (if you do)

Once this support is written down in the plan, it must be given to you.

All the people that support you will be able to see your plan. It should help them work together to support you

You have the right to say what kind of information you think should be in your plan and who you want to see it.


Who gets a plan?

If you are aged 25 years or under and you need extra help with learning then you might get a plan to help you get more support.

EHC plans will carry on until you are 25 years old. They will stop if:

  • You go to University
  • You get a job
  • The local authority think you do not need it anymore

You can tell the local authority what you think about your plan and they must listen to you.
The local authority are sometimes called ‘the council’. They might say that you do not need an EHC plan anymore if there are big changes that mean you no longer need the support in the plan. They will tell you first.

If you do not agree then you can say so. You can ask your local Information, Advice and Support Service for help (us).


Will someone help me to get a plan?

There are people called Independent Supporters who are there to help families move from Statements to EHC plans.
You can ask your local authority to help you find an Independent Supporter.

Information, Advice and Support Services can help if you have any questions about your EHC plan, Learning Difficulties Assessment or Statement.

Ask one of our members of staff for support.

Enquiry form


Call:0239 323 3656

Finding Out About Support Near You

You can find out what support there is near you by looking at the Local Offer. This is the name of a web page or written information, like a leaflet. It is written by your local authority, which might be called ‘the council’.

The Local Offer is for:

  • Disabled children and young people
  • Children and young people with special educational needs. Special educational needs are when you need extra help to learn things.
  • Families of those children and young people

The Local Offer must give you information about the support that you should be able to get in your area.

The Local Offer must have information about:

  • Schools, colleges or training
  • Special health support
  • Hobbies or fun activities
  • Support for becoming an adult
  • Transport

The local authority must ask you what it should put in the Local Offer. You can tell your local authority what you think about it. They must show everyone what people have said and explain how they are going to make it better.

Your Local Offer is on your local authority website. If you cannot get on the website then they should give you written information, like a leaflet.

To find your Local Offer, go to: Information for Young People < Portsmouth Local Offer

Information, Advice and Support Services can help you to find your Local Offer. They can also help you to tell your local authority what you think about your Local Offer.

Ask one of our members of staff for support.

What is a personal budget?

A Personal Budget is when the places that support you work out how much money they are spending on your support.

For example, they might look at how much it costs to pay for someone to give you extra support at college or someone to help you with speaking and communicating.

You can use a Personal Budget in different ways.

Sometimes your parents, the local authority, your school or college can look after your Personal Budget for you. The local authority is sometimes called ‘the council’. They decide how to spend the money for your support.

Sometimes you can get the money yourself and work out how you want to spend it on your support.

You will get a plan to say what support you need. You must only use the money for the things in the plan.

Who can have a Personal Budget?

If you:

  • have special educational needs, this is when people need some extra help with learning things
  • you are aged between 16 and 25 years old
  • you are getting an Education, Health and Care plan then you can ask for a Personal Budget.

You do not have to have one. It is up to you.

You or your parents can ask for a Personal Budget when your Education, Health and Care plan is being written or is under review, which means it is being checked.

Sometimes the people who run the local authority or the health services will say no. They have to tell you why they cannot give you a Personal Budget.

If you need help understanding Personal Budgets, you can talk to your local Information, Advice and Support Service. Complete this Enquiry Form or email or call: 0239 323 3656

Keeping what you say private

When you talk to us we will not tell other people what you said. We will keep it private.

Sometimes we may think it is a good idea to talk to other people about what you tell us, like your parents, teachers or doctors.

We will always ask you if this is ok first. You can say yes or no.

There are a few times when we will have to tell someone else what you said:

  • We sometimes tell our managers so they can check that we are doing a good job.
  • We will write information about our meetings on our computers.

Only people we work with will see this information.

We will also have to tell someone if we are worried that someone is being hurt or might be hurt.

If this happens, then we will talk to you about it first.

What can SEND IASS offer me?

We are a supportive impartial service who can work with children and young people and their parents or carers.

We try to use alternative methods to help you understand processes and issues you may have regarding your education.

We can help you to understand your rights.

We can make sure that adults and professionals listen to your views and opinions and take them into account when making decisions.

We can help to support you and your family through the Education Health and Care plan process

What does impartial mean?

We do not take sides or tell you what to do.

We provide information and advice to enable you to make your own decisions.

You have a right to get information advice and support on your own or with parents or carers.

Is what I say confidential?

We are a confidential service, this means that we will not usually tell anyone what you have said. However if we feel that you may be in danger then we will share this with the appropriate people

What is the Local offer?

The Local offer Provides useful information for children and young people with special
educational needs and their families. Each Local Authority has to provide a Local offer.

You can visit the Portsmouth Local offer website at: Information for Young People < Portsmouth Local Offer

Post-16/Preparing for Adulthood

We believe that young people with SEND should have equal life chances as they move into adulthood. This should include paid employment and higher education, housing options and independent living, good health, friends, relationships, community inclusion and choice and control over their lives and support.

If we were successful we would see the following:

  • Preparing for adulthood would start from the earliest years
  • Services that have a statutory responsibility would focus on how they can support people to progress towards Preparing for Adulthood (PfA) outcomes
  • Mainstream agencies would be more inclusive and engaged
  • Young people and their families would be involved in strategic planning and service design and would support commissioners in design and development of future services
  • Local authorities would be able to evidence positive outcomes for young people
  • The Local Offer would provide children, young people and their families with up-to-date and clear information on what is available locally through the Local Offer.
  • The Local Offer will also have a feedback and review mechanism for commissioners to capture information on where the gaps are for families
  • Young people and families would be involved in the ongoing development and review of the Local Offer.

Further information can be found about preparing for adulthood at:

You can print and use these resources to help you express your views and wishes, to prepare for meetings and to make a record to help you remember what the meeting was about.

*Being uploaded soon.


Help us to develop the service:

We will soon be running a termly young people’s focus group. If you are a child or young person with SEND who is interested in helping us develop and improve our service to be more child friendly and meet your needs we would love to hear from you.

We will be planning fun activities to get your opinions on improving the service, designing resources for other young people and planning child friendly content for our social media.

This is a great opportunity to meet new friends, learn new skills and develop your confidence.  For more information please contact

Moving from primary to secondary school

Transition Year 6 to year 7 with storyboards
Primary to secondary school change

Transition Video Year 11 to post 16

Transition video year 11 to post 16 with storyboard
Transition video year 11 to post 16 animation video
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