What to Expect from PIAS

What is PIAS?

PIAS is the SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Advice and Support Service) for Plymouth. Our purpose is to empower parents/carers, children and young people to play an active and informed role in making decisions about your education, health and social care.

Our role is to help parents/carers, children and young people build their knowledge, understanding and confidence in SEND procedures, polices, practice and law and enable them to communicate their own needs wishes, needs and rights.

We are…

Free – There is no charge to use our service.

Impartial – We aim to give parents/carers and young people information about the options available to them. We won’t recommend or promote one option over another. We will treat all people we work with respect.

Confidential – We keep your details safe and will not share or discuss your case with anyone else without your permission unless we have a safeguarding concern.

Arm’s length – PIAS is part of Plymouth City Council but we operate as a separate and distinct service from other SEND services and teams.

Fully Trained – Our team have extensive training in SEND law, safeguarding and data protection. We are all DBS checked.

For more information, see our Confidentiality Policy and Impartiality Policy.

Is PIAS for You?

Are you a parent/carer of a child or young person who has special educational needs?
(A diagnosis is not needed to receive support.)

OR a child or young person who has special educational needs?
(A diagnosis is not needed to receive support.)

Have a query or issue relating to SEND?
Live within the Plymouth Local Authority area.

Check your postcode to see if you live within the Plymouth Local Authority.

See our neighbouring Information, Advice and Support Services if you live outside Plymouth.

How can PIAS support you?

We can offer information, advice and support in the following areas:

  • SEN (Special Educational Needs) Support in early years, school or college.
  • Improving communication with educational settings, Local Authority, health and social care. 
  • Choosing a nursery, school, college or alternative provision.
  • Transitions between educational settings or between Children’s & Adult services.
  • Transport to educational placement.
  • Annual reviews of Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP). 
  • EHCP Requests and Needs Assessment.
  • Appeals for Tribunal for refusal to assess for EHCP, ceasing to maintain an EHCP and placement.
  • Exclusions and part time timetables.
  • Emotionally based school avoidance.
  • Disability discrimination.
  • Making a complaint.
  • Health & Social Care queries related to the child or young person’s disability.
  • Please contact us if you have a question on an area not listed.

What we can and cannot do:


  • Empower you to feel confident to express your views.
  • Explain jargon.
  • Help you understand policies, procedures and law.
  • Help you to understand and exercise your rights.
  • Advise you of your options so you can make an informed decision.
  • Provide template and examples for letters, emails and paperwork.
  • Provide resources for example fact sheets, webinars, and details of workshops to support your query.
  • Help you to prepare for meetings and tribunals.
  • Review documents and forms for example draft and final EHCP’s and appeal forms.

PIAS Can’t

  • Make decisions for you.
  • Arrange or chair meetings or take minutes.
  • Review benefit forms e.g. DLA or PIP.
  • Hold power over the Local Authority or school policies or procedures and practices.
  • Attend all meetings.*
  • Write letters or emails for you.*
  • Complete paperwork on your behalf.*
  • Print or photocopy documents for you. *

*If you have additional support needs that mean you need support with these, then please discuss with the team.


The PIAS website has a range of information , factsheets and links to other organsiations . You may find the information you need here without having to contact the team at: Plymouth Information, Advice and Support for SEND.

We also have a Facebook page which post regular updates and information: Facebook.

You can also sign up for our regular Newsletters.

Information and Tailored Advice

The PIAS case officers are able to provide more detailed information and advice specific to your enquiry.

You can contact the team via an online enquiry form or call us on 01752 258933 then select option 1.

The team will respond within 48 hours. This may be by email, telephone call or text message.

  • The case officers will listen to you to gather information to understand your enquiry.
  • They will provide more in–depth information and resources to navigate processes and complete documents, understand local policy and practices and understand your options and legal rights.
  • They will signpost you to relevant support from other agencies, organisations and other Local Authority teams.
  • If the team have been able to answer your enquiry they will send a link to a satisfaction survey.
  • If it is felt you need further ongoing support, we will allocate you a named PIAS case officer.

Remember PIAS is a free service and you are able to come back to us at any time for further information, advice and support.


The PIAS case officers also provide 1:1 support around SEND for:

  • Young people (0-25) accessing our services independently.
  • Complex situations that require more in-depth support.
  • Anyone who has their own additonal support needs which mean they need support to advocate for their child.

Contact the team via an online enquiry form or call us on 01752 258933 then select option 1.

Please give as much detail as possible including your own support needs. We will then allocate a named PIAS case officer who will work with you to understand the current situation and identify what outcomes you would like to achieve.

Meeting Support

PIAS often get requests to attend meetings. Due to the number of parents/carers, children and young people we support, we are not able to accept all the meeting requests we receive.

Meeting requests will always be looked into and a decision will be made based on the guidelines below:

  • Requests for meeting attendance must be received at least two weeks prior to the meeting date.
  • Meeting attendance from PIAS is subject to our availability and may be reduced in busy periods.
  • Meetings in person (sometimes called face-to-face meetings) are subject to availability, necessity* and location.
  • PIAS will offer to attend a meeting virtually, using Microsoft Teams.
  • PIAS will only attend meetings if they have a valuable contribution to make or if you are unable to advocate for your child or yourself.*
  • If we are not able to attend a meeting, we can provide support before the meeting or signpost you to relevant resources, if given enough time before the meeting date and offer support after the meeting.

Support from PIAS will End When…

  • The outcomes of your enquiry have been achieved.
  • You have reached the stage where you feel you can proceed without support.
  • The support you need to achieve further outcomes is outside the role of PIAS or your issue has been progressed as far as PIAS is able. We work with you to identify who would be the appropriate service/organisation to help.
  • If we do not hear from you in eight weeks.

We hope that the support you receive from PIAS will give you the skills and resources to use if further issues arise. However, we are always here to offer further information, advice and support and you can come back to us again at any time.

At the end of the piece of work we will ask for feedback on the service you have received.

If at any time you are not happy with the service you are receiving from the team then please contact Helen Huntley on 01752 305189 or email: helen.huntley@plymouth.gov.uk


Download this page as a factsheet:

Review date: October 2024