Independent Support is a Government funded programme that provides additional support to young people and parents during the implementation of the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) reforms. Independent Supporters are used specifically to support young people and parents through the introduction of the new assessment process and the development of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans.  

In Cumbria, Inspira works in partnership with the Cumbria Parent Partnership Service to recruit volunteers and deliver the Independent Support Service. Inspira provides support to young people from year nine upwards, while Cumbria Parent Partnership focus on young people and children aged from 0-13 years. 

Useful links

Independent Support scenarios

Mrs Jones has received a letter inviting her into school to a Transfer review meeting, her son’s statement is to be transferred to an Education, Health, Care Plan.  She doesn’t really understand what this means and is concerned that her son might not get the help and support that he has had previously. Independent Support can help Mrs Jones by talking her through the transfer process and what this involves. They can help her to look at relevant websites for more information and accompany her to the meeting if she would find this useful.        

A car accident left Sophie (aged 17) struggling with her short term memory. She can now only concentrate for short periods of time, has limited mobility and her eyesight is impaired. Sophie would like to return to study at the local FE College and she thinks that she should be eligible for an Education Health Care Plan. Independent Supporters can provide Sophie with support to contact the Local Authority to requests a needs assessment for an Education, Health Care Plan.          

Mr Tomms has received a section of the new Education, Health, Care Plan to complete prior to the Transfer Review meeting for his daughter. He isn’t sure where to begin. Independent Support can help Mr Tomms by talking him through the information that would be useful to be included about his daughter and her needs. This might include things that are currently working well and where he feels more support is needed.        

Mr Patel would like to know more about the services that are available in his local area to support him with his son who has a learning difficulty. Independent Support can help Mr Patel to look at the Local Offer website to identify the provision that is available.        

Jade is 13 years of age and new to Cumbria. She doesn’t have a Statement of SEN but her mother is concerned that she is not making the same progress as other young people of her age. Independent Support can help by providing Jade’s parents with a named contact of someone within the Local Authority whom she can contact about an assessment for an Education, Health, Care Plan.          

Jack’s parents have been informed in writing by the Local Authority they do not feel that an Education, Health, Care plan needs assessment is necessary at this time. Independent Support can help Jack’s parents understand what this means and to understand their options. 

Katy’s parents are awaiting her draft Education, Health, Care Plan but it seems to be taking a very long time. Independent Support can help Katy’s parents understand the process and the time frame of the production of the Education, Health, Care Plan.