The Annual Review and Melinda Messenger

Crapholes x 10 (000). It’s annual review time. Again. Number thirteen I think…

I hate annual reviews.

For those who ain’t familiar with the system, they are (I think) the opportunity to revisit LB’s Statement of Special Educational Needs and change anything that needs changing to bring it up to date. Given that it was written when he was four, he’s now 17, and changes are sporadic over the years, it is a bit of a pointless, bureaucratic exercise. For example, his Statement still includes the report from the psychologist guy against whom I made a formal complaint that was upheld years ago. There is no proper re-visiting of any aspects of LB’s life as it is now. Just a bit of polyfilla here and there, in a bodge job worthy of a whole episode of Cowboy Builders.

‘So what actually happens?’ I hear you ask, edging closer to the edge of your seat…

Well, not an awful lot, to be honest. You can request particular professionals attend, but I gave up that process years ago when I worked out anyone reasonably relevant didn’t bother attending anyway. Way too busy doing important things elsewhere. You get some random people, like Connexion workers or the occasional transition social worker, pitching up. But hey ho.

My despondency at the process was further underscored a few weeks ago when, at a night with my ‘speshy pals’, I was told that that LB had been entitled to Employment and Support Allowance for the last fourteen months. Er, Ok. So no one mentioned this last year? What the fuck?

The bottom line is, I don’t really understand the point of annual reviews. Lip service? Tick box exercise? Well maybe it’s about time the experience of parents is taken into consideration by the Education Authority. As fellow parent @AlexaDWilson commented on Twitter, it’s a ‘lowering experience’ and we really don’t need any more of those.

So, tomorrow at 1pm, think of me. And LB.

And if anyone has Melinda Messenger or Dominic’s number, can you send them in our direction?


Update: Well. I’ve gotta eat my words this time. Still depressing, but good turn out. Connexions person and LB’s social worker were spot on. Lots of good ideas and suggestions to support him, particularly from his teacher, and a lot of laughter. Number 13 was a revelation.

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