Last updated:
31 October 2016

Independent Parental Supporter

Support parents who have a child with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

The West Sussex SEND Information, Advice and Support Service (WS SEND IAS) has a small number of Independent Parental Supporters (IPS) trained to support parents who have a child with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) in a variety of ways. These include attending meetings with parents or helping them to put their views in writing.

How to apply

You can apply using our online form.

Apply online

Role description

Skills required

  • Reliability and trustworthiness
  • Honesty and integrity
  • Good listening and communication skills
  • Basic knowledge of the SEND system and/or willingness to learn
  • Empathy with parents who have a child with special needs and/or disabilities
  • The ability to be impartial and confidential
  • Commitment to the task
  • Being calm, clear and considered

Ideal volunteer

  • Will participate in initial and ongoing training and regular supervision
  • Will follow guidance and work within the agreed expectations of the role
  • Lives in or very near West Sussex
  • Drives and has access to a car (this is desirable, rather than essential)

Details of duties

  • Listening to what parents have to say
  • Helping parents to understand the statutory assessment process
  • Helping parents to write letters and reports
  • Finding out information for parents
  • Helping parents read through and make sense of official documents
  • Helping parents prepare for meetings
  • Going on school visits and attending school meetings with parents
  • Taking notes of meetings
  • Helping parents think about options and talk through decisions

Regularity of duties

The main times we need volunteers for are Monday-Friday during school term. There are no set hours each week as our work is sporadic, so it is an ideal role for someone that cannot commit to a fixed set of hours a week.

Guidance and support

This is a responsible role and we will ensure you are supported in the following ways:

  • Travel expenses and out-of-pocket expenses
  • Opportunities to enhance your communication and negotiation skills
  • 1:1 support as needed

Induction and training

  • Initial induction training
  • Ongoing training and support, including regular meetings with other Independent Parental Supporters

Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS)

Volunteers will be required to undertake an enhanced DBS check due to possible lone working with vulnerable adults and young people.

References

Volunteers will be required to provide two references prior to undertaking the role. These should be two people who are not related to you, but who you have known for three years in a personal, academic, work or voluntary capacity. One of these should be in a professional capacity, for example, academic or employment.

Other Information

A SEND IAS Service volunteer identification card is provided for use when volunteering and all out-of-pocket travel expenses may be claimed.

 

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