EHC plans: annual reviews

Education, health and care (EHC) plans must be reviewed at least every 12 months.

This process is called the annual review and schools should arrange this. If a child or young person does not attend a school or other institution the local authority will arrange the review.

Reviews must take into account the views, wishes and feelings of children, young people and parents.

If there are concerns about a child’s or young person’s progress, an interim or emergency review can be called at any time.

Interim/emergency reviews

If you, the school or the local authority believe there is an urgent need to change your child’s EHC plan the local authority can carry out an interim or emergency review.

Reasons to ask for an emergency review could be.

  • Your child’s education, health or social care needs have changed and the EHC plan no longer accurately describes them.
  • The education, health or social care provision in the EHC plan is no longer meeting your child’s needs.

It is always useful to talk to school about your concerns or speak to the SEND team before you request an emergency review.

Contact the school or your area SEND Team if you need to call a review.

The annual review meeting

The annual review meeting is normally held in your child’s school or educational setting. Everyone who is involved with your child (for example parents/ carers, occupational therapist, educational psychologist, speech therapist, local authority representative) is invited to attend or send written comments or reports. The school sends out invitations to this meeting at least two weeks before the date, some people who are invited to the meeting may not attend.

The review meeting will

  • Bring together information from all those involved in helping achieve the outcomes set out in the EHC plan.
  • Consider this information so that it can be used to support future progress.
  • Review the effectiveness of the provision made for the child or young person.
  • Consider if any changes need to be made to the EHC plan.
  • Consider if the EHC plan should continue.

Paperwork for the review

The people invited will be asked to submit a report and copies of all the reports should be available to everyone before and at the meeting. Copies of reports should be sent out two weeks before the meeting.

You will be asked to give your views and your child will be asked for their views as well. It is important to try to find out what your child thinks about the support that they are receiving and how it works for them.

Your report could comment on:

  • your child’s progress in the year
  • what has gone well or caused concern
  • what to consider for the future
  • what school/college can do to help with this

The annual review is an important opportunity for your child. They should be encouraged to give their views and these must be taken into account.

Everything discussed in the meeting is recorded. It is a chance for you and your child's views to be heard.

You as the parent/carer can take someone with you to the meeting. This can be a friend, relative or someone from the Information Advice and Support Team.

What will happen at the meeting?

You'll discuss your child’s progress.  The special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) should talk through each part of the EHC plan to see what is relevant/working/not working. Copies of the EHC plan should be available for all to read. Your child should be at the centre of the discussions and take an active part.

Ask questions, check details, ask for any explanations which will make things clearer.

The annual review is something to be actively part of, not something that is done to you.

What happens next?

You all get a report, the annual review summary, which sums up what everyone said and agreed in the meeting and what the recommendations are. The school must send this within two weeks of the meeting.

The summary also goes to the local authority SEND Support Team to make a decision on your child's EHC plan.

The local authority must let you and everyone else involved know what their decision is within four weeks of the meeting.

They may choose to:

  • Keep the plan as it is
  • Change the plan
  • Cease (end) the plan

If you disagree with the outcome of the review there is an appeal process. You can contact your area SEND Team to find out how to appeal. The Information Advice and Support Team can also provide further help if needed.

Information from other organisations

The Special Needs Jungle have worked with the Department for Education to make a series of flow charts (external link) detailing the process for SEN Support, EHC Plans, annual reviews and what to do if your child is refused an assessment, a plan, or if you have a complaint.