Welcome to South Tyneside SENDIASS

Free and impartial information, advice and support to parents, carers, children and young people with special education needs and disabilities

About Us

SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service) is a confidential and impartial information, advice and support service on issues related to Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND).

It is free, easy to access and confidential. We can help children, parents and young people take part in decisions that affect their lives.

What we offer

We offer information, advice and support to:

How we can help

Groups we offer

We offer the following groups:

Details of our upcoming events can be found on our Facebook page.


We are continuously looking to improve the service we deliver to parents and carers of children and young people with SEND, and children and young people themselves, in South Tyneside.

You can provide feedback by emailing us at SENDIASS@southtyneside.gov.uk


We support parents and carers by offering information, advice and support. We do this by:

On top of this, our voicemail is active, and you can leave a message for our team and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

We also provide free training to parents and carers in South Tyneside.

Young People (16-25)

As a young person, you have a right to information, advice and support around your special educational needs or disability.

South Tyneside SENDIASS supports young people directly. You can talk to us on your own, or with a trusted adult.

We can help you with lots of things, such as:

You can say how you want your support to work. Someone can email you, call you on the phone, or meet you in person in a place you feel comfortable (for example at our offices or at school/college).

Everything you say to us is private. We will only tell someone what you’ve said if we are worried that someone is being hurt or might be hurt.

SENDIASS postcard

Youth Advisory Board

The Youth Advisory Board is made up of children and young people with SEND that come together on a monthly basis to develop the service for future users, as well as developing their skills through ongoing projects.

The group also provides the chance to make meaningful connections with others, gain confidence and have fun in a safe space.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the group, email SENDIASS@southtyneside.gov.uk


We support professionals in South Tyneside by offering information, advice and support.

We also provide free training and awareness sessions to professionals in South Tyneside who are new to working in SEND or those who are looking to refresh their knowledge.


We have created a number of template letters and resources for parents/carers to use.

We provide free training and awareness sessions to parents/carers, children and young people with SEND and professionals in South Tyneside.

We have also created a list of local groups active in the area who may also be able to offer help.


We provide free training and awareness sessions to parents/carers, children and young people with SEND and professionals in South Tyneside.

These sessions are provided in a range of different ways including: Seminars, Workshops and Information Sessions. These are currently being delivered virtually.

Sessions available include:

Details of upcoming sessions can be found on the South Tyneside SENDIASS EventBrite page.

We are also able to provide bespoke training to teams, schools and professionals. To discuss training needs you can contact us via SENDIASS@southtyneside.gov.uk

Understanding Meetings

You can request a meeting with any of the professionals involved with your child or young person.

There are many reasons why you might ask for a meeting, including concerns about:

Preparing for meetings

It’s important to have a clear idea of why you want to have a meeting and who you need to contact.

If all the issues are school related, you may want to meet with your child’s class teacher, form tutor, special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) and head teacher.

There may also be other professionals involved from outside of school, such as:

If the issues are about an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan), your child will have a named SEN officer at the Council that you can speak to.

Organising a meeting

To organise a meeting, you can:

You can also contact us. We will talk you through the options and support you with arranging a meeting.

Your child or young person’s views

Children and young people should be supported so that they are able to prepare for meetings to discuss and review their SEND provision.

We can support by allowing them to express their views and contribute to discussions appropriately.

More guidance

For more guidance, download our ‘Meeting Notes’ document, which includes questions to think about when attending meetings with your child’s school or college.

Download our ‘Meeting Notes’ document

Exclusions From School

If you are a parent or carer of a child with behavioural difficulties or who is at risk of being or has been excluded from school, we can provide you with support and information.

We aim to encourage partnership working and develop positive communication between parents and schools.

Where it is possible, we like to become involved as soon as problems are identified. We will listen and give you time to share your views.

We encourage you to have a meeting arranged at school to help look at positive ways to move forward. We may be able to support parents at these meetings or give support by telephone.

We also arrange office visits where we can meet you and get more information about your concerns and understanding of what strategies have been used.

Further information is available at Department for Education

EHC Plans

The Education, Health and Care (EHC) assessment is a detailed look at a child’s special educational needs and the support that they may need to be able to learn.

What is an EHC plan?

An EHC plan is a legal document that describes a child or young person’s special educational, health and social care needs. It explains the extra help that will be given to meet those needs and how it will support the child or young person to achieve what they want in their life.

The plan is created by the Council after an EHC needs assessment. An EHC plan can be issued between the ages of 0 to 25 years.

What an EHC plan looks like

The plan has 11 sections labelled alphabetically:

  1. The Views, interests and inspirations of your child
  2. Special educational needs (SEN)
  3. Health needs related to SEN
  4. Social care needs related to SEN
  5. Outcomes – how the extra help will benefit your child
  6. Special educational provision (support)
  7. Health provision
  8. Social care provision
  9. Placement – type and name of school or other institution
  10. Personal budget arrangements
  11. Advice and information – a list of the information gathered during the EHC needs assessment

The plan should be written so that everyone can understand it. It should be clear and detailed about the amount and type of support your child will get and how the support will help your child.

Choosing A School

We offer impartial information, advice and support around special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

We understand that choosing a school for your child can feel overwhelming.

Below you’ll find some example questions that you could ask your child’s potential new school.

Mainstream and Special Schools

Special Schools

Making reasonable adjustments

Reasonable adjustments are changes that nurseries, schools and colleges must make to ensure disabled children and young people are not significantly disadvantaged.

Transport to and from school/college

If you are a child or young person and you have a special educational needs and/or a disability (SEND), you may be able to get help with your transport to school or college. For more information on the type of help that may be available to you see SEND Transport.

There is no direct duty on the Local Authority to provide transport for children below the compulsory school age (5th birthday.)

Jargon Buster

A state funded school in England which received its funding primarily directly from and is owned and controlled by central government, not a local authority.
Attention Deficit Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Written reports from parents, teachers and other professionals on pupil's special educational needs.
Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Common Assessment Framework. A method of assessment which can be used by social services, health or education. It is non statutory, i.e. it does not replace statutory assessment.
The Children and Families Act 2014.
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.
Care plan
A record of the health and/or social care services being provided to a child or young person.
Clinical Commissioning Group. This is an NHS organisation which brings together local GPs and health professionals to take on commissioning responsibilities for local health services. A CCG plans and arranges the delivery of the health care provision for people in its area.
Code or CoP
The Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 2015. This contains statutory guidance on the Children and Families Act 2014.
Cerebral Palsy, physical impairment that affects movement. People with CP may have mobility problems which vary from barely noticeable to extremely severe. Those with CP may also have sight, hearing, speech, perception and learning difficulties. Between a quarter and a third of children and adolescents with CP, and about a tenth of adults, are also affected by epilepsy.
The Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970. This is one of the main Acts of Parliament which entitle disabiled people to social care.
Department for Education.
Direct Payments
Payments made in lieu of services being provided. Direct Payments may be available for health care, social care and for the special educational provision in an EHC plan.
Disagreement Resolution (sometimes called Dis Res)
The dispute resolution service offered by a local authority to resolve disagreements between parents and the local authority. NB. This is not always an independent service and it does not necessarily mean mediation which has a specific meaning (see below).
EA 1996
Education Act 1996.
Early Years Provider
A provider of early education places for children under five. This can include state funder and private nurseries.
Educational and Child Psychologist.
Education Funding Agency, An arm of the Department for Education. It allocates funding to local authorities for maintained schools and voluntary aided schools. It is also responsible for funding and monitoring academies.
EHC needs assessment
An assessment of the education, health care and social care needs of a child or young person conducted by a local authority under the Children and Families Act 2014.
EHC plan
An education, health and care plan as defined in section 37 (2) of the Children and Families Act 2014.
Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Educational Psychologist.
EqA or EQA
The Equality Act 2010.
The Early Years Foundation Stage. A statutory framework which covers children both in pre-school settings and in reception classes up to their fifth birthday.
Further Education. The FE sector in England includes further education colleges, sixth form colleges, specialist colleges and adult education institutes. It does not include universities.
Free school
A type of Academy.
Healthwatch England
Healthwatch England is an independent consumer champion, gathering and representing the views of the public about health and social care services in England. It operates both at a national and local level.
Hearing Impairment.
Home Authority
This usually means the local authority in which a child or young person is ordinarily resident (and which therefore has the responsibility to the child or young person under the Children and Families Act 2014).
Individual Education Plan. A plan which sets out the support a child is receiving in their school or other setting. There is no longer a specific requirement for children with SEN to have a plan called an IEP under the Code but children with SEN may still have IEPs.
Independent school
A school that is not maintained by a local authority.
Independent supporter
A person recruited locally by a voluntary or community sector organisation to help families going through an EHC needs assessment and the process of developing an EHC plan.
A local authority in England.
A learning difficulty assessment under section 139A Learning and Skills Act 2000.
Local Healthwatch
The local version of Healthwatch England in a particular area.
Learning Support Assistant, also sometimes called Teaching Assistant ("TA").
Mainstream School
State school which can meet the needs of most children.
Maintanined School
Schools in England that are maintained by a local authority – any community, foundation or voluntary school, community special or foundation special school.
A method of seeking to resolve disagreements by going to an independent mediator. Mediation must be offered to a parent or young person in relation to an EHC Plan. Mediation is not compulsory for the parent or young person but they will need to consider mediation before appealing the education parts of an EHC plan in most cases.
Moderate learning difficulties – not a legal term but often used in relation to the description of a school, i.e. an MLD school.
National Curriculum
A statutory entitlement to learning for all pupils, determining what should be taught and setting attainment targets for learning. It also determines how performance will be assessed and reported. Children’s expected progress is currently determined by reference to standardised national curriculum “levels” which prescribe the expected attainment for pupils in each year group. This aspect is set to change in the near future but we expect something else to be put in its place.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Oppositional Defiance Disorder.
Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. This is the body which inspects and regulates services which care for children and young people and those providing education and skills for learners of all ages.
Occupational Therapy, sometimes used to refer to the occupational therapist.
A provision, criteria or practice (relevant for indirect discrimination and the dury to make reasonable adjustments under the EqA).
Pervasive Developmental Disorder.
Personal Budget
A Personal Budget is the notional amount of money which an LA has identified as necessary to secure the special educational provision in an EHC plan.
Profound and multiple learning difficulties.
Home-based educational support for pre-school children with SEN.
Parent Partnership Officer who operates within a Parent Partnership Service; every local authority must have one. They provide advice to parents about SEN. They range from large services sometimes run by voluntary organisations to services run by a single part-time member of staff.
Pupil Referral Unit - for children who need to be educated out of school, often because they have been excluded. They have the same legal status as schools in some respects but do not have to teach the national curriculum.
The responsible body of a school.
Special educational needs.
Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator - the teacher with responsibility for co-ordinating special help for children with SEN at their school.
SEND or the Tribunal
The First-tier Tribunal, Special Educational Needs and Disability – sometimes referred to by its former name “Sendist”.
Special educational provision.
Severe learning difficulties – not a legal term but often used in relation to the description of a school, i.e. an SLD school.
Speech and Language Therapy, sometimes used to refer to the Speech and Language Therapist.
Special school
A school which is specifically organised to make special educational provision for pupils with SEN.
Studio School
A type of Academy.
Teaching Assistant also sometimes called Learning Support Assistant ("LSA").
University Technical College (which offers academic and technical education to secondary school pupils) - a type of Academy.
Visual impairment.



A selection of downloadable Microsoft Word templates for various situations that you can edit, print and use. You can email us if you need any help or advice.

Support organisations

Support for parents/carers

Activities for children and young people with SEND

Autism support