What is happening regarding Annual Reviews if your son or daughter has an EHCP ?
Back in the summer the participation team of South Glos Parents and Carers fed back to the 0-25 Education Team that we were hearing lots of families stating that they had not heard back from the LA regarding Annual reviews. We spent many days working in a small group to try and write guidance , design checklists to help schools which could also help families , we wanted to review how the plan looked at Annual reviews especially around Preparing For Adulthood reviews however due to IT this was not an option. A new Annual Review Team has been in place since January 2019 however they are still recruiting to this team. Our understanding is this Team will focus on the phased transefers ie when a child moves between a particular stage of education ie early years to primary school /Year 6 to Year 7 etc.
We asked the LA for a written response to explain the current situation regarding Annual Reviews and how families have stated they are very unhappy that plans haven’t been updated when expected which we are now noticing when the Annual reviews have now started again this year.
Please read below the response
Repsonse from 0-25 Education re Annual Reviews
Due to unforeseen circumstances, there have been significant delays to South Gloucestershire’s 0 – 25 SEN team processing annual reviews from the 2017 – 2018 academic year. South Gloucestershire would like to extend our sincere apologies for this delay in processing your paperwork, and realise this is a source of great frustration for both schools and parents.
Since January 2019, a dedicated Annual Review team has been in place, which has taken the following actions:
Contacted parents and schools of children which had overdue annual review paperwork, to apologise for the delay and outlining the next steps in processing annual reviews. The aim shared in this letter was to have processed outstanding annual reviews by the end of March 2019.
Processed outstanding review paperwork for children whose annual reviews were not emergency reviews, requests for changes in provision or transition reviews.
Implemented new systems with the aim that reviews are processed more efficiently in the future, and that parents and schools are kept better informed.
Due to the high number of overdue reviews, and in order to process outstanding reviews effectively, the following system was implemented, with exceptions made where considered necessary:
If a review was held between January and May 2018
A letter informing parents and school of a decision not to amend on this occasion was sent. This was because the next review was due within a relatively short time scale. The paperwork for previous reviews will be considered alongside the 2018 – 2019 paperwork when deciding what amendments to make to the plan. The Annual Review team still checked paperwork for these reviews to make sure any urgent cases were not missed.
If a review was held between June 2018 and December 2018
Paperwork was carefully reviewed and a decision was made about whether to amend the plan or not. The parent and school was then informed of this decision and given 15 days in which to respond before the plan was finalised.
If a child was due a transition, or a request for a change in provision or setting was requested at a review
These cases were processed by the usual case co-ordinator for the child. This is because these cases are more complex and require a more in-depth understanding of the child and their family.
Since implementing this system, the Annual Review team has processed in excess of 300 annual reviews. The team have been able to meet the deadline of processing outstanding reviews (that are not transitions or changes of placement or provision) by the end of March, and has now moved on to processing the reviews which took place in November.
A new system for triaging incoming annual review paperwork has also been implemented, that means that parents and schools will hear from the Local Authority more promptly as to whether amendments will be made to the plan or not. The annual review team will continue to work on processing overdue reviews, alongside a focus on improving the quality of plans.
If a parent or school has an upcoming review and feel it would be beneficial for a member of the SEND team to attend, you can contact Senior Case Co-ordinator Claire Heron by email – Claire.Heron@southglos.gov.uk
Next Steps by the Parent Forum
South Glos Parents and Carers will be doing the following:
1) We will be carrying out a more in depth survey regarding Annual reviews to ensure we are collecting actual data to take back to meetings, we need data to back up what we are saying so we will be needing your help again by asking you to complete another survey.
2) We have some families who have given us permission to see if we can do some spot checks to find if the system has worked and if not to determine what has happened as rather than just saying it is not working we are keen to dig deeper and find out exactly why.
3) Making sure all the guidance and checklists and information about Annual Reviews are clearly available on the SEND Local Offer when the new website is launched in Sept 2019
We will report back on our findings when we have finished our survey and spot checks . Our aim will be to complete this peoce of work before school break up for the Summer. We will then repeat the same Annual Review survey again next Year to see if we can measure any progress.