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ANNUAL REVIEW - SEN Code of Practice 2001

All statements (other than for children under 2) must be reviewed at least once a year to ensure the parents, the pupil, the LEA, the school and any other professionals involved, consider the progress the pupil has made and whether any amendments need to be made to the description of the child's needs or to the Special educational provision in the statement.

When a Statement is amended after such a review, the date of the next review should follow on from the date when the statement was first issued not from the amendment. If the review results in a second assessment and new statement then the review should be 12 months from the date of the new statement.

Purpose of the Annual Review

The aims of an Annual review should be:

a. To assess the child's progress towards meeting the objectives specified and to collate and record information that the school and others can use in planning their support for the child.
b. If it's a first review, assess the child's progress towards meeting targets agreed and recorded in the IEP following the issue of the statement, and in the case of all other reviews to assess the progress of targets in the IEP set at the previous review.
c. Review the special provision made, including the appropriateness of any special equipment provided and assessment and reporting arrangements. The school should consider giving a profile of the Childs current levels of achievement in basic literacy, numeracy, life skills and a summary of progress achieved in other areas of the curriculum. Where a statement involves a modification of the National Curriculum, they should indicate what special arrangements have been made for the child.
d. To consider whether or not it is appropriate to continue the statement in view of the child's progress/performance during the year and if any additional needs have become apparent in that time, and
e. If the statement is to be maintained. To set new targets for the coming year.

The child's circumstances may have changed at one time or another over the year, for instance they may have received some education in a hospital school, a pupil referral unit or home tuition. Continuous assessment during the year may have identified or confirmed a medical or social problem or learning difficulty that will require different or continued support and intervention. These should be addressed and provision made in the annual review and reports obtained from the relevant people involved.

The annual review for children at school

This section applies to all reviews except for Year 9, which will be mentioned later.

The LEA must write to all head teachers no less than 2 weeks before the start of term with a list of pupils at their school who will require a review that term. The head teacher must provide the LEA with a report following the review meeting before the end of that term or 10 school days after the meeting takes place if that is earlier. The list must also be copied to Educational Psychologist, health authority, social services and any other agencies/specialists involved.

Once the head teacher has received the list, he can then initiate the process, he can also delegate these duties to a qualified teacher, ensuring the teacher knows of the Code and the Regulations, and also all of the relevant departments involved.

The head teacher must request written advice from: the child's parents, anyone specified by the authority and anyone else the head considers appropriate. All advice received must be copied and sent to all those invited to the review meeting at least 2 weeks before the date of the meeting, including comments from those who cannot attend the actual review meeting.

The written advice will be the basis for the meeting and should be sent with a report of the meeting to the LEA for their consideration. The advice should relate to:

a. The child's progress in meeting the objectives in the statement, any short-term targets established to help with this.
b. The application of the national curriculum
c. Any progress the child has made in their behaviour and attitude to learning
d. The continued appropriateness of the statement
e. Any transition plans
f. Any amendments to the statement, or whether the statement should cease to be maintained.

The Meeting

The Head Teacher, before producing the report must convene a meeting and must invite:

" The child's parents (or if the child is in care, the child's social worker and the residential care worker or foster parents as appropriate).
" A relevant teacher i.e.: child's class teacher or form/year tutor, the SENCO, or some other person responsible for the provision of education, the choice is the Head Teachers.
" A representative of the LEA
" Anyone else the LEA and Head Teacher considers appropriate.

Parents should be encouraged to share their views, attend the meeting, and contribute to discussions about any proposals for new targets for the child's progress. Parents can get help and support in attending reviews and help in writing advice from Parent Partnership Services. If a parent does not respond to invitations to contribute in writing to the review, or to attend the meeting, this should be recorded in the review report together with any reasons given.

Where possible, pupils should also be actively involved in the review process, and attend all or part of the meeting. They should be encouraged to give their views on their progress, discuss any difficulties they have and share their hopes and aspirations for the future.

If it's appropriate the LEA should tell the head teacher of any representatives of the health services, social services or any other professionals closely involved with the child must be invited to contribute to the review and the meeting. Likewise the head teacher can do the same. In some cases the professional's may themselves suggest that it could be appropriate for them to attend, or find it necessary to provide a report on their involvement with the child over the past year.

If for any reason a professional cannot attend the meeting and the parent would like to discuss further matters of concern with them, they should first approach the Named LEA Officer. This fact should be explained to the parents at the review meeting.

If the child or their family has English as an additional language, the timescale for planning the review, should take into account the need to:

a. Translate any relevant documentation
b. Ensure that interpreters are available to the child and family, both in the preparation stages and the meeting
c. Ensure that any professionals from the child's community have similar interpretation and translation facilities in order that they can contribute as fully as possible
d. Ensure that, if possible, a bilingual teacher or teacher of English as an additional language is available to the child and family.

If a child or their family have a communication difficulty due to a visual impairment, sensory or physical impairment, similar attention should be given to ensure that information is available to them and to representation at the review meeting through interpreters, Braille etc.

Children looked after by the local authority

If the child with the statement is subject to a care order, the local authority share parental responsibility with the child's birth parents, whether the child is in a residential or foster placement, or living at home. The extent of the contribution to be made by the child's parents, the residential care worker, foster parents and social worker. If both the parents and the care worker or foster parents and the social worker should be determined be the head teacher in consultation with the social services department. If both the parents and the residential care worker or foster parents are attending the review meeting, the head teacher should consider involving the social worker in preparing parents or carers for the review and provide support before and after the review itself. Where the local authority accommodates the child with a statement the parents retain parental responsibility.

When the child is subject to a care order, an education supervision order, or is accommodated by the local authority, the local authority social services department must include information on the arrangements for the education of the child within the Child Care Plan. Social services must review the Child Care Plan and involve the child in that process, and the plan should include a Personal Education Plan that sets out the arrangements for the child and should include information from the statement, the annual review and IEP's. Therefore Leas may wish to link the annual review of the statement with the review of the Child Care Plan.

Conduct of the review meeting

The review meeting will usually take place at the child's school and should be chaired by the head teacher or the teacher to whom responsibility has been delegated.

Those present at the meeting should consider:

a. Does the statement remain appropriate?
b. Are any amendments to the statement needed?
c. Should the LEA continue to maintain the statement, or recommend ceasing to maintain the statement, and the child's needs be met appropriately through school action plus?
d. Any new targets to be set to meet the objectives in the statement
e. Whether any additions or amendments should be made to an existing Transition Plan.

A meeting may make recommendations on any of the matters listed above and amendments to a statement are likely to be recommended if:

a. Significant new evidence has emerged which is not recorded on the statement
b. Significant needs recorded on the statement are no longer present
c. The provision should be amended to meet the child's changing needs and the targets specified at the review meeting, or
d. The child should change schools, either at the point of transfer between school phases, for example infant to junior or primary to secondary, or when a child's needs would be more appropriately met in a different school.

The review meeting and the report may also recommend that the LEA should cease to maintain the statement. If all those present cannot agree to the recommendations, the head teacher should ensure that this disagreement is recorded, together with the reasons for it.

Submitting the report

Following the meeting the head teacher must prepare a report, and submit it to the LEA no later than 10 school days after the meeting or the end of that school term, whichever is the earlier. The report should summarize the outcome of the meeting, setting out the head teachers assessment of the main issues discussed: and his/her recommendations of any educational targets for the coming year: and any other steps that ought to be taken including whether or not the statement should be amended or maintained and the reasons for these recommendations. A copy of this report must be sent to all those concerned in the review, including the parents and any relevant professionals.

The report should be written as quickly as possible, and the head teacher should make sure that the recommendations are clear and that any relevant professional reports are appended so that the LEA is able to review the statement and make any decisions without any unnecessary delay.

The role of the LEA after receiving the review report

The LEA concludes the review process by considering the report and the recommendations made by the head teacher. They must then review the statement, in light of the report and recommendations and any other information they consider relevant. The LEA must decide whether to accept the head teacher's recommendations, and whether to amend or cease to maintain the statement. Within one week of making a decision, the LEA must send a copy of its decision to the head teacher, the parents and anyone else that's appropriate.

Where the decision is to amend the statement, the LEA should start the process of amendment without delay.

The annual review for children with statements whose education is otherwise than at school

If a child is not educated at school but elsewhere, the general timetable and arrangements for the review are the same as above. However, in these circumstances the LEA will arrange the meeting, and the amount of professionals may be different. The child's parents must always be invited to the meeting, and it should take place in the most appropriate location, such as the LEA offices, a hospital or the parent's home, and should normally be chaired by the LEA.

The views of the designated medical officer for SEN should be sought if the child is educated outside of school because of major health difficulties or a disability. In these circumstances the attendance of professionals from relevant child health services will be particularly important, and the LEA should arrange the meeting to ensure they can as far as possible participate.

When a child has been excluded from school, the views of the child's former teacher and any professionals who know the child should be sought. Parents of children who have been excluded may need sensitive and positive encouragement to contribute to all stages of the review.

A change of school

All concerned, should give careful thought to transfer between schools, particularly phase transfers, advance planning is essential. Under paragraph 8 of schedule 27 of the education act 1996, parents have the right to request the LEA to substitute the name of a maintained school for the name of the school in Part 4 of the statement. The LEA must comply with the request so long as it is made more than 12 months after:

1. A similar request

a. The issue of a final copy of the statement
b. The issue of an amendment to the statement
c. The conclusion of an appeal to the SEN Tribunal over the provision specified in the statement

(Schedule 27, Education Act 1996)

2. Whichever is the latest, and unless:

a. The school is unsuitable to the child's age, ability or aptitude or to his/her special educational needs, or
b. The attendance of the child at the school would be incompatible with the provision of efficient education for the children with whom he/she would be educated or the efficient use of resources.

If the LEA conclude that they can name the school proposed by the parents they must amend the statement and inform the parents within 8 weeks of receiving the request. Before naming the school, the LEA must first consult the governing body, and if it is in a different authority that LEA as well, in either case the school in question must be given a copy of the existing statement. The 8 week time limit allows for this consultation, although the school or LEA consulted should respond within 3 weeks unless the consultation occurs during a school holiday period that is longer than 2 weeks. The LEA may specify in the statement the date on which the child is to start at the new school. That date may coincide with the start of a new term, or give sufficient time to the school to make necessary preparations for the child's arrival.

If the LEA decide they cannot name the school, they must tell the parents of their decision and the reasons for it, in writing, they must also tell them of their right to appeal to the SEN Tribunal against this decision and the time limits that apply, the availability of Parent Partnership Services and the Disagreement Resolution Service, and the fact that the parent's right of appeal is not affected by any disagreement resolution procedure.

This letter must be sent out to parents within 8 weeks of their initial request. If the child is due to transfer from infant to primary or primary to secondary, the LEA must send an amendment notice as set out in the regulations. They must explain that the parents may express a preference for a maintained school and make representations for an independent or non-maintained special school. The LEA must allow for a new school to be named by 15th February in the year of the transfer. The amended statement should name the current provision in Part 4 of the amended final statement and the new school with the date from which the new placement becomes operative.

Interim Reviews

Where a school identifies a child with a statement is at serious risk of disaffection or exclusion, an interim or early review should be called. It will then be possible to consider the pupil's changing needs and recommend amendments to the statement, as an alternative to the pupil being excluded.* (* DfEE Circular 10/99 'School Inclusion: Pupil Support)

The Annual review in Year 9

The aim of the annual review in year 9 and subsequent years is to:

a. Review the young persons statement
b. Draw up and subsequently review the transition plan

The review in year 9 should involve the agencies that may play a major role in the young persons life during the post-school years and must involve the Connexions Service. It must consider all the same issues as other reviews, and the report to the LEA should be in the same format. Leas must also complete the review process in the same way and within the same timescale.

The LEA must send the connexions service a list of all pupils in their area who will require a year 9 reviews no later than 2 weeks before the start of the school year. The list must include all pupils whether or not they are educated in a school and indicate any schools that the children specified attend.

The Head Teacher together with Connexions should facilitate the transfer of relevant information to ensure the young people receive any necessary help or support during their continuing education, or training after leaving school.

The annual review procedure described above applies with year 9 with the following additions:

a. The head teacher must invite connexions service to provide written advice and invite them to the review meeting, to enable all options for continuing education, careers and occupational training to be given serious consideration
b. A representative of the connexions service is obliged, by the conditions of grant, to attend the review
c. The head teacher should ensure that the other providers, such as health authorities and trusts, are aware of the particular procedures to be followed in year 9
d. The head teacher must invite the social services department to attend the review, so that any parallel assessments under the Disabled Persons (Services, Consultation and Representations) Act 1986; the NHS and Community Care Act 1990; and the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 can contribute to and draw information from the review process
e. The head teacher must ensure that a Transition Plan is drawn up. This should be done in consultation with the connexions service.

The Transition Plan

The review in yr 9 and subsequent ones until the young person leaves school must include the drawing up and review of a Transition Plan. This plan should draw together information from a range of individuals in and out of school in order to plan for the transition to adult life. When first drawn up in year 9 they are not simply about post-school arrangements, they should also plan for on-going school provision, under the statement of SEN as overseen by the LEA.

Transition planning should be:

a. Participative
b. Holistic
c. Supportive
d. Evolving
e. Inclusive
f. Collaborative.

The Connexions service is responsible for overseeing the delivery of the plan and the connexions personal adviser (PA) should co-ordinate its delivery.

In order to ensure coherence for the young person, there should not be a separate Transition Plan and Connexions action plan. If a young person has been involved with a PA previously and already has an action plan, the Transition Plan should build onto it, update and expand on it. The action plan could if the young person agrees, be circulated with the reports prior to the annual review meeting in year 9.

The views of the young person themselves should be sought and recorded wherever possible in any assessment, reassessment or review from yr 9 onwards.

The role of the connexions service

These have a particular role in ensuring the participation and progression of young people with SEN aged 13-19. PA's should ensure that they are aware of all young people with SEN in year 8. A representative, usually a PA must be invited to the year 9 annual review meeting and, as a condition of grant, must attend, whether or not the young person is in school. They should be invited and expected to attend all subsequent reviews.

Year 9 meetings are the start of a process for longer-term decision-making. Vocational guidance provided by the school or the PA should include information on key stage 4 and post-16 options and take fully into account the wishes and feelings of the young person concerned. The service should assist the young person and their parents to identify the most appropriate post-16 provision, provide counselling and support, and have continuing oversight of, and information on, the young person's choice of provision. These processes will need to be carried out in partnership with the LEA's SEN officers and those professionals who know the young person well.

Involvement of Health and Social Services

LEA's must seek information from social service departments under section 5 of the disabled persons act 1986, as to whether a young person with a statement under part IV of the education act 1996 is disabled (and so may require services from the local authority when leaving school). Multi agency input at year 9 is important for all young people with SEN. Under the Children's Act 1989 social services may arrange multi-disciplinary assessments and must establish Children's service Plans which may include provision of further education for children in need (likely to include those with significant special needs). Social services should unsure that a social worker attends the yr 9 review meeting and contributes to the formation of the Transition Plan where the young person is subject to a care order, accommodated by the local authority or is a 'child in need'.

Health professionals involved in the management and care of the young person should provide advice towards transition pans in writing and, wherever possible, should attend the meeting in yr 9. They should advise on the services that are likely to be required and discuss arrangements for transfer to adult health care services with the young person, their parents and their GP. They should arrange the transfer of any referrals and records necessary, with the consent of the young person and parents, and should liase with the connexions service.

Annual Reviews from Year 10

The school remains responsible for arranging the review meeting until the pupil leaves school. Some pupils with statements will remain in school after the age of 16. LEA's remain responsible for such pupils until they are 19, however sometimes the course they are on will take them past their 19th birthday. In this case the Learning and Skills Council will require the LEA to maintain the statement until the end of the academic year in which they turned 19.

Whatever the future destination of the young person, the annual review has an additional significance as he/she approaches 16. The connexions service should be invited to and should attend the review meeting in yr 11 in order to ensure the Transition Plan is updated appropriately. In the pupil's final year, the connexions service has a separate responsibility to ensure that an assessment of their needs is made on leaving school and provision identified. Every effort should be made to link this final review of the statement and to consider the Transition Plan together with this assessment. Where post 16 provision has been identified it is good practice for the head teacher to invite a representative from the provision to the review meeting.

The connexions service should seek agreement of student and parents to transfer information including statements from the school to the continuing education sector, and explain the importance of such information and the desirability of the transfer. They should also ensure that where a student has a statement, a copy of it, a copy of the most recent review and the Transition Plan, is passed to the social service department and any post 16 provision that the student will be attending. If a decision is made to place the student in a specialist college, a copy of the Transition Plan should be sent to the local Learning and Skills Council.

Students without statements but with special educational needs

In some cases, a student approaching 16 may have special needs, which do not call for a statement, but they are likely to require some support if they go onto further education or training. To ensure that these students are able to make decisions, and to facilitate their successful transition, it is important that they have the appropriate help and guidance. This might include the provision of school/college link courses or work placements and should involve the different local agencies concerned.

The connexions service provides support for all young people aged 13-19. It has a particular focus on supporting disadvantaged young people or those likely to underachieve, including those with SEN but without statements. They should provide schools with information which will help these students make successful transitions to post-school education, training or work, including details of local and national voluntary organisations. Schools should consult the services to ensure that detailed information is transferred to further education providers with the young persons consent.

As a condition of grant the connexions service has a responsibility to ensure all young people who may have a difficulty in transferring to further education or training have a needs and provision assessment. When undertaken for young people with SEN but without statements these assessments may be recorded as having been carried out under section 140 of the learning and skills act.

Children subject to a care order or accommodated by a local authority

Under the provision of the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2001 every eligible young person looked after by a local authority on their 16th birthday, including those with SEN, will have a pathway plan. This plan will build on the Care and Personal Education Plans, mapping out a pathway to independence, including education, training and employment. The local authority will also be required to appoint a personal advisor who will normally act as the connexions PA for each of these young people. The advisor must work with the young person and others to devise the pathway plan and ensure its implementation. The plan should cover all the areas that are relevant to enabling a care leaver to make a successful transition to adulthood. As such, the plan fulfils the same function as the Transition Plan and connexions personal action plan. It is important that the PA ensures the young person is fully aware of the local authorities responsibilities towards them and to agree with the social services department, other agencies and the young person who the services are to be delivered to. Where a young person has been looked after in foster care or residential placement or attended a residential school outside their own local authority area, the PA for the responsible authority together with the LEA should seek to ensure liaison between all relevant LEA's and social service departments. The responsible authority is the local authority that is looking after the young person or, in the case of a young person who has left care, the authority that last looked after them.

by Trace from adders.org

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