Person Centred Planning with children and young people: The Tower Hamlets model

Person centred planning aims to put children and young people at the centre of planning and decisions that affect them. When children are meaningfully involved, this can change their attitude, behaviour and learning and make them active partners who work with adults to bring about change.

What part does Person Centred Planning (PCP) play in the SEN Reforms?

The 2014 SEN Code of Practice expects that everyone involved in the assessment and planning process should adopt PCP practices. Those working with children and their families should focus on the child or young person as an individual. They should enable children and young people and their parents to express their views, wishes and feelings and enable children and young people and their parents to be part of the decision-making processes. 

The Tower Hamlets model of person centred planning was adapted from Helen Sanderson Associates work for the government’s ‘Valuing People Now’ strategy for adults with learning disabilities. The Tower Hamlets model was developed through an extended pilot project with several local schools. It continues to evolve based on feedback from children and young people, their parents and the work done by staff in the pilot project and beyond.

The guiding principles of person centred planning are that:

  • children and young people should be listened to and their views and feelings should be taken into account
  • all children and young people have a right to be consulted about services they receive
  • all children and young people have a right to participate actively and equally in school life
  • children and young people should be valued partners, who may play an important role in making things better
  • the adults’ role is to empower the child or young person; to promote their independence and enable them to do things for themselves, wherever possible.

How are we in Tower Hamlets promoting this way of working?

For a number of years the Educational Psychology Service has worked with schools in enabling Annual Reviews of SEN to become more Person Centred. In preparation for implementing the SEN Reforms training events have been held for parents schools and  colleagues from all teams who working with children with SEN. Support has been given to all schools in how to prepare for  hold  and record Annual Reviews in a Person Centred fashion.