Meeting Preparation and Support
You may be invited to a meeting at your child’s school or setting or you may have requested a meeting yourself. This page gives information and ideas about how to prepare for meetings so that you can get the best of out of them.
I want to request a meeting – who should I ask?
If your concerns are related to a learning or special educational need, you may want to meet with the class teacher and/or the school’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO). If you don’t know who the SENCO is, you can ask the school for their name.
If you want to discuss any concerns further you may want to meet with the Head Teacher.
If there are other people that you feel should be there, you can ask for them to be invited too.
If you need any particular help at the meeting because of an individual need, remember to tell the people holding the meeting to make sure they arrange what you need.
If English is not your first language or you find it difficult, you can ask for an interpreter. This may take time to arrange, so remember to ask for this well ahead of the meeting, if possible.
You could take someone with you to support you at the meeting such as a friend or relative.
There are circumstances where someone from SENDIASS can attend a meeting, this is usually when a parent or young person needs some support to share their views or to understand some of the things discussed in the meeting.
You may wish to check who else will be at the meeting, their role and what information they may be bringing.
If you have asked for the meeting, has everyone that you would like to be there been invited? If a key person cannot attend the meeting, you may want to re-arrange it for another time that is convenient for everyone.
It is useful to think about what the purpose of the meeting is and what you want to achieve from the meeting?
It can be useful to make a list of any information you want to share in the meeting and any questions that you want to ask. For example: What are the areas that cause greatest difficulty? What help is being given? Is progress being made?
Some people find it helpful to practice saying their questions out loud before a meeting to help them feel confident in what they are going to say.
Your child may be able to attend the meeting, it can be useful for you or the school to ask them for their views before the meeting. For example, do you have any worries? What do you enjoy?
You may want to check how much time is being allocated for the meeting. If you feel that not enough time has been allowed you can request a longer time, or you may need to arrange the meeting for a different day.
At the meeting
It is important to be on time.
At the start of a meeting people usually introduce themselves, but if they don’t you can ask who each person is and what their role is.
You might also want to check if anyone will be taking notes at the meeting. If so, will actions be recorded and when will you receive a copy of the notes?
If you hear anything at the meeting that you don’t understand, you can ask for an explanation.
If any new paperwork about your child is brought to the meeting, you can ask for time to read it.
If there is anything that you don’t agree with in the meeting, don’t be afraid to speak up. Try to make your point in a calm and polite way. If things become too difficult, you can ask to take a break.
Be prepared to be flexible and talk about different options and alternatives to achieve the outcome you want.
At the end of the meeting you can ask for confirmation of the actions that have been agreed.
It is also useful to think about what will happen next:
- Who is doing what?
- How will the actions be reviewed?
- Will there be another meeting?
After the meeting
After a meeting you may received a written copy of the notes. If you do not receive a copy, you can contact the professional you had the meeting with to ask for them. Some people choose to send a letter confirming what they felt were the agreed actions.
How can SENDIASS help you prepare for a meeting?
These are some of the ways we can help you prepare for a meeting
- Help you identify what you want to get out of the meeting
- Help you work out what questions you want to ask and how you might ask them
- Talk through any paperwork that might be important for the meeting
- Explain the legislation relating to SEND
There are circumstances when SENDIASS can attend a meeting with a parent or young person, we will remain objective and impartial at all times.
Please contact our Helpline if you would like to talk to us about meeting preparation and support.