Annual reviews of education, health, and care (EHC) plans

This page explains in more detail what an annual review of an EHC plan is, the steps where you can get more information and help.

The information on this page is taken from the SEND code of practice.

What is an annual review of an EHC plan?

The local authority must review your child’s or young person’s education health care (EHC) plan to:

  • Review their progress
  • Make sure that the EHC plan is up to date
  • Help them to meet their outcomes

How often should and annual review happen?

The EHC plan must be reviewed, a minimum of every 12 months (from the date of when the first final EHC plan was issued or within 12 months from the end of the last annual review).

Children under five should have their review within three to six months but a minimum of 12 months.

Sometimes, there are situations when an annual review may happen earlier, for example, if there are significant changes in your child’s or young person’s needs, or a new diagnosis. This is sometimes called an emergency or early annual review, the education setting (school or college) can ask for an emergency annual review. However, only the local authority can decide if an emergency annual review should happen or not.

Your role

It is important that your child or young person and you are actively involved with and at the centre of the annual review process.

Who is responsible for an annual review?

It is the local authorities duty to make sure the annual review process is completed.

What are the steps for an annual review of an EHC plan?

The annual review process is broken down into legal steps that must be followed. Please note: Although the local authority is responsible for the annual review process – it will pass on the responsibility of some of the steps to the headteacher/principal of the education setting.

The annual review process includes:

Step 1 – Informing the education setting

The local authority informs the headteacher which children and young peoples’ annual reviews need to be held in the coming term.

Step 2 - Obtaining information and advice

The headteacher (usually the Special Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO or named person at their college will do this), must obtain written information and advice(reports) about your child from the following people:

  • You and your child
  • The education setting
  • A member of the local authority
  • Social care professional
  • Health Care professional. For example, a Speech and Language Therapist, Child, and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)
  • Other Professionals who are involved in supporting

Step 3 - Organising the annual review meeting

Your child’s or young person’s education setting will organise, hold and chair the annual review meeting.

Please note: If your child or young person, is not in an education setting, the local authority will often carry out all the annual review steps, including setting up the meeting. Your child’s or young person’s education setting must invite the same people they asked for information and advice from in “See Step 2”.

The education setting will usually chair the meeting (usually the SENCO)

Please note: Everyone invited to the annual review meeting, must be given at least, two weeks’ notice before the annual review meeting date, to attend. You and all the professionals invited to the meeting must also receive the written information and advice gathered at least two weeks before the meeting date. This gives you and the professionals time to read through all the information, advice and prepare for the annual review meeting.

If you do not receive this information two weeks before the meeting - you can ask for the annual review meeting to be changed to a later date.

Step 4 - The annual review meeting

The aim of the annual review meeting is to gather everyone’s opinion (view) about how your child or young person is being supported. Your child or young person’s views, wishes, and views of the parents are essential and should be at the centre of this process.

The following points should be discussed, for example,

  • Focus on progress made towards achieving outcomes written in the EHC plan
  • Look at the information and advice gathered to see how your child’s or young person’s education setting can use it to support their progress and access (taking part) to teaching and learning.
  • Review the special educational provision (Section F of the EHC plan) to ensure it is helping your child or young person to access teaching, learning, and supporting their progress.
  • Review any health and social care provision and checking its impact towards achieving the outcomes n Discuss whether the EHC plan is still suitable considering the progress your child or young person has made during the previous year, or if things have changed for them or changes are required?
  • Set new short-term targets for the next year and agree new outcomes (where needed).

Sometimes as part of the annual review, you or your child or young person and or, the education setting might want to request changes to the EHC plan, if there has been a significant change in needs and the support required.

The headteacher or SENCO should take notes at the meeting including your child’s or young person’s and your views. Do make sure these are recorded. If not, then you can email/write to your child’s or young person’s EHC Co-ordinator in the SEN team in Wandsworth, following the annual review meeting.

Step 5 – After the annual review meeting:

Within two weeks of the meeting:

  • The headteacher (usually the SENCO or named person at their college) of your child’s or young person’s education setting will write up and send out an annual review report (using the Wandsworth Annual Review report template) to everybody invited to the review meeting, including you and the local authority (usually EHC co-ordinator) who must receive a copy of this
  • The annual review report will also include any reports gathered as part of the annual review process
  • The annual review report should provide clear recommendations on any changes to the EHC plan (if needed) and will give information on any differences in views

The local authority will review and make a decision about the current EHC plan based on what is written in this report.

Within four weeks of the meeting: The local authority must send you a letter (a notification) to inform you, your young person (if they are 16 or over) and their education setting of the outcome(decision) of the annual review.

The decision the local authority will make, will be one of the following:

  • Keeping the EHC plan as it is (no changes)
  • Amending the EHC plan (e.g. changing what’s written in the EHC plan for example, such as section B (their needs) and or F (the help/support they need or proposing to name a new education setting in Section I.)
  • Ceasing (ending) the EHCP. This could be because the local authority, your child, or you feel that they no longer need the support given through an EHC plan
  • If the local authority decides not to amend the EHC plan or proposes to cease it then they must notify you and your young person (aged 16 to 25) in the above letter, of your right to appeal

Find out more information about challenging decisions and appealing.

Amending the EHC plan

If the local authority decides to make amendments to the EHC plan, they must also inform you of what the proposed amendments will be. This means the local authority must also include a copy of the proposed (draft) amended EHC plan, with the outcome of the annual review letter you receive.

You will be given fifteen calendar days to give your views on the proposed amendments.

When you receive the decision letter, this means the annual review process has ended. Although any amendments the local authority are going to make to the EHC plan will still need to be made. The final EHC plan must be issued as soon as practicable and within a further eight weeks maximum. Therefore, the local authority must send you the final amended EHC plan within a maximum of twelve weeks of the annual review meeting.

To see an example of the annual review report form and how Wandsworth expects the annual review process is carried out for children in Wandsworth and out of borough schools, please scroll down to section 6, of the Wandsworth (SEND Handbook).

Preparing for an annual review meeting

As mentioned earlier, information and advice (reports) must be given to you at least two weeks before the annual review meeting date.

This will give you time to read through the reports so that you can ask any questions at the annual review meeting.

You can also send in your child’s or young person’s and your views before the meeting. The education setting may be able to help your child or young person and you to write your views for the annual review or you can use our templates.

You may want to write down:

  • What provision (see Sections F, G and H of EHC plan) you think is helping your child or young person and if they need more or different types of help
  • Is the education setting (school or college) still suitable in meeting their needs?

If your child is in Year 9 or older

Annual reviews for children or young people in year 9 onwards, must follow the above steps and include a focus on preparing for adulthood (PFA), for example, employment, independent living, taking part in the community and health.

Where can I get more information, advice, or support on the annual review process?

If you have questions about your child’s annual review you can:

Leaflets and templates

You can download our leaflets and templates: