Independent Support Service

Impartial Information, Support and Guidance Regarding Educational Health & Care Plans for Children and Young People aged from 0 to 25 living with Special Educational Needs or a Disability


We are looking to recruit a bank of volunteers from our parent carer community in order to build resilience and sustainability into our Independent Support service and to support new entrants into the system.

This will be particularly important following the March 18 deadline for all statements to be transferred to Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP’s).

Read more..

If you feel that this is a role that you would be interested in exploring please contact Katherine Fellows on 07779 267915 / 01432 356068 or email:

Click to view:

 Tel: 01432 356068 | Email:

Useful information leaflets & fact sheets


Funding for children with special educational needs or disability in Herefordshire

Independent Support and Annual Reviews

Good news for those parents, children and young people who were supported by Herefordshire Carers Support (HCS) Independent Support Service with their initial Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or transfer from statement to EHCP.   The Council for Disabled Children (who monitor the Independent Support Contract), have agreed that HCS Independent support Service can now also support at the EHC Annual Reviews. We can support you to prepare for and attend the meeting, complete family contribution paperwork, liaise with professionals and ensure that you are supported and well informed throughout the process.

So if you or your child has an EHCP annual review coming up and you would like support from our Independent Support Service or information please contact Katherine Fellows, Independent Support Co-ordinator on 01432 356068 / 07779267915 or email.

January 2017

Does your child have a Learning Disability Assessment (LDA)?

Any Young Person with a Learning Difficulty Assessment (LDA) also known as a Section 139a, that wishes to remain in education post 31 August should request a transfer to an Education Health and Care Plan (EHC plan) via the Local Authority Special Educational Needs (SEN) team as soon as possible.
If successful in this request an EHC plan will ensure continued support for the remainder of their education potentially until the age of 25 and will provide increased legal protection.
Following 31 August there will be no more funding available via the LDA route to support education.
If you would like to find out more or would like support to request a transfer please contact: Katherine Fellows, Independent Support Co-ordinator

Independent Support phase 2 summary report

National coverage was retained with an Independent Support service offer in every local authority area
Independent evaluation of the IS programme by NTDi published in January 2016 reports:

“The IS role has become the cornerstone of the reforms for many people in many areas, reflecting a focus on personalised and people led support at critical transition points in young people’s lives.

Independent Supporters can be and often are a catalyst for change, helping to embed the culture of the Reforms in organisations and with families so that they have a wider impact on systems as well as with individuals.”

“The added value of Independent Support is most often demonstrated through the experiences of parents who have experienced IS as a distinctly new resource, a focused capacity and access to enhanced support.”

“It is too soon to be thinking about ending the IS Programme (ie in March 2016), as it is only just gathering momentum at a local level and is taking time to take effect both for individual families/young people and those delivering the service”

View full report

 Minister Edward Timpson announces £80 million to extend opportunities to children with special educational needs and disabilities – important news to share

DfE have released a press notice to say they have allocated £80 million to boost support for special educational needs including a commitment to fund the independent support programme for a further financial year.

The DfE press notice can be found at:

Independent Support : some good news to share – 7 December 2015

Independent Support1,000 responses from parents and young people on their experience of Independent Support

  • Over 60% felt the work with Independent Supporters was extremely useful, 30% felt it was very useful
  • Over 86% found the support they received had a positive impact
  • Over 96% confirmed that support was available when they needed it
  • Nearly 73% would recommend the Independent Support service
  • 85% felt they needed support with EHC planning in the future
  • 85% felt the referral process was easy
  • 53% received IS during Transition from a statement/LDA; other an EHC assessment
  • 77% felt they were fully able to express their views and were listened to throughout the process

View survey quotes.

Copyright © 2015 Council For Disabled Children, All rights reserved.

Council for Disabled Children have launched 2 new CDC websites 

Get Your Rights is a new interactive website which helps to explain to children and young people their rights when using the NHS. It has been developed in partnership and co-produced with children and young people, and sets out their rights in an interactive and accessible way.

IASSN CYP is a new site which aims to help disabled children and young people and those with SEN better understand what rights they have for accessing information, advice and support across education, health and social care. The website also contains full contact details for IAS Services across England.

NEW briefing: What do the SEN and disability reforms mean for schools?

This month CDC has worked with nasen and the SEN Leaders programme to produce a briefing on what the reforms mean for schools one year on and to be clear on who has responsibility for what and what support is available.  It’s a good resource and schools may want to use the briefing to check how they are doing.  Please feel free to share this resource and link amongst your networks.

The resource can be found at:

Excellent blog

Do take time to read this blog written by Conrad Will – a 17 year old sixth form student from Kent who is visually impaired and has been a part of EPIC since its inception, nearly 3 years ago. This blog has been written by Conrad and very much his own words!

You can access the blog at:

National Autistic Society – Report on SEN reforms

“A year on from the introduction of a new Special Educational Needs (SEN) system in England, a report from The National Autistic Society shows that parents of children on the autism spectrum are facing highly stressful battles to get the right support. The promising reforms are being let down by poor local implementation. A thorough review is needed to identify and address the challenges in the system.”

Click here for more detail

Additional useful information – just click the links below:

Do you need advice, information or support on SEN related issues?

From Tuesday 11th November, the ASSERT team at Autism West Midlands will operate a phone advice service from 12.30-2.30pm on weekdays.

They will take calls from parents, carers and professionals who need advice, information and guidance on any SEN-related issues, including:

  •  SEN reforms – what the changes mean for you
  • Transition to adulthood
  • Self-directed support including Personal Budgets
  • EHC Plans and Statements

Call 0121 450 7585, Monday to Friday between 12.30 and 2.30pm.

If you would prefer to email your query, please email:

The team also offers face-to-face advice sessions at their office in Edgbaston, Birmingham, please book at:

SKYPE advice sessions available on request.

Jenny MaherCase Coordinator, Autism West Midlands

Head Office, Ground Floor, Main Wing, Regent Court, George Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 1NU

Tel: 0121 450 7582 Fax: 0121 450 7581


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