One of the biggest challenges that SENCos face is ensuring the facilitation of multi-agency involvement. Although there clearly isn’t any ‘magic bullet’ here, and local issues are most definitely a significant factor, the following action plan ensured the best outcomes for our reviews.
- Ensure early initial engagement.
- Provide timely reminders.
- Be as positive as possible.
- Consider engaging parents/carers in ‘chasing’ too.
- Provide clear time frames and early dates – leave plenty of notice.
- For essential professionals: arrange around them.
Whilst our reviews were very successful, I am always thinking of how to improve things and make them more efficient. Some suggestions by staff involved are as follows:
- Check through documents beforehand, and number them too (I got in a bit of a mess with my first couple as the report format looked similar to SALT/EP etc.)!
- Make sure the kettle is boiled ready (nothing worse than waiting for 10 mins to brew up – a prompt start is useful)!
- Always start with the child/young person and keep them central – good reviews have always done this!
- Give parents/carers time to speak and engage in a discussion. This is very important – poor exchanges don’t give parents/carers time to respond.
- Management of the meeting is key – maintaining a positive, solution-focused approach is important.
So what went well?
- Excellent reports – thorough, really impressive and very much in line with the desired ‘outcomes’ for the new Plans. I’ve been really impressed by how these were presented.
- All students and parents/carers attended the reviews. They were very polite and engaged – a thoroughly positive engagement. We celebrated the Year 11’s and their five years of hard work.
- Refreshments were available and promptly served!
- Everyone worked really hard to pull it all together – a great team effort with everyone supporting each other.
- Good time management – no rushing! We allocated 2 hours for each review meeting.
How could the process be improved?
- Possibly develop a pro forma so we know what documentation is required for each meeting – not all meetings are the same.
- To have spare copies of referral forms (just in case need to commission additional assessment as part of the process) – some referrals were commissioned as part of the review meeting.
- To have packs ready for Travel Training (a very popular provision for our Year 11 students) in supporting independence.
- To agree on a set order for the packs of documentation to be put together – although sometimes a different approach is required. Be flexible and consider each individual.
- To identify who needs to receive emails with reports/documentation to ensure nothing is overlooked or misplaced – confirming ‘mailing lists’ and the preferred method of communication is always important.
Ideas and strategies for getting students and parents/carers fully involved in the process
- Early discussions – be open and honest about legal requirements, providing information/handouts if necessary.
- Allow time for consideration and thinking – plan well in advance.
- Don’t rush discussions – allowing enough time is important.
- Ensure positive, open communication at all times.
- Stress that the process is looking for outcomes – what do they want for their child?
- How can these outcomes be achieved? Be solution focused.
- Remember the law trumps all…
- Ensure you know ‘absolute’ information:
- Always be absolutely open and transparent – engage parents/carers positively and pro-actively.
- Keep the young person central to everything.
- Remain resolute and solution focused.
- Read SENCology for an ongoing account!
- Webinar: Putting together an Education, Health and Care plan – the practical aspects from a school perspective (Optimus Education)
- Making the transition from statements to EHC plans (Optimus Education)