Education, health and care plan annual reviews

If a child or young person has an education, health and care (EHC) plan, the law states we must review it at least once a year. This is called an annual review. For children under 5 years of age, a review should take place every 3 to 5 months but they must also have an annual review. This is to take account of the faster pace of growth and development in early years.

The annual review meeting is an opportunity for you, your child and the professionals who support them to meet, discuss and review your child’s progress towards achieving the outcomes in the EHC plan and whether anything has changed.

Your child’s educational setting will arrange the annual review on our behalf and send out written invitations. If your child is educated at home, we must arrange the annual review.

If there is concern about progress of your child, you or the educational setting may request the review be arranged sooner than planned, outside the normal 12 month period. This is called an early annual review, sometimes referred to as emergency review.

Purpose of an annual review

The annual review involves holding a meeting during which the EHC plan is reviewed. It brings all the relevant people and professionals together to:

  • gather and consider information about your child (attendance, progress, attainment, what is going well and what is not going so well)
  • review the effectiveness of any special educational, health or social care provision made for your child
  • consider whether any changes need to be made to the EHC plan
  • consider if the EHC plan should continue or cease.

If your child is in year 9 or above, the annual review should have a focus on transition, preparation for adulthood and independent living.

Before the meeting

  • The headteacher must send out written invitations with the annual review meeting stating date, time and venue.

  • They will ask for written reports from you, teachers or tutors and other people invited to the annual review meeting.

  • The reports have to be sent to everyone invited at least 2 weeks before the date of the meeting.

  • The headteacher or SENCO must use a person-centered approach to encourage your child to think about and give their views about the education they receive, what they like or don’t like, what they think is going well or not going well.

Who will be invited

  • You and your child

  • A relevant teacher (class teacher or form teacher, the SENCO, or another person responsible for the provision of your child’s education)

  • A representative from the local authority such as the case officer (however they will not be able to attend every annual review meeting)

  • A health service representative if relevant

  • A social care representative if relevant

  • Anyone else the head teacher or principal, you or your child considers appropriate

During the annual review meeting

It is unlikely that everyone invited to attend will be able to make the annual review meeting. But it is important that the date and time is convenient for you, and anyone else who it is important to have at the meeting.

The annual review meeting must focus on what progress you child has made towards achieving the outcomes written in their EHC plan.

During the annual review meeting, the EHC plan must be looked at to see if it still appropriately describes the needs of your child and the provision required to meet them, including school placement.

The headteacher or SENCO will record the meeting, everyone’s views and recommendations and any disagreements to those in an annual review form.

It is important to remember that the annual review is not a decision making meeting. At the meeting recommendations are made to us. We will then make a final decision based on those recommendations and the supporting evidence provided.

After the meeting

Within 2 weeks of the meeting

  • The educational setting must complete the annual review of an EHC plan form.
  • This report and any reports gathered before the meeting must be sent to everyone invited to the annual review meeting.

Within 4 weeks of the meeting

We must let you know in writing of the decision to either:

  • maintain the EHC plan as it is
  • amend or change the EHC plan (EHC plans are not expected to be amended on a very frequent basis. EHC plans may need to be amended where there is significant change to your child’s needs, such as a new diagnosis, or your child’s provision, such as a new school placement)
  • cease to maintain the EHC plan.

The letter we send must also tell you about: