Way forward meeting - guidance for parents

What is a way forward meeting?

The purpose of a way forward meeting (WFM) is to work with you to look at current and future support for your child. You will be invited to attend one when Brent’s SEND Advisory Panel has decided not to carry out an education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment or issue an EHC plan for your child.

How will I be told about the meeting?

A member of our SEND team will call you once a decision has been made. They will explain why we won’t be doing an EHC assessment or issuing a plan. They will invite you to attend a WFM and you will have the opportunity to ask them questions or have anything you don’t understand explained. They will also tell you that you will receive a letter from us within the next week. The letter will:

  • Invite you to a WFM and outline in more detail what this will involve
  • Explain that the professional in charge of the meeting will contact you to discuss attending

This letter will also be followed up by a further telephone call from the SEND team. If you agree to a WFM, it will then be arranged within six weeks.

A WFM is part of informal mediation we offer for families of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and is the first stage in helping you to understand why your child has not been offered an EHC assessment or EHC plan. It will give you an opportunity to ask questions, obtain further clarity about the decisions that have been made and get reassurance about the support that your child will receive.

Attending a WFM does not affect your right to appeal any decision you do not agree with in the future, in relation to your child’s SEND. 

Where is the meeting held?

The WFM will normally be held at your child’s school. The professional leading it will liaise with you to arrange a suitable time and date. In some cases, this may be done by the special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) at your child’s school.

The meeting should cover the following key points: 

  • Why Brent has decided not to carry out an EHC needs assessment or issue an EHC plan for your child
  • What arrangements will be put in place to support your child, following the meeting
  • How your child will be monitored and reviewed to ensure the support they are receiving remains appropriate
  • How Brent supports special educational needs in its schools

Who will attend?

The SEND Advisory Panel will decide which professional will be in charge of the meeting. Attendees should include: 

  • You
  • Your child/young person
  • Your child’s head teacher, SENCO or other relevant member of staff from their school
  • Other relevant professionals who support your child, for example a speech and language therapist
  • Other professionals that have been recommended to support your child or their school

Structure of the meeting

The WFM should focus on finding solutions to support your child’s needs. The following areas should be covered: 

  • Everyone attending the meeting should introduce themselves
  • The purpose and structure of the meeting should be explained
  • The reasons for not carrying out an EHC assessment or issuing an EHC plan should be set out
  • The provision and support that is currently in place at your child’s school should be discussed (including transition planning if relevant)
  • There should be an opportunity to discuss any other concerns you may have about your child and how these could be addressed
  • Monitoring and review arrangements and timescales should be discussed and agreed
  • Next steps should be agreed

Recording the meeting

It is recommended that the meeting itself is recorded by the representative of Brent Council. This will be discussed with you and the other attendees beforehand. In addition, the date and time of the meeting should be noted, and actions agreed by all participants.

What happens after the meeting?

The recording of the WFM will be circulated to you and everyone who attended, as well as to Brent Council’s SEND Team.

One term after the WFM, your school’s SENCO should arrange another meeting with you, your child and, if appropriate, other professionals to review support provided to your child. 

Children who have not yet started school

If your child has not yet started school, the WFM will focus on the support they are currently receiving at their nursery. There will also be an opportunity to explore the transition planning that will be put in place to help them when they start school and how they will be supported when they get there.