How can I improve the annual reviews?

The best way to improve an annual review is, without doubt, to ensure it is person-centred.

Person-centred reviews were initially developed in education to transform Year 9 transition reviews, by ensuring that the young person was at the centre of the process and any decisions that arose from it.

The annual review process is, in some schools, restricted in purpose to being the time when the Education, Health and Care plan is reviewed. While this should form part of an annual review, it should be about so much more than this. The annual review process is a way of learning what is important to and for the pupil, and drawing upon the knowledge and experience of those who are important in the pupil’s life (including the family), with a focus on creating action plans.

A person-centred review looks at:

  • What we appreciate, like and admire about the pupil
  • What are their aspirations for the future?
  • What is important to them now
  • What is important to them (and their assessed needs)
  • What does good support look like?
  • Questions to answer/issues we are struggling with
  • What is working and not working from different perspectives
  • Creating an action plan

A person-centred review offers the pupil a chance to attend an annual review meeting in a format that really is pupil-friendly, where they can be effectively included in the meeting and be listened to about what is working and not working for them in relation to school. The opportunity to think about their future, and to influence the action plan so that it addresses issues that are important to them rather than others, is really important.

This format also creates opportunity for parents to contribute to the annual review on equal terms with professionals, and to share their views of what is and isn’t working from their perspective, what is important to their child and how best to support them.

Person-centred reviews also offer the school an opportunity to learn from the information shared across a number of reviews to inform the School Development Plan (SDP), giving parents and pupils a direct contribution to the school’s future plans. Working Together For Change is a simple eight-stage process that uses person-centred information arising from the reviews to inform strategic change. It is a great way to demonstrate that strategic change is pupil-focused rather than organisationally driven.

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