Independent Support


Independent Support Newcastle is a service that provides families and young people with an Independent Supporter during the Education Health Care Plan assessment Process.

What is an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan?

Education Health Care (EHC) Plan started to replace SEN statements from September 2014 it’s a gradual move, if your child has a statement it will carry on until the Local Authority carries out a ‘transfer review’ an 18 week process. New requests will follow the EHC assessment process a 20 week timeline.

EHC Plan is a legal document which describes a child / young person’s special educational, health and social care needs and explains the extra support which will be needed to meet the child / young person’s needs. An EHC plan can be issued to a child / young person aged of 0-25 yrs

What is an Independent Supporter?

An Independent supporter (IS) is a qualified individual that works independently from the local Authority to support children, young people and parents to understand and fully participate in the EHC plan process.

We provide independent and impartial advice to families throughout the EHC processes; we work alongside parents by offering a range of time limited support.

We will explain the EHC Assessment and how a plan is developed, explain who does what and when. We will ensure that the child/young person’s / parents views and voice is heard throughout the process. We will help to understand the difference between goals, aspirations and outcomes. We help families to navigate and understand the Local Offer. Our role also involves ensuring Children, young people and families have all the information they need to make decisions e.g How to request a personal budget, how to choose a school or setting.

When can you use an Independent Supporter?

An Independent Supporter can support you at any stage of the EHC planning process including requesting an assessment through to checking the Final plan. We aim to be flexible and fit support around families throughout the 18 week transfer period or the 20 week new plan period, meeting with parents to help them look at the Interim, Draft or Final EHC Plan.

How does an Independent Supporter Help?

We can help put together Section A of the plan called ‘About Me’, can help steer parents through timelines, and point them in the right direction for specialist advice and support. Translate jargon and help you prepare for meetings and offer support at planning meetings. We hope the benefit of having an Independent Supporter is that you understand, feel supported and more confident about the EHC process.

We will signpost to Newcastle SEND Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) where the support needed is not within our remit.

How do I request an Independent Supporter?

This free service can be accessed by any family or young person who is going through the EHC Assessment process in Newcastle upon Tyne. You can contact us directly on the number below, or email us. Alternatively you can ask the SENCO or School to refer you or you can be referred by the Newcastle SEND Information, Advice and Support Service.