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The role of an Independent Volunteer Supporter

- or an IVS for short

An Independent Volunteer Supporter (IVS) is someone who is able to support children and young people and/or their parents or carers, with issues around Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND).

About our IVS

Our IVS will:

  • be someone that you can trust and rely on
  • respect your confidence and privacy
  • listen and help decide what they want rather than tell them what to do
  • understand the education system
  • be good at making themselves understood
  • not have a clash of interests

They are independent of decision making professionals. This means that they have no conflict of interest, which could be seen as influencing their ability to give impartial information or advice when they are providing support.

IVS are trained to be fully informed about local and national policies and procedures around SEND. This helps them to feel confident when working with children and young people, and their parents or carers, in a variety of ways and in different situations. They also have good communication skills and the ability to listen.

What our IVS can do

  • Provide emotional support and encouragement to children and young people, and their parents or carers
  • Help children and young people, and their parents or carers, understand how the Special Needs Code of Practice works in schools
  • Accompany and inform children and young people, and their parents or carers, during visits to potential schools and other settings
  • Support children and young people, and their parents or carers, in meetings and they may ask questions, seek clarification and afterwards discuss with them what was discussed
  • Help children and young people, and their parents or carers, to prepare their contribution to a statutory assessment of their child

How we support our IVS

We support our IVS by:

  • Providing regular supervision meetings to discuss caseloads and help identify development needs
  • Providing training opportunities on a continuing basis
  • Providing opportunities for IVS to meet each other for mutual support