November 22 - Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND) articles, information, news and updates on our service
We provide free and impartial information, advice and support about special educational needs & disabilities (SEND) for children, young people, parents and carers.
Ofsted re-visit 28th Nov - 30th Nov 2022

Back in March 2020 Norfolk Local Authority and Health Services were visited by Ofsted/CQC inspectors to review how effectively they were fulfilling their responsibilities towards children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).  During their visit the voices and experiences of parent/carers, children and young people were paramount to the inspector’s decision.

A few months after the Ofsted/CQC visit they published their findings and decision, this letter explained that Norfolk Local Authority had not passed the SEND Area Inspection and it also detailed three main areas of weakness:

  1. Too many EHC plans and annual reviews are not completed in a timely manner and are of poor quality. This limits the scope and impact of joint commissioning, including the timeliness of services to meet speech, language and communication needs; for children and young people with social, emotional, mental health needs; and for those with ASD.
  2. Plans and provision for young people as they move into adulthood are not sufficient to meet their needs. There is a lack of support for the young people to become active, independent citizens in the community, in a way that matches their needs and aspirations. Joint commissioning of services for 18- to 25-year-olds is not sufficiently well informed because leaders do not know enough about what the young people want and need.
  3. Too often, communication with parents and carers is poor. Co-production with children, young people and their families is too limited. These weaknesses particularly affect, but are not exclusive to, children and young people with SEND who do not have an EHC plan. Families are not sufficiently informed about what help is available to them and what the area is doing to address the weaknesses in provision and services for children and young people.

Following the letter from Ofsted/CQC Norfolk was required to write a Written Statement of Action (WSoA) detailing how it would address the significant weakness noted by the inspectors. Norfolk SENDIASS were part of the lengthy meetings that resulted in Norfolk’s WSoA; a document of over a hundred actions including actions that Norfolk SENDIASS would lead on, such as creating a forum where children and young people would have their voices heard to influence change and inform policy and practice – this became the Norfolk SEND Youth Forum.

Over the last two years Norfolk SENDIASS alongside other parent/carer groups have worked together in co-production with the Local Authority to address many of the issues raised by the inspection.

During their re-visit they will determine whether the local area has made sufficient progress in addressing the areas of significant weakness detailed in the WSoA. Same as the original inspection parent/carers, children and young people will be given the opportunity to inform the inspectors of their views, this time though, they will want your views specifically on the three areas of weaknesses.

We now know that Ofsted are due to re-visit Norfolk between the 28th and 30th November 2022, this is your chance to have your voice heard regarding the three areas of weakness as detailed above. There are a number of ways to let Ofsted know your views:

  1. Parents and carers who would like to take part in this survey can follow this internet link:  The survey will open at 12 noon on Monday 21 November 2022 and close at 12 noon on Friday 25 November 2022.
  2. Parents and carers can email their contributions to .
  3. Parents and carers can contact their local Parent Carer Forum (Family Voice Norfolk) to find out more about about how they can contribute their views during the local area re-visit.  The inspectors will meet with the local Parent Carer Forum to hear their views directly.
Complete the Norfolk County Council LASEND Re-visit survey
SENDIASS Advice Clinic's

Before the Covid-19 pandemic we held our very popular monthly Advice Clinics, these would take place across the whole of Norfolk and be a chance for parent/carers and young people to come and speak with an adviser. Sadly, due to the pandemic these had to stop, we then started them again earlier in the year but due to capacity couldn’t continue with them.

We are very happy to announce that these will be back in the new year, these are an opportunity for parent/carers and young people to have one of our advisers go through paperwork with them or help with filling in forms.

Keep an eye out on our social media and newsletters in the new year to see when and where these will be coming back.

Upcoming Tribunal Training
Every year Norfolk SENDIASS put on Tribunal Training for parent/carers, young people and professionals. This training is specifically for those wanting to appeal a final Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), this training coincides with EHCP phase transfer.

Phase transfer is when a child or young person is moving from one phase of education to another with an EHCP. There is a very specific process of seeking and naming the placement for the next phase of education and if a parent/carer or young person is unhappy with certain parts of the plan (B – needs, F – provision and/or I – placement) then they will be given their right to appeal this.

Our tribunal training will be taking place again next year between February and April, with a session for parent/carers only, professionals and parent/carers and a specific session for parent/carers and young people. Keep an eye on our social media and upcoming newsletters for further information.
Family Voice Conference 2023

We’re so excited for the Family Voice Conference to be back, this is something that we at Norfolk SENDIASS always look forward to. It’s a great opportunity for parent/carers, young people and professionals to come together and find out about all things SEND. Keep an eye out on their social media, website and newsletters for the event details.

Illegal suspensions in schools

A suspension is illegal when:

  • When a child or young person is sent home or asked to be collected for all or part of the day without a formal suspension letter 
  • When a pupil is suspended because school cannot meet their SEN or disability
  • Because the teaching assistant that supports them is not in school or the support they would normally receive is unavailable
  • A reduced timetable which has not been agreed by the parent/carer
  • A school ask the parent/carer to keep their child or young person at home because of an OFSTED visit, a school trip or activity they are not taking part in 

There is no such thing as an unofficial of informal suspension.

You can download our Exclusions and suspensions from school booklet from our website.

Who and what are SENDIASS?
The Children and Families Act 2014 states that Local Authorities in England must arrange for information and advice to be provided to children and young people (0-25) with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and their parent/carers. These services must provide information, advice and support related to SEND in education and health and social care where it impacts on education.

These services are called ‘SENDIASS’ which stands for Special Educational Needs and Disability, Information, Advice and Support Service. The information, advice and support they provide must be free, confidential, and impartial, they are a statutory service (which means they must be provided by law) and must be jointly commissioned by the Local Authority (Education and Social Care) and Health but sit arms-length from them.

All SENDIASS’s must adhere to their Minimum Standards which were written by a group of IASS managers, parents, LA reps and the Chair of the Information Advice and Support Programme (IASP) board, in consultation with the Department for Education. All SENDIASS’s are overseen and supported by the Information, Advice and Support Service Network (IASSN). The IASSN are funded by the Department for Education but are based within the Council for Disabled Children which sits in the National Children’s Bureau.

In Norfolk we are the SENDIAS Service (Norfolk SENDIASS formally known as Norfolk SEND Partnership), we are jointly commissioned by Norfolk County Council and Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board (ICB). We provide free information, advice and support confidentially and impartially through our dedicated helpline as we all as supporting some families through casework. At Norfolk SENDIASS all our advisers are trained in IPSEA legal training Levels 1-3 so they can provide impartial information based on the law. To understand more about us and what we can offer please visit our website.

Please see our Impartiality Policy and What you can expect from us Policy for more information.
Norfolk SEND Youth Forum
We had our November meeting this week (16th November), and we were thrilled to be joined by another group in Norfolk, called the Dragons!!

DRAGONS (Disability real action group of Norfolk) is a group of young people with disabilities in Norfolk.
They help other young people with special educational needs and disabilities in Norfolk. They help get young people's voices heard and make sure opportunities are accessible and fun.

This provided a brilliant opportunity for the two groups to share information and meet one another.  In Norfolk, the Dragons and the Norfolk SEND Youth Forum are groups for young people with experience of SEND, who want to make a difference.

We were also joined by Michelle and Jacqui from the Healthy Child programme, who made a return visit, to explain how feedback from young people (including our Forum members) is helping to shape the  development of their web-site, rather than what professionals think young people want!!!

In the final part of our meeting, we were able to extend lots of opportunities to our members.  Charlotte is going to help me with a presentation about the Forum, within Children’s services Practice week, next week. Charlotte has written about her experience of the SEND Youth Forum, here is an exclusive preview:

“I have additional needs; I started in a main-stream school, which had a unit attached for additional needs and then went to a special school from Year 6 till Year 11. I loved it, I had lots of opportunities, I had great lessons, I went on a skiing holiday, and I sometimes boarded at school, but I know not everyone is so lucky.

I joined the youth forum to meet new people & hopefully make changes for people with disabilities, to stop people being judged.

I love coming every month we talk about issues that are happening and how we can make changes, we also play games & have a chat, I’m looking forward to being able to see everyone in person.”
Members were also invited to attend a meeting with Ofsted, on 29th November, to share their experiences.

There is an open invite to any young person (YP) in Norfolk, to come along to an Engagement event on 3rd December, (pizza to be provided) being run by Norfolk County Council, information below! 
Register for the Norfolk SEND Youth Forum
SENDIASS staff spotlight
My name is Heather and I have been working with SENDIASS since October of this year.
I have worked in education since 2003 within the primary and secondary sector.
I started my career at Robert Kett Junior School when my youngest son started school as a Learning Support Assistant. In 2006 I moved to Hethersett Academy where I trained to become SENDCo and an Access Arrangements Assessor. In 2019 I joined Red Balloon Learner Centre as SENDCo and one year later, unexpectedly, I became Head! A challenging, but exciting time, learning a new role and dealing with the COVID crisis at the same time.
Due to family commitments I needed to reduce my working hours and was delighted when I was appointed to become a SENDIASS advisor. I work with a wonderful team and am thoroughly enjoying being able to continue helping and supporting families and young people, something I am absolutely passionate about.

Contact us

Visit our website to book an appointment with an advisor, or contact us by telephone.  If we are unable to answer please leave a voicemail and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

If you are a professional looking for advice you can complete a Professional Referral Form via our website and we will contact you as soon as possible.

Norfolk SENDIASS updates

We are pleased to let you know we are now slowly able to offer casework again.  Please be aware this is subject to capacity at the time and if the relevant criteria is met.  Please see the below policy on our website.

What to expect from us



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Our mailing address is:
148 Woodside Road

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