Support for Parents and Carers

What is Independent Support?

Independent Support is a national programme commissioned by the Department of Education through the Council for Disabled Children. Our main aim is to support parents, children and young people aged 0-25 years of age through the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) reforms. September 2014 saw the start of the transition period from SEN Statements and Learning Difficulties Assessments to a more coordinated Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and we support parents through this transition process.


Your local Independent Support Service in Trafford

Within Trafford, the Independent Support team is led by Voluntary Community Action Trafford (VCAT) who provide the infrastructure support and managed by Wraparound Partnership.

Wraparound Partnership is a local organisation with extensive experience in providing support to parents, children and young people who have SEND. 


About Us

Our Independent Supporters help parents, children and young people through the process of transfer and work with a range of agencies to ensure that the views, wishes and feelings of the child, young person and their parents remain paramount.

Our trained Independent Supporters have vast SEN, educational or disability-related experience. Our service is 100% independent. We will support you to participate fully in all decisions about your EHC plan.

Links and Resources


The local offer


Every local authority must produce a directory of information detailing the education, health and social care services in their local area for children, young people and families who have Special Educational Needs or who are disabled. For more information visit Trafford Council's Local Offer.

Referral process

We actively encourage self-referrals from parents and young people. We also accept referrals from any other statutory provider or agency working with the child or young person as long as the agency have the parent or young person’s consent for the referral. For our service to be as easily accessible as possible we've tried to make the referral process simple, as much of the information will be gathered from the parents, child or young person themselves.

The Process

A parent, young person or any other statutory provider or agency can contact us the following ways:
Telephone: 0161 872 6879 (9am-4pm answerphone out of hours)
Write: Independent Support Service, Ground Floor – East, Oakland House, Talbot Road, Manchester, M16 0PQ
Social Media: @IS_trafford


-- Initially, we will require the following information ---
Name: Young person/child
Name: Parent(s)
Contact: Telephone/Address
DOB Age/ School Year
Consent: Approved by
Referral: Contact name and details


File DownloadDownload the Independent Support Referral Form

What you can expect

Once we have a referral, we will assign an Independent Supporter. The Independent Supporter will then contact the family and arrange an initial visit. We aim to contact families and/or young people by the end of the next working day of receiving the referral, if there is no contact made by the parents, or young person for 5 working days following our initial contact, we will assume that the service is not needed and will return the referral to the original agency.

File DownloadDownload a document describing what we can do

File DownloadDownload the information about the referral protocol

File DownloadDownload a blank template


Our Partners


Special Parents in Trafford

Forum for parents of children with special educational needs in Trafford




Trafford Parents & Young People's Partnership Service


What We Do


Support the parent or young person who is new to the EHC process.

Act as a named contact person for the parent or young person throughout the assessment and planning process.

Support the parent or young person to transfer from a Statement of SEN or LDA to an EHC Plan.

Support the parent or young person in contributing to the EHC Plan.

Liaise across a range of agencies to gather information for the EHC Plan.

Support the parent or young person to understand the local offer and personal budgets.

Signpost to other services if necessary.

Arrange meetings at a place that's convenient for parents / carers.



Meet the Team

Hello, I’m Elizabeth Stanley, the team’s Project Director. I’m mum of three gorgeous children, the eldest of whom has severe learning difficulties. Prior to working as an Independent Supporter I was a special needs coordinator for 18 years in a variety of different schools. I like to be busy and love learning new things, but at the weekends, I can often be found on my allotment or on the snow. I believe that every person is unique and as such services and support should be designed around them and their needs. Education, Health and Care plans are the start of a different way of thinking about supporting children and young people, with support based on outcomes and aspirations and delivered as a whole package. If you want to contact me, email
My name is Julie Blinston and I've worked in the field of special educational needs for fourteen years, first as a teaching assistant in both mainstream and special school and then within the administrative arena of this work. I have been with Independent Support Service Trafford since October 2014 and am thoroughly enjoying this new position working with children, young people and their families by supporting them in the development of their Education Health and Care Plans. My interests are creative crafts, reading and going to the theatre.
My name is Vicky Cusick and I work part-time as an Independent Supporter in Trafford. I’m a mother of twins so understand the joys and challenges parenting can bring. I enjoy working with children and families and have previously worked as a teaching assistant supporting children who have SEN. If you want to contact me, email me at
Working as an Independent Supporter is very rewarding and no day is ever the same. I enjoy working with families from different backgrounds and cultures and the alliance that is created through the EHC development stage. Before working at Independent Support I worked for Manchester Metropolitan University as an Outreach Ambassador, working with children and young people of all abilities to raise their career aspirations. In my spare time I enjoy Latin American and Ballroom dancing.

EHC Planning

An Education Health and Care (EHC) Plan is the document that replaces Statements of SEN and Learning Difficulties Assessments for children and young people with special educational needs.

Your Independent Supporter will support you through the process of transfer and to coordinate and liaise across agencies relevant to you to help you gather all the information required to complete the indvidualised EHC Plan.

For more information and a comprehensive guide to EHC plans, visit the Council for Disabled Children's website. You can also download the Trafford Education Health and Care Plan Guidance for Parents and Young People which sets out the structure for the EHC Plan, an outline of what sort of information will be in the plan and how the plan meets the standards outlined in the SEND Code of Practise.

There are also a number of online videos that help explain about EHC Plans, here are a couple of them:

What are Education, Health and Care Plans?

Charlie Minnion's EHC Animation


Personal Budgets

A personal budget is an amount of money that has been identified to meet some of the needs in an EHC plan. Young people and parents of children who have an EHC plan are entitled to request a personal budget if they want to be involved in choosing and arranging how their money is spent. Find out how personal budgets work in Trafford by visiting the Trafford Council website.


Email us at or use our contact form

T: 0161 872 6879                  Twitter: @IS_trafford            Facebook:  /independentsupporttrafford

Ground Floor East, Oakland House, Talbot Road, Old Trafford, Manchester, M16 0PQ

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A project managed by Voluntary Community Action Trafford