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The annual review

All children and young people who have SEND, should have their progress towards their agreed outcomes reviewed at least once every year - an annual review. Sometimes it might be necessary to hold a review more frequently. For example, if there is an unexpected change in your young person’s life. An early review may help if your young person is going to move to a new setting. This will ensure there is time to plan the support they need.

If your young person receives SEN Support, there should always be a clear support plan that is reviewed regularly. The plan should be agreed between you, your young person and teaching staff. If your young person has an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan, it must be reviewed yearly.

Why is there an annual review?

The annual review gives you and your young person the chance to talk about:

  • Their hopes and dreams, goals and aspirations. These are written as outcomes
  • Expected progress and achievements towards their outcomes
  • Support that is needed to help them achieve their outcomes
  • Provision. This is the support that is being given

Your young person’s hopes and dreams often change over time and with new life experiences. Therefore, it’s important that your young person has regular chances to give their views about their hopes and dreams for adult life.

All annual reviews are important. However, they are particularly important when your young person: 

  • Is moving to a new phase of education and/or 
  • Is starting to prepare for adult life

From Year 9 onwards, annual reviews must have a focus on preparing for adult life. There should be outcomes to help your young person:

  • Enter the world of work or higher education (university)
  • Be a part of their community, and have positive friendships and relationships
  • Be independent at home 
  • Look after their health and wellbeing

Our preparing for adult life (PfAL) service, is available to support young people who need extra help to achieve their aspirations and outcomes. Ask about this at your young person’s Year 9 annual review.

What happens at the annual review?

The annual review should be held at a time and place that works for you and your young person. You should both be given the chance to give your views ahead of the meeting if preferred. This could be in writing, pictures or film. Some of you may prefer to use the advocacy service or Norfolk SEND information, advice and support service (SENDIASS)  who can support young people with giving their views, wishes and feelings.

Your young person and everyone who is involved in supporting them should be invited to the meeting. This will usually include:

  • You - their parent carer
  • Their current education provider(s)
  • People from education, health and social care who are closely involved in their support or provision, or will be in the future 

Social care might include someone from the preparing for adult life (PfAL) service. They can support you as your young person nears age 18, and possibly moves to adult services. 

The annual review is a chance to look back and look forwards. Everyone should have the chance to: 

  • Give their views on the progress your young person is making towards their agreed outcomes 
  • Ask about how well the provision and support are meeting your young person’s needs

It is very important that you and your young person feel comfortable and are confident about giving your views at the meeting. Your views should be listened to and respected. Remember to ask questions about anything that you don’t understand.

The review meeting should focus on planning long-term, medium-term and short-term outcomes. Once outcomes are finalised, the provision and support that will help your young person achieve them should be discussed, planned and agreed.

At the end of the meeting:

  • Everything that has been discussed and agreed should be written down
  • If your young person has an EHC plan, everything will be written on an official Norfolk County Council annual review form
  • Everyone should be clear about the action they will take, to help your young person achieve their expected outcomes
  • A date should be agreed when progress will be reviewed again. This should be at least yearly

If your young person is working with the preparing for adult life (PfAL) service, they will also draw up a PfAL plan with you all. This will document what needs to happen to progress towards your young person’s outcomes, and who will do this. The PfAL team will keep in touch with you at least three times a year, to review progress and the plan, adding new outcomes as necessary.

How you can help your young person prepare for an annual review

It is important to explain the purpose of the annual review to your young person. You and your young person should be given time and help to understand what will happen at the meeting. You should be told what will be talked about, and that you will be asked to give your views. It is good practice is to give your young person the chance to help plan and organise the meeting. This could include giving them a say about:

  • What their role will be - co-chair or host
  • Where the meeting will take place
  • What time the meeting will start
  • How the room is laid out
  • What refreshments and breaks will be needed
  • The form of communication to be used in the meeting
  • How information will be shared. For example, easy read document, British Sign Language, video, audio, Picture Exchange Communication System
  • How information will be recorded. For example, flipchart, camera, camcorder

Enough time should be allowed during the meeting, so that the conversation is not rushed. There should be breaks for anyone who needs one.

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