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Independent Support

What is Independent Support?

From 1st September 2014 Statements of Special Educational Need changed to Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans.

Independent Support is a service which provides advice and support to children and young people up to the age of 25 with special educational needs and disabilities and their families who are either transferring from a Statement to an Education, Health and Care plan or requesting support for the first time.

Sunderland Carers' Centre provides the Independent Support service to children, young people and their families in Sunderland and has a team of trained Independent Support Workers who can help you through the EHC assessment and planning process.

The service is independent from the local authority and other services so our team can offer free impartial advice and support and represent your points of view to other professionals.


What will an Independent Support Worker do?

  • help you understand the local referral process and 'local offer'
  • act as a named contact person throughout the EHC assessment and planning process
  • attend meetings with you for support
  • help you put together the one page profile
  • contact a range of local services for you to help you gather the information required for an EHC plan
  • provide you with information to help you understand personal budgets
  • signpost you to Information Advice and Support Services (IASS) and other specialist support services when the issue is outside the work of Independent Support - IASS was previously called the Parent Partnership Service
  • tell you about the other services available to carers from Sunderland Carers' Centre

Independent Support leaflet

Click here to view

Referral Form

Click here to view

For more information please contact:

Independent Support

Sunderland Carers' Centre

Thompson Park

Thompson Road



Tel: (0191) 537 5740




Details about future events will appear here shortly.


Useful Publications

Quick guides to Independent Support

The Council for Disabled Children has produced the following guides for parents and young people about Independent Support.

Independent Support - a quick parents guide

Independent Support - information for parents

Independent Support - information for young people

Factsheets on SEND reforms

Contact a Family and the National Network of Parent Carer Forums have produced some useful factsheets with information for parents about the new special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) reforms.

Changing from the old system to the new system - how it will happen

Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments

Education, Health and Care Plans

Preparing for Adulthood

The Local Offer explained


Live in another area?

Click on the map to find your local Independent Support provider.