The pupils are firmly at the heart of Camberwell Park School and having established ways of including pupil voice in all aspects of our work is something already embedded into the school.
We already had a ‘pupil voice’ booklet as part of the statutory annual review process. This included sections about what the pupils like, dislike about school, their achievements, what helps them to learn and what they have to look forward to in the future. The booklets were completed in the classroom supported by a member of the pupils’ class team prior to the review using symbols and other total communication strategies to ensure meaningful access where necessary. Where ever we have felt it appropriate and possible the pupils have attended part of their annual review meeting to present their report and their report has always been included as part of the annual review minutes. Considering how we could build on and develop ensuring the voice of our pupils into the Education, Health, Care Plan (ECHP) process was therefore a natural progression for us.
Our starting point was to consider the information required by the Code of Practice and Local Authority including annual review paperwork linking in to all of the areas to be discussed as part of person centred planning reviews and other aspects about our children that we felt it is essential to include. This includes likes / dislikes, what is important to the child now and in the future, things they are good at / not good at and how best to support them, how they communicate and make decisions and how to keep them safe, healthy and learning as well as their hopes and dreams. We have also included in the booklet, entitled ‘A meeting all about me’, information presented in a child friendly form about who will be present at the meeting to support their understanding and preparation for attending. The booklet is on our school website: http://tinyurl.com/np5vjfw
The pupil voice booklet has been discussed and agreed with the School Council who have in turn discussed and agreed a slightly more simplified version for our youngest children in school.
The children continue to make us proud and amaze us with their ability to share their views on what on the surface may seem really difficult questions for them to consider. Examples of their views include:
“I talk alot and can sometimes make decisions on my own. I sometimes need to be told to do things a number of times’” Pupil quote, Autumn 14
They have also told us what they think about sharing their views at meetings, for example:
“I like joining in meetings. I feel happy because people say how well I am doing. They listen to me. My ‘all about me booklet’ helped me to say what I wanted to say” Pupil quote, Spring 2015
Whilst pupil voice is imperative and for us is a starting point, it is only a part of the holistic person centred planning process. It is about ensuring that throughout the process, everyone involved keeps the child and their needs central at all times in a very genuine way. We believe that as a school, through our policy and procedures, we set the tone for making sure this happens.
Information about our EHCP meetings and process is a part of our SEN Information Report on the school website http://tinyurl.com/kjp9p22 ensuring even before starting at the school expectations are clear. Our SEN Information report links in turn to the Local Offer for our Local Authority (Manchester) in order to place what we are providing in the wider context of other provision available. http://tinyurl.com/kl8mj5n We are working in close liaison with the Local Authority throughout this process of transition from statements to EHCPs making sure what we are doing meets statutory requirements but in a way that is constructive and helpful for the school and others involved.
Parents and carers, their views and involvement are a key part of the EHCP process and our SEN Information report outlines some of the ways we inform, listen to and involve parents / carers in the process. As with the pupils, we provide a parent / carer views booklet to enable them to prepare for the review meeting http://tinyurl.com/nnxtdxu . As with the pupil booklet, the family booklet is based around the information to be discussed and shared at the review and that is required by the Local Authority review paper work for the EHCP. We understand that not all parents /carers find it easy to articulate and represent their views so where needed the pupils’ key workers from their class teams support the parents /carers in completing their views booklet and in helping them prepare for the reviews generally. Parent / carer workshops and coffee mornings have also supported their understanding of the new process, how important their views are and how they can share their views.
Parents /carers have told us how much they like the new person centred planning approach to reviews, for example:
“The review meetings are very informative and helpful. I can ask or put forward any worries I have about my child’s education, health or wellbeing’ Parent quote, Autumn 14
As we are talking about and Education, Health and Care plan, in terms of a holistic understanding of our pupils others involved with the pupils including health staff such as physiotherapists, school nurse and social care staff including social workers, family support workers and short break providers should also be included. To ensure we do not miss anyone important involved in a child’s life from a family perspective, as part of the invitation process we ask parents /carers who they would like to be invited. The importance of co-ordinated multi-agency working to ensure outcomes identified are appropriate and met Members of the multi-agency team have also told us how much they have valued the new ways of working, for example:
“The EHCP meetings I have attended are informative and clarified the important issues for all present supporting the setting of appropriate short term and long term targets. The meetings also celebrated the successes, achievements and progress to date”. Quote, teacher for the deaf, Spring 15
The review meetings themselves are run as Person Centred Planning reviews as established by Helen Sanderson Associates http://tinyurl.com/qgrt5ot . We have found that this organisation, format and style of review has enabled all involved to share their views in an open and confident way which truly does ensure we keep the child and their needs as the central focus throughout.
Our current development in school is around how we ensure that actions relating to outcomes identified for the pupils are fully implemented and met. For this purpose, at Camberwell Park, ‘My learning targets’ (MLTs) have now replaced the previous Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and fully consist of the action plans from the review meeting. In order to ensure the children are fully involved, a child friendly version of MLTs are used in the classrooms and as well as copies being shared with parents / carers following the annual review, a parents’ evening for each of the subsequent two terms ensure families have a chance to discuss and contribute to monitoring of progress towards outcomes. As a school we liaise closely with members of the multi-agency team ensuring information relating to other aspects of a pupil’s holistic action plan are considered throughout the year.
At Camberwell Park we are Passionate about ensuring we fully embrace and respond to the opportunities the SEN Reforms have opened for our pupils. We Respect the individual needs of each and every one of our pupils. We are Organised in the systems we have put in place. We Understand that the pupils’ needs should be seen in the context of their families and we are Dedicated to ensuring our pupils receive and achieve the best outcomes possible. We are PROUD and privileged to be able to work with such amazing pupils and their families