About us

Our service is:

  • Impartial – we don’t take sides; we provide you with information, advice and guidance to help you make an informed choice about your next steps.
  • Confidential – we will never share your information without your consent.
  • Informative – we offer information on an extensive range of topics in relation to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
  • Supportive – we enable you to understand and make effective use of the information and advice provided.
  • Accessible – SENDIASS provides a free, all-year-round and flexible service which is open during normal office hours and includes:
    • a direct helpline with 24-hour answer machine,
    • a call back and sign-posting service, including links to the national SEND helpline and other sources of support for outside of office hours and
    • 24/7 access to dedicated website
  • Independent – SENDIASS are a statutory stand-alone service which must be available in each local area, but are separate from any host organisation, Local Authority or Integrated Commissioning Board.

NB safeguarding and child protection concerns, and duties take priority over every other consideration.


The service can only take referrals from parents/carers, children and young people. This can be done via:

Whilst SENDIASS welcome professional recommendations, referrals must come directly from parents/carers, children or young people, unless the circumstances are exceptional, and it is at the manager’s discretion.

What you can expect from a referral:

  • We follow a tiered approach of information, advice and support to ensure that you receive the right information, at the right time
  • Upon first contact, your support needs with be triaged by our SENDIASS Co-Ordinator and general information, advice and signposting with be offered
  • For support needs which are more complex, a planned telephone appointment will be arranged to ensure you have sufficient time to receive the correct advice which will be tailored to your needs
  • For support needs which are more significant, or require a specific intervention to take place, our Co-Ordinator may assign you to a Lead Worker within the team who will be your specific point of contact within the team and can, where suitable, attend meetings with you, help voice your concerns or represent you if necessary

Upcoming training & events

Check out our Social Media platforms for up-to-date information on local events/workshops/training events ran by SENDIASS and/or partner organisations within the city.

Facebook: @sunderlandsendiass

Instagram: @sunderlandsendiass

We work with partner organisations locally, regionally and nationally, offering opportunities for training and events. Partners include Sunderland Parent Carer Forum, Together for Children, Regional and National Network of SENDIASS.

We can provide information, advice and support on:

  • SEND law and systems, including SEND support, EHCP’s, Exclusions and suspensions, SEND tribunal process and more
  • Education, Health and Social Care requirements as detailed within the SEND Code of Practice and in line with our National SENDIASS standards
  • Statutory and non-statutory guidance and procedures and how this is applied
  • Local and National policy and processes
  • Parent/Carer rights and responsibilities around Children/Young people with SEND from 0-25
  • Specific and individual advice to those aged16 years and over directly

The referral

  • Use of the service is completely voluntary. You can choose not to act upon given advice and can withdraw from the service at any time
  • You can re-refer back to the service at any time
  • At each stage of involvement, you will be made aware of your options and provided with information and guidance to make informed decisions
  • SENDIASS aims to empower people to arrange meetings, speak to local authorities, schools and other professionals, write letters and/or complete forms
  • All referrals are recorded securely

Service involvement may cease if:

  • The desired outcomes have been achieved
  • No further progress can be made
  • No further contact has been made to the team following an agreed period of time
  • There is sufficient support/involvement from other agencies and SENDIASS is unlikely to bring additional benefit
  • There is unreasonable behaviour towards staff


Tell us what you think

We would be grateful if you took the time to provide us with some feedback. Please follow this link: SENDIASS Evaluation

Skip to content