SENDIASS (short for Special Educational Needs & Disability Information, Advice & Support Service) offers free impartial advice and information for parents, children and young people about special educational needs (SEN) procedures as set out in SEN legislation and the SEN Code of Practice 2015.

Under the Code, children and young people have a right to confidential and impartial information, advice and support, regardless of their age or mental capacity. While the Code suggests that many children and young people will access services via their parents or carers, services must make it possible for them to access services separately if they wish. Information, Advice and Support Service staff must be clear about these rights, as well as the limits to confidentiality, as safeguarding children and young people will always be paramount.

The Service can offer you:

  • Confidential and impartial information, advice and support to parents/carers/children and young people (16+)
  • Information about Blackburn with Darwen’s Local Offer
  • Information, advice and support on subjects including local policy and practice, personalisation, personal budgets, preparation for adulthood, the law on SEN and Disability, Health and Social Care
  • Information, advice and support throughout the Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) assessment process
  • Information, advice and support on parental requests
  • Information, advice and support about additional SEN support in school
  • Individual casework
  • Support in preparing for and attending meetings
  • Help in filling in forms and writing letters/reports
  • Support in resolving disagreements, including disagreement resolution, mediation and tribunals
  • Information, advice & support relating to school transitions and exclusions
  • Signposting to other local or national sources of advice, information and support
  • Links to local parent support groups and forums.
  • The Service also maintains a Facebook page

How to make a Referral

Primarily the service operates a ‘self-referral’ process. However, on occasions it may be considered appropriate for a professional to make contact with the service on behalf of the parent/carer or young person. The service will act upon such requests only on the full understanding that consent has been given.

Want to volunteer? Would you like to help make things better for children and young people aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) in Blackburn with Darwen?

Alternative Formats

If you require information in another format, please contact the service.

Your views matter:

SENDIASS will listen to parents/carers, (via Parent/Carer Forum & Parents in Partnership Steering Group), children/young people, professionals and schools, to gather ideas opinions and views. The information will be passed on to Blackburn with Darwen Children’s Services and other agencies to ensure their voice is heard.

The Service operates to the standards of confidentiality and impartiality set out in its policies, which you can download from the links below.

Contact details

Blackburn with Darwen Information, Special Education needs & Disability Information, Advice & Support Service
Community CVS
The Community Hub
35 Railway Road

It may not always be possible to speak with a member of the team due to outside office appointments etc. However, there is an answer machine so that messages may be left at any time. BwD SENDIASS also has a Facebook page.

The Service provides an all year round, flexible service, which is available during normal working hours, term time and holiday periods. This includes a direct line and a 24 hour answer machine service. Parents can also make contact by email and private message on Facebook. Response contact is within five working days

For further information about IAS Services contact the Information, Advice and Support Services Network (IASSN)

Information & impartiality policies

Information leaflets

You can also download information on SEND from the Council for Disabled Children (CDC) on the SEND reforms. The information has been produced by CDC in partnership with the Department for Education. The series of fact sheets, films and posters are designed to help parents/carers, children and young people understand some of the key themes of the new reforms including EHC plans, Post-16 support, the Local Offer and making decisions.

Useful websites:

  • – Blackburn with Darwen Council – Local Offer
  • – Special Educational Needs & Disability Guidance
  • – Independent Parental Special Educational Advice
  • – Recent Ofsted reports
  • – where you can access guidance
  • – Preparing for Adulthood. The Department for Education has commissioned a two year programme called Preparing for Adulthood that will provide knowledge and support to local authorities and their partners, including families and young people, so they can ensure that disabled young people achieve paid work, independent living, good health and community inclusion as they move into adulthood
  • Parents/carers can also visit the Contact helpline via their website for information or call the free helpline on 0808 808 35555 between 9.30am-5pm Monday to Friday or email
  • – Parent led information, resources & opinion about children & young people 0-25