Who we are

Nicola McGuinness

Head of Service 


Nicola has overseen the service since it’s inception when we were previously called ‘Parent Partnership’. She is the longest serving member of staff and has years of experience with supporting children and families with SEND. Nicola is a mother to a daughter with a disability and has extensive knowledge in specific conditions affecting children and young people. 

Cheryl Wyatt

IAS Officer and Independent Support Lead


Cheryl has been with the service for several years and is the main contact for Dispute Resolution and for statutory assessment (EHC) support.  She has a degree in social science but has a specific interest in special educational law, with legal training to bar accredited level. In addition, she is qualified to teach adult learners and hosts our parent/ professionals training. Cheryl is mother to a teenage son who has an EHC plan. 

Mike Hirst

IAS Officer and AMITY mentor for young people


Mike has been with the service for many years and has a great deal of expertise in working with families and young people with both SEND and emotional health needs. He is a qualified counsellor and works in schools around Bolton offering 1:1 support to young people. Mike is also an IAS Officer with an interest in mentoring young people. He is also a father to an adult son with a disability.  

Lindsey Allardice

New to the service this year, Lindsey  is supporting with the ISAP children and young persons consultation activities. She also works with young children with SEND and is studying Childcare. Lindsey has personal experience of SEND and previously worked supporting adults with autism.

For more information on the work Lindsey is supporting, please see IAS programme information . 

Karen Partridge

Karen is legally trained at IPSEA level 1, and is working toward full bar accreditation. A qualified teacher,  Karen has a wealth of experience in Education, having worked in the sector for 38 years. This included schools for pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs, and SEN provision for children with moderate learning difficulties and complex needs. Karen currently works Wednesdays and Fridays in IAS.

Karen is also a Trustee at COG. 

Supporting the work of IAS

IAS is based in COG nursery. 


The staff at IAS are supported by the business manager, Annette Dodd. We also have two volunteer receptionists, Ailsa Pearcey and Emma Wright.


We have a very good working relationship with Bolton Parent Carer Consortium, and Kidz2gether charity, who support us with some of the work that we do.