The Southwark Information Advice and Support (SIAS) team provides impartial, confidential advice and support about special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to parents, carers and young people.
When you first contact the team you can explain what you need advice about. The team will tell if and how we can support you.
The types of queries we can help with include:
- SEN (special educational needs) support in educational settings
- Advice and support to request assessments for EHC Plans (Education, Health and Care Plans) and advice through the process
- EHC Plan annual review advice
- Help to prepare for SEND related meetings
- Support to resolve disagreements where related to SEN
- Information, advice and guidance for young people aged 16-25 about education, training and employment. We can signpost young people to other places to access support for other matters.
- School exclusions, where related to SEND
- Advice and help to make applications for travel assistance
- Assistance with SEND mediation and tribunal appeals
- Training and information sessions throughout the year. Topics include: starting primary and secondary school, pathways to employment, SEND tribunal appeals
You can watch this video to find out more about services provided by Information, Advice and Support teams.
Children and young people with SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) aged 0-25, and their families.
SIAS is a self-referral service which means that parents, carers and young people contact us directly to request assistance. There is no referral form.
Please allow up to five working days for a response to your email.
Telephone: 0207 525 3104
We have an advisor on duty from Monday-Friday.
Our advisors are experiencing a very high number of queries and we appreicate your patience.
If the phoneline is busy or the advisor is unavailable at the time of your call, you will be able to leave a message on our confidential voicemail system.
Please leave your name and number, and a member of the team will call you back.
If you do not leave your contact details, the team are unable to access these and won't be able to return your call.
Alternatively, you can email the team or book a slot at our drop-in:
Click here to book a slot at the virtual drop-in. (every Tuesday, during school term-time, 9.30am - 1:30pm, a video or phone appointment with a SIAS advisor)
Sunshine House drop-in (pdf, 381kb) every Thursday during term-time, 2:00pm - 5:00 pm, starting 23rd February 2023.
The service is funded by Southwark Council and is a statutory council service. There is an Information, Advice, Support Service in every local authority.
This service is free to access.
Although we are funded by Southwark Council, we work at ‘arms-length’ from other local authority services. This means that we are able to provide a confidential and impartial service to families and will not pass your information on to others unless instructed by you or unless it relates to a child protection concern.
- IPSEA (Independent Provider of Special Education Advice) - free and independent legally based information, advice and support for young people and families of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). IPSEA also provides training.
- Child Law advice – specialist advice and information on child, family and education law to parents/carers.
- Kidscape – provide anti-bullying information, advice and support.
- Details of other support and advocacy services specialising in health, social care and more can be found on this local offer page.
- For details of legal representatives specialising in tribunal appeals, you may find this link, to information provided by Barrister Steve Broach, helpful.
Please click on the following links to access information videos on YouTube:
- The special educational needs and disability (SEND) code of practice (0 to 25 years) contains details of law and guidance related to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
- Statutory advice about school exclusions can be downloaded here
- Equality Act guidance covering disabilities can be downloaded here
If you have sought information, advice or support from the SIAS Team, we would appreciate your feedback. Please complete the short feedback form at the following link: SIAS Feedback Form