Education, health and care plan annual reviews
What is an annual review?
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 more often, 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. We will gather and consider information about your child - attendance, progress, attainment, what is going well and what is not going so well.
The review process is also a chance to look at whether your child is still in the right placement to ensure that they achieve their potential. For example, where your child is doing well in a special school placement there may be an opportunity to look at whether they are ready to transition back into a mainstream school setting. Or, if your child is struggling to make progress we may want to look at additional support in their current setting or whether a different type of setting might work better.
If there is concern about the progress of your child, you or the educational setting may request the review earlier than planned, outside the normal 12-month period. This is called an early annual review, sometimes referred to as ‘emergency’ review.
Before the meeting
Your child’s educational setting will arrange the annual review on our behalf. If your child is educated at home, we must arrange the annual review.
They will ask for written reports from you, teachers or tutors and other people invited to the annual review meeting.
The reports will be sent to everyone invited at least two weeks before the date of the meeting.
The school must send out written invitations with the annual review meeting stating date, time and venue.
The headteacher or SENCO must put you and your child at the centre of the meeting, to encourage your child to think about and give their views about the education they receive, what they like or don’t like and what they think is going well and what is not going so well.
Taking part in the meeting
- you and your child
- a relevant teacher, for example, a 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 your EHCP Officer, however they will not be able to attend every annual review meeting
- health practitioners, for example speech and language therapists and doctors who are working with your child as part of the graduated response
- social care, early help or voluntary sector practitioners who are working with your child as part of the graduated response
- anyone else the headteacher or principal, you or your child considers appropriate.
How the meeting will be held
Your school or education setting should ask you how you want the meeting to be held. If you want to hold the meeting online, more professionals are often available to take part and it can be easier to arrange. If you prefer to meet face to face, your school should arrange a suitable room at the school at a convenient time for everyone involved.
It's very important that a parent is able to take part in the review meeting and feels comfortable to provide their views, so you should think about how you, and your child, would find it easiest to take part. You can always ask for a family member, friend or advocate to attend the review with you.
What to expect during the meeting
It is unlikely that everyone invited to attend will be able to make the annual review meeting, however it is important that the date and time is convenient for you, and anyone else who needs to attend the meeting.
The annual review meeting will focus on what progress your child has made towards achieving the outcomes written in their EHC plan.
During the annual review meeting, the EHC plan will be assessed to ensure it still accurately 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.
It is important to remember that the annual review is not a decision-making meeting. At the meeting, recommendations are made. We will then make a final decision based on the recommendations and the supporting evidence provided.
What to expect from health professionals during the review
The level of involvement from health professionals in an annual review will vary depending on the current level of support that your child receives. There are 4 different levels of health involvement in the annual review process
Level 1 - No involvement
Where there are no health concerns listed in the EHC plan and no new concerns have been raised, there will be no contribution from health professionals to the annual review.
Level 2 - Health needs have all been met
Where the special educational needs or health needs set out in the plan have now been met and specialist support is no longer needed, a discharge report or letter will be issued to allow the plan to be updated.
Level 3 - Health needs and provision still exist but progress is being made
Where health needs have been identified and provision is listed in the EHC plan such as by speech and language or occupational therapy, but the child is making good progress and good relationships exist with the school and family.
If this is the case health professionals will speak to the education setting carrying out the annual review and will then provide a written report explaining the current situation.
Level 4 - Health needs and provision still exist and little or no progress is being made
Where health needs have been identified and provision is listed in the EHC plan such as by speech and language or occupational therapy, and the child is not making good progress and there are concerns about how the provision will be delivered in the future.
If this is the case health professionals will speak to the education setting carrying out the annual review and will then provide a written report explaining the current situation. The health professional will also attend the review meeting either in person or online.
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 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.
Annual review toolkit
We've produced an annual review toolkit in collaboration with SENCOs and parents.
The templates in the toolkit are designed to support a more consistent approach to annual reviews across the city.