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Back to Sefton SENDIASS

Parents & Carers


Are you looking for information, advice or support about matters relating to your child’s special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND)? SENDIASS offers support to parents and carers of children and young people with SEND (0-25) in the Sefton Area. We can also support your child or young person to access the service independently.

We are funded by Sefton Council but the service is managed independently by Barnardo's. We provide free, confidential and impartial support – which means we do not take sides and we try to ensure that everyone’s views are expressed and heard. We can offer information advice and support by telephone or email, and by more focused methods depending on individual need.

To make a referral please contact us on 0333 323 8003

Alternatively, you can contact us by leaving a message using the 'leave a message' function at the bottom right hand corner on this page. You can leave your contact details via this function details and ask for a call back from our team. 



We can help with:

  • SEN Support
  • Exclusions
  • Transfers
  • Admissions
  • Transport
  • Appeals
  • Mediation
  • Complaints
  • Personal Budgets
  • EHCP

  • Dedicated SEND IASS helpline, run by IPSEA trained staff
  • Legally based information and advice given by trained and experienced staff around SEND law, statutory guidance and processes, local policy and processes
  • On-line resources to educate and empower families – you can find these on the website
  • Support with form filling, letter writing, meetings, appeal processes for those families that meet the criteria for casework support
  • Support for children and young people with SEND, this can include support to help you have your voice heard
  • Signposting to local and national services


Under the Children and Families Act 2014 and SEND Code of Practice 2015 Local authorities must arrange for children and young people with SEN or disabilities for whom they are responsible, and their parents / carers, to be provided with information and advice about matters relating to their SEN or disabilities, including matters relating to health and social care.

In Sefton this service is delivered by Barnardo's SENDIASS. Our contract with the Local Authority is informed by the National IASSN minimum standards. Within this contract it states that ‘Service Users will be supported to acquire the skills and knowledge to be able to effectively access services and navigate the SEND system’ and that ‘The Service will develop the resilience and independence of families and local services to enable children and young people with more complex needs to participate actively in their local community.’

There are a number of key service requirements including the provision of Impartial information, advice and support (IAS) on the full range of education, health and social care as defined in the SEND Code of Practice. The Service shall have the capacity to provide advice and support to Service User enquiries through individual face-to-face, telephone and electronic processes and through group sessions and workshops. Support may include: Individual casework/ representation, for those assessed and who meet the criteria.


We are primarily an information and advice service, and our aim is to empower parents, carers, children and young people by providing them with the right information and advice to make informed decisions and take the next steps independently.  As such the vast majority of enquiries will be resolved through a one off contact, either over the telephone or via email. Where appropriate we will follow this up by sending out information, group workshops and signposting/referral to relevant services. Service users can contact us in this way as many times as they need. A small percentage of enquiries will require some more intensive ongoing support – individual casework/representation – due to specific needs and vulnerabilities. Due to the increasing demand for our service and in order to keep waiting times to a minimum for vulnerable families, we are implementing strict criteria for this element of the service informed by national guidance for IAS services.




In order to be added to the waiting list for individual casework the enquiry must constitute a level 3 or 4 case. The criteria for this is as follows:

  1. There are multiple or complex issues to be addressed including:
  • Exclusions (permanent, unlawful or repeated),
  • SEND Tribunals or Disability Discrimination,
  • Child over 5 not in full time education (child out of school, part time timetables)
  • Ongoing formal complaints including ombudsman
  • School refusal (SEMH)
  1. Or parent has additional needs which significantly affect their ability to manage the situation independently even with advice from the service, such as:
  • Learning difficulty
  • Ongoing mental health issues
  • Communication needs which cannot be supported by short term interventions
  1. Or service user is a child or young person aged 0-25 with special educational needs or disability who has approached the service directly, and requires support to take part in processes and help to express their views and wishes.


Please note - We do not routinely attend meetings or reviews unless one or more of the above criteria applies.



What if my enquiry does not meet the criteria for individual casework?

If your enquiry does not meet the criteria for casework you will be offered “next steps” information and advice through our dedicated SEND IASS helpline. IPSEA trained staff can advise you on the law, statutory guidance and processes, plus local policy and practice around Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

The service is in the process of developing a “helpline plus” option will enable families to receive one off support options such as form filling, letter drafting, or feedback on a draft EHCP.

We will use the experience of local parents, and professionals as volunteers to enhance the service offer.

This will be assessed by workers on a case-by-case basis and will help us to provide a more responsive service whilst bridging the gap between telephone advice and individual casework.


For more information or to request information advice and support please contact  TBC


Facebook: coming soon


Where else can I get help?



Local offer:

Useful contacts: 

We will be providing a range of regular parent workshops on EHCP and SEN Support, in addition to one off topics. We will publish the details of workshops here. 


Would you be interested in being part of a new parent steering group?

We would like to run a  parent steering group made up of current and previous service users. If you are a parent of a child or young person with SEND who has an interest in helping us to monitor, develop and improve our service we would love to hear from you. Your views and experiences are key to ensuring that we are meeting the needs of parents, carers, children and young people.

Please contact us if this is something you would like to be part of


Being a parent or carer can be the most wonderful thing in the world and can bring so much love and joy into your life. We also know that the responsibility of parenthood and the daily challenges of this role can be as daunting as they can be exciting.

The Family Space is here for you. Our virtual family hub offers information, advice, guidance and support for all stages of your parenting or caring journey.

Our nationwide network of family hubs and children’s centres provides services directly to parents and care givers of children of all ages. If you aren’t able to get to a centre or hub, we hope you will find what you need here.

Barnardo's Family Space

Informative Videos

SEND Tribunal
Disability living Allowance Recording and FAQ

The War in Ukraine

You might be wondering how to talk to your child about the war in Ukraine. Children often want to talk about topics they do not understand and sometimes adults find it hard to explain it without causing unnecessary worry.

Here are some useful links to tips and advice on talking about issues with your children:

‘A delicate balance’: experts’ tips on dealing with Ukraine anxiety in children | Children | The Guardian

Help for teachers and families to talk to pupils about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and how to help them avoid misinformation. - The Education Hub (

We also have some links that your child or young person can access themselves if they want to. Look under the children and young people tab or click here to go straight there!

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