Doncaster SENDIAS

Doncaster SENDIAS service (also known as SENDIASS) provides information, advice and support (IAS) to parents, carers, children and young people in relation to Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Disability and related health and social care issues.

Hi Everyone,
Doncaster SENDIAS service would like to let families know that we are still open and here for you. However during the on-going Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak we are following UK government advice to ensure that we maintain safe and effective working practices. 
We are continuing to offer a service and SENDIAS officers are available daily to provide information, advice and support. The main difference to the service delivery is that all face-to-face meetings, outreach work and visits have been temporarily suspended. 
Wherever possible alternatives means are being used to keep everyone in touch and for business to carry on as usual; for example, by telephone call, email, conference calls, and online meetings. Our online referral service is open and active through this Doncaster SENDIAS webpage or you can contact us through our Facebook messenger.
We will ensure up-to-date information is available on our website and through social media to help provide as much support as possible to our families at this time. In the next few days, we will also link with Doncaster Parents Voice (DPV) to see how we can work together to support communities and individuals. 
We understand that these are very challenging times, however your patience and understanding during this time is greatly appreciated.
Please keep in touch. 

What do we do?

We are an impartial service, which means that the information, advice and support we offer is unbiased - we do not take sides or make decisions for you. 

Our team will talk you through the options available, the possible outcomes, and help you make your own informed decisions based on the law and the SEND code of Practice.

Who can access the service?

  • Parents of children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities
  • Young people from the age of 16 to the age of 25 years with special educational needs or disabilities

Many children will access information, advice and support via their parents, but older children and young people can access the service independently.

The service can:

  • Listen to your concerns regarding SEN matters.
  • Help you understand educational support in schools, colleges and other educational settings.
  • Give advice and support in relation to SEN Support Plans and Education Health Care Assessments, which may include attending meetings and future reviews.
  • Explain the law and your rights
  • Give advice and support to promote the active involvement of parents, carers, children and young people in all decisions about outcomes in mainstream or special school and in educational settings.
  • Help open up positive dialogue between parents, carers, young people, schools, local authority (LA), health and voluntary bodies to help you when things go wrong.
  • Resolve disagreements between parents, young people and schools, or the Local Authority and signpost families to support groups, Doncaster Parent Forum and other voluntary organisations
  • Support parents and young people to access the independent SEN Mediation Service and advise on the procedure for appeals to the SEN and Disability Tribunal
  • Advise and help promote independence and self-advocacy for children, young people and their parents
  • Provide specialist individual support to parents, carers, children and young people who are involved in an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Assessment

Referral Process

Referrals can be taken via phone or email. Referrals are accepted from parents, carers and directly from young people. You can also make a referral by clicking on the button below and filling in the online form.


Response Times

Initial response times for the service will be within 3 working days unless otherwise specified.

Information to Support Your Family

SEN Support and SEN Funding

If a parent/carer thinks their child may have SEN then they should:
Contact the Special Educational Needs co-ordinator (SENCo) or Manager/ Head teacher /Principal in the education setting. Alternatively parents/carers may be aware of a lead practitioner or lead service involved with their child and they may be able to provide more information. Parents/carers know their children better than anyone and they have a right to take part in decisions about their child’s education. The closer a parent/carer works with their child’s teachers, education setting and other services, the more successful any special help will be. 

All schools must have an SEN Policy which sets out how children might be supported in school. Schools also have to publish an SEN Information Report to show how they have implemented their Policy and also how they are meeting their duties under the Equalities Act 2010. The Department for Education (DfE) has published a Parents’ Guide to the SEND code of practice which you can download here:

Parents Guide to the SEND code of Practice
Download (566KB - PDF)

We have created a useful flowchart for you to demonstrate the pathway for the SEN   support process. You can download this below:

SEN Support Flowchart
Download (166KB - DOCX)

You can find further information and useful guides on SEN support and Funding on the Local Offer web pages

Education and Health Care Plans (EHCP)

An Education, Health and Care plan (EHC plan) describes your child’s special educational needs (SEN) and the help they will get to meet them. An EHC plan also includes any health and care provision that is needed. It is a legal document written by the local authority and is intended to ensure that children and young people with an EHC plan receive the support they need.

EHC plans replaced Statements of Special Educational Need and Section 139 Learning Difficulty Assessments (LDA) on 1 September 2014.

EHC plans are for children and young people who need more support than their school or other setting can provide. The plans can start from a child’s birth and continue into further education and training.

Who needs an EHC plan?

EHC plans are for children and young people who have a special educational need or disability that cannot be met by the support that is available at their school or college.

Most children and young people with special educational needs will have help given to them without the need for an EHC Plan. This is called SEN support.

The purpose of SEN support is to help children achieve the outcomes or learning objectives that have been set for them.

Some children and young people may not make the progress expected of them even with this help. When this happens the Local Authority carry out an EHC needs assessment. A few children and young people have such significant difficulties needs that an EHC needs assessment should not be delayed.

You or your child’s school can ask the local authority to make an EHC needs assessment. When this assessment is finished the local authority must decide whether to issue an EHC plan.

The SEND Code of Practice says:

In considering whether an EHC needs assessment is necessary, the local authority should consider whether there is evidence that despite the early years provider, school or post-16 institution having taken relevant and purposeful action to identify, assess and meet the special educational needs of the child or young person, the child or young person has not made expected progress. (9.14)

The law states that if your child has or may have special needs and may need provision to be made via an EHC plan, the local authority must conduct an EHC needs assessment. You do not have to prove that an EHC plan is definitely necessary to obtain an assessment, you just have to show it may be necessary. If you think your child needs more help than the school can provide, you can ask for an assessment.

EHC Needs Assessments
Download (554KB - PDF)
Annual review - timeline for parents
Download (180KB - PDF)
What is an Annual Review
Download (84KB - DOCX)

You can find more information about EHC needs assessments and how to ask for one on the Doncaster Local Offer page here. You can also find useful resources and information from Council for Disabled Children here.

Personal Budgets

A Personal Budget for SEN is money identified to pay for support specified in an Education, Health and Care plan (EHC plan) for a child or young person with special educational needs. It can include funds from the local authority for education and social care and from the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for health.

There are four ways you can use a personal budget:

  1. Sometimes the local authority, school or college will look after the Personal Budget for you. This is called an Arrangement or a Notional Budget
  2. Sometimes you can receive money directly to manage all or part of the Personal Budget yourself. This is called a Direct Payment
  3. Sometimes you can opt to have someone else to manage the Personal Budget for you. This is called a Third Party Arrangement
  4. Sometimes you can have a mixture of some or all of these arrangements

Who can have a Personal Budget?

Parents of a child with an EHC plan, or a young person (16-25) with an EHC plan, can request a Personal Budget either during the drafting of an EHC plan or once the plan has been issued and is under review.

You do not need to have an EHC plan to get Personal Budgets for social and health care, but once you have an EHC plan, or one is being prepared, you can request budgets for all three areas of support. You must have an EHC plan to get a Personal Budget for special educational provision.

For more information visit the following web page: Local Offer - Personal Budgets


There are two main types of exclusion; Permanent or fixed term. Click on the links below to find out further information and guidance.

What is a Permanent Exclusion

Fixed Period Exclusion

For guidance on what the law says around exclusions:

Mediation and Appeals

What if I do not agree with the decision around SEN provision?

If you are not happy about the help that your child has at school the first step is to talk to their teacher, or to the Special Educational Needs Coordinator or the head teacher.

If you think the school is doing all it can but your child needs even more help, you can ask the local authority for an EHC needs assessment.

If your child has an Education, Health and Care plan you can also contact:

Doncaster Local Authority’s SEN team

We can help you prepare for and attend a meeting. If you still have concerns we can help you decide what to do next.i.e.

  • seeking some help to put your concerns forward
  • making a complaint
  • asking for independent disagreement resolution or mediation
  • appealing against a decision.

We can tell you more about each of these and help you decide what to do. Click on the link below for further information;

What if I do not agree with decisions about SEN provision Factsheet
Download (573KB - PDF)

For guidance on how to appeal a decision please visit the website How to appeal a SEN decision

Useful Websites:

Useful Websites and Contacts


Contact is the national charity for families with disabled children. The website contains lots of useful information and they also offer a free telephone advice service which provides direct advice and support to parents and carers. 

Freephone: 0808 808 3555

Independent Parent Special Education Advice (IPSEA)

IPSEA offers independent legally based advice, support and training to help get the right education for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).


Council for Disabled Children

Council for Disabled Children are the umbrella body for the disabled children's sector, bringing together professionals, practitioners and policy makers. You can find a range of resources to support you and your child on their website, including parent guides and leaflets, and information on other services who offer information, advice and support.



Cerebra is a charity for children with brain conditions. Their website contains lots of useful information, including handy parent guides on a range of topics to support you and your child.


Good Schools Guide

The Good Schools Guide is a helpful guide to help you choose the best school for your child.


Doncaster Parent's Voice (DPV)

Doncaster Parents Voice (DPVoice) is run by parents of children with a variety of additional needs, they exist to support families with disabled children. Their aim is to ensure the needs of all children and young people (0-25) who are disabled or have additional needs in Doncaster are met.

Telephone: 01302 637566 

For further information about services and activities across Doncaster you can visit The Local Offer or Families Information Service


If you are a recent user of our service we would be really grateful if you could take a few minutes to provide some honest feedback about our performance and where we can make improvements. Please answer honestly - we really do want to know what you think. Feedback can be submitted anonymously if you wish. 

Submit Feedback

Contact us

The video below was created to help children and young people with SEND and their parents learn about the service and support on offer from SENDIAS and how the SENDIAS team can be contacted - including how to access the national Helpline provided by Contact.


Last updated: 22 September 2020 14:23:24