The Department for Education has confirmed today that the Council for Disabled Children has been awarded a further £15m in government funding to continue the Independent Support programme until March 2018.
The programme provides time-limited impartial information and support to families and young people with special educational needs who are going through the process of developing an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan.
The programme is managed and delivered by a team at the Council for Disabled Children and since Independent Support began in September 2014, we've been collecting personal accounts from just a few of the young people and parent carers who've used the service. To date we have published over 100 stories that describe how Independent Support has helped them to think about the future, formulate plans for how to reach those goals, and - just as importantly - what the experience was in light of the support they received.
This welcomed news comes at the same time as The National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi) publish their independent national evaluation of Independent Support reviewing the programme’s progress over the last two years. Key findings show that:
- 90% of people who had accessed Independent Support found the service very or extremely useful
- 81% of Independent Supporters felt training provided by CDC had prepared them for practical delivery of IS
- Independent Support is highly valued by young people and parents, and also by the range of professionals involved in the care and support of disabled children and young people across the education, health and social care system
Dame Christine Lenehan, Director of CDC said:
"CDC is pleased to continue this successful piece of work for the Department for Education. Independent Support has fast become a valuable resource to help parents of children and young people with SEN navigate the EHC planning process and get involved in annual reviews. CDC look forward to continuing our work with Information, Advice and Support Services and a wide range of private, voluntary a community sector partners who deliver Independent Support on the front line, to seek the best outcomes possible for parents and young people up to March 2018.
CDC also welcome the NDTi report from the national evaluation of the Independent Support Programme 2014 – 2016. Their findings have shown that Independent Support is highly valued by young people and parents, and also by the range of professionals involved in the care and support of disabled children and young people across the education, health and social care system. CDC are equally pleased to see that NDTi report that where children and young people’s aspirations have been met, it is often down to the role of Independent Support and the particular skills and aptitude of the Independent Supporter(s) involved."
The government's press release can be found here.