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Title Volunteer – Independent Support Role
Categories Generic application form
Salary Volunteer
Location Cumbria
Job Information

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The people we work with inspire us everyday


If you are passionate about service to the community, and want to make a difference to the lives of young people with special educational needs, we need you.


Volunteer – Independent Support Volunteers needed to work with Inspira and the Parent Partnership


From September 2014, the Children and Families Bill has introduced important changes to the way children with special educational needs are supported. These changes include moving young people from statements to Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans.


Volunteers are needed to work as Independent Supporters with Inspira and the Parent Partnership to support parents and young people to understand the new legislative framework and to participate effectively in the process.


As a volunteer you will have the opportunity to:

  • develop new skills
  • experience personal growth
  • receive high quality training
  • expand social and potential employer networks
  • make a difference in your community and to the lives of young people
  • explore potential future career paths
  • gain real work experience


Some knowledge of Special Educational Needs may be of benefit but not essential as training will be provided.


Successful Volunteers will be subject to an enhanced DBS check.


For more information please contact Deborah Naylor on 07919220194, email: or Karen Hull on 01229 407599, email:


Applications should be made via the Inspira website and should be submitted by 24th October 2014.



Volunteer Role Description


Volunteer Independent Supporter – Inspira and the Parent Partnership

This job description is by no means permanent and exhaustive but rather acts as a guide for the main duties, tasks and areas of responsibility for which the volunteer is accountable.


All Independent Supporters representing Inspira and the Parent Partnership must demonstrate a commitment to providing independent support to families and young people in a sensitive and professional manner, seeking to empower them to make their own decisions and showing respect for these decisions.


Purpose of Independent Support Role


To provide independent information, advice, and support to parents/carers and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) who are either:


  • going through a statutory Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment and development of the resulting EHC Plan;
  • transitioning from a statement of SEN to an EHC Plan;
  • transitioning from a Learning Difficulty Assessment (LDA) to an EHC Plan.


Typical work tasks


  • To provide accurate and up-to-date information to parents/carers or young people in line with recent legislation and local procedures, including:


  • Children and Families Act 2014
  • SEND Regulations 2014
  • SEND Code of Practice 2014
  • The Local Authority Transition Plan


  • To support and encourage young people to participate in relevant school meetings and reviews, so that their voice is heard regarding future aspirations and support needs, ensuring all discussions are outcomes focused and solution focused.


  • To help and support parents/carers and/or young people to understand the Local Offer.


  • To have an understanding and be able to provide information to parents/carers and/or young people on personal budgets within the context of an EHC Plan


  • To work in a positive, impartial way to maintain and improve relationships and communication between parents, schools and other agencies


  • To support parents and young people to have confidence and understand the new legislative framework and to empower parents/carers and young people to participate effectively in the process. This will be through a combination of:
    • Face to face meetings which could be home visits, telephone/e-mail support and support via Webchat
    • Assistance with preparation for meetings
    • Support with writing letters/presenting views
    • Explaining reports and draft documentation
    • Support in meetings with school, the local authority and a range of other relevant agencies
    • Help to negotiate and effectively resolve any disputes and misunderstanding
    • Signpost to other relevant agencies


  • To have an understanding of dispute resolution and complaints procedures and to support parents/carers and young people to access support in resolving disagreements


  • To keep accurate records of all interventions and activities which will provide statistical evidence for monitoring and evaluation of the service, ensuring information is shared appropriately and in line with the Data Protection Act and that all confidential information is kept secure in line with company policy and procedure and national legislation


  • To work alongside other organisations providing information, advice and support to ensure parents/carers and young people have access to the appropriate level of support to meet their individual needs and situation


  • To undertake regional initial Independent Support training and then develop and maintain personal and professional effectiveness by participation in performance review processes/observation of professional practice and by attending relevant working groups, training and support activities.


Volunteers will be expected to have an understanding of current legislation including the Education Act 1996 and disability discrimination legislation. To this end, training will be provided.


Interventions will be time limited and caseloads will be based on individual need and could involve working directly with young people (where the young person has reached statutory school age and is deemed to have mental capacity) or their parents, but will be restricted to the activities covered in the role purpose above.




PERSON SPECIFICATION – Volunteer Independent Support Role



Essential Criteria


  • Committed to providing a professional support service to young people with special educational needs and their parents/carers.


  • Willingness and availability to commit time to essential CDC and other training


  • Knowledge of present provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities within the local area or ability to learn this


  • Knowledge of the roles of other agencies relevant to young people with SEND, how they work and what is available locally and nationally or ability to gather and learn this


  • Committed to Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people. Willingness to undertake necessary safeguarding training.


  • Be able to demonstrate effective IT skills across the range of Microsoft office applications


  • Knowledge and understanding of relevant SEN legislation including: Children & Families Act 2014, SEND Regulations 2014 and SEND Code of Practice 2014, Education Act 1996 and disability discrimination legislation or ability to learn this


  • Ability to communicate clearly and sensitively, including excellent listening skills with young people and adults



Desirable Criteria


  • Ability to work on own initiative and as part of a team


  • Reliable, flexible and dependable


  • Ability to maintain confidentiality


  • Ability to empathise with families from a variety of backgrounds, build rapport and develop relationships of trust with families, young people and other professionals


  • A commitment to attend training and keep up to date with changes in legislation and local policy and practice


  • A commitment to Equal Opportunities in all work practices


  • Be prepared to seek advice when necessary


  • Ability to travel within the local area.
Apply Now

As our posts have the potential for substantial access to young people, they are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exemptions Order 1975). Therefore you must declare all convictions, any pending convictions or prosecutions, and all cautions or bindovers, even if they would otherwise by considered as “spent” under the Act. Please note:- Having a criminal record will not necessarily bar you from working with us. This will depend on the nature of the position and the circumstances and background of your offence(s). From 12th October 2009 if you yourself are barred from regulated activity, you must not work, or seek to work, in regulated activity from which you are barred.