Should the LA come to our Annual Review?
My son is 15 and has an EHCP which is due for review. I have just received an email from the school's SENDCo to say that no one from the LA will be attending the review and it's unlikely that the Young Persons Advisor will attend either.
We have some concerns we wish to raise at the review but if no one is attending how can we do that? The SENDco says that the LA now never send anyone to review meetings. Are they legally obliged to attend and what is the point of the review if they don't attend?
Thanks for any advice or guidance on this.
Unfortunately, whilst an LA officer must be invited to attend an annual review meeting, there is no obligation on them to attend (although IPSEA would be interested in seeing any documents about an LA policy not to attend such meetings). That doesn’t mean you can’t ask again for them to attend and explain why you feel their attendance is important. However, there are duties on the school and the LA which have to be carried out as part of the annual review process and the meeting is just one part of that process.
You’ve said that the Young Persons Adviser may not attend the meeting. However, advice and information about your son must be obtained from the LA and sent to you at least two weeks prior to the meeting. From Year 9 onwards, one of the specific purposes of an annual review is to consider what provision is necessary to assist your son in preparation for adulthood and independent living (Regulation 20(6) SEN and Disability Regulations 2014). So, it’s reasonable to expect that, at the least, information and advice from the LA and the Young Persons Adviser will be obtained, circulated and then discussed at the annual review meeting. You can ask school and the LA to make sure this happens.
Within two weeks of the annual review meeting, your son’s school must prepare and send a written report, including the information and advice obtained from the LA, setting out recommendations on any amendments to be made and the difference between the school’s recommendations and those of anyone else at the meeting. This report is sent to you and the LA and forms the basis for the LA’s considerations about whether and what amendments to make to your son’s EHC Plan.
Therefore, you’ll see that, even if the LA/Young Persons Adviser choose not to attend the meeting, there’s plenty of scope for you and the school to have a thorough discussion of your concerns and make recommendations for what provision will best meet your son’s needs now and as he moves towards adulthood.