Annual Review

If your child has an EHCP, the LA has a legal obligation to review it at least once a year (and should consider reviewing the EHCP at least every 6 months for under fives).

Here’s an overview of what you should expect to be happening:

Four children in school uniform sitting and listening. One girl has her chin on her hands and is looking thoughtful

The purpose of the review

  • brings together the views of everyone who helps your child
  • reviews how well the outcomes set in the plan are being achieved
  • considers whether the provision detailed in the EHCP is still effective and relevant
  • sets new targets for the next 12 months.

When is it held?

The Annual Review must be held within 12 months of when the EHCP was first issued and thereafter within 12 months of the last review. It is the LA’s responsibility to ensure this happens.

What needs to happen?

In order to be a valid Annual Review, there are a series of steps the LA must take, under Regulation 20 of the SEND Regulations 2014 which includes

  • ensuring the right people are invited
  • all invited/attending have at least two weeks’ notice of the date of the meeting, and
  • that the organiser of the meeting has gathered information and updates from parents, and young people, and from professionals that are shared with all attending at least two weeks before the meeting
  • circulating a report within two weeks of the meeting of what was discussed and agreed
  • issue a decision within four weeks of the annual review. If the decision is to amend, the draft must also be issued within four weeks.

You should contact your case worker at the LA and the school if this is not the case.

If the child or young person is coming up to a phase transfer (for example, moving from primary school to secondary school), the LA must carry out the review well in advance of the move.

What happens after the Annual Review?

At the end of the review, the LA must make one of three decisions:

  1. To maintain the EHC plan and not make any changes
  2. To amend the EHC plan
  3. To cease the EHC plan

In each case,  it must write to you with its decision within four weeks of the Annual Review date.

If the LA has decided to amend the EHC plan, it must issue a draft at the same time as the decision letter so that parents can review it. Parents have at least 15 days to review the plan. The LA must issue the plan within 8 weeks of the date the draft was sent to parents to review.

If it decides to leave it the same, or cease it, and you are not in agreement, you have a right of appeal within the decision letter sent to you by the LA.

Common Myths and Questions

The LA must give advance notification to parents when they are proposing to cease to maintain an EHCP. This is in the form of  a written notice. It must consult with parents before ceasing an EHCP and advise the date at which they intend to cease maintaining it. This means that support does NOT stop following the issuing of this notice. Parents and schools are able to respond to the LA with their their feedback if they do not agree with the proposed date and are able to appeal to SENDIST. The support in the EHCP must be provided until the appeal is concluded.
In order for the Annual Review to be valid, professionals and schools must send any reports or documents they rely on in the Annual Review meeting to ALL those attending the meeting two weeks before the meeting takes place.
No. The LA cannot reduce the provision after the Annual Review, the current EHCP remains in force until it is formally amended. Until the LA completes the process of issuing a draft, consulting with parents and issuing a final amended EHCP, they have to continue supplying all the support in that EHCP.
The LA must arrange a statutory review of the EHCP at least once every 12 months. But you can ask for an early review at any time as long as you have good reason. If you believe it is urgent to do so - needs and provision are not accurate as they currently are for example - then you should ask the LA to conduct a review as soon as possible. This should be led by the LA but you should advise the school first.  
Yes you can ask for an early statutory review of an EHCP but you should have a good reason for doing so. Reasons for doing that would be:
  • that Section B is no longer accurate -  education, health or social care needs have changed
  • Section F therefore is no longer accurate and not meeting those changed needs.
  • a child or young person is at risk of exclusion or has been excluded and urgent review of needs and provision is required
The annual review must take place within 12 months of the last review, or of the date the EHC plan was first issued.  The appeal doesn't impact this happening. It could be an opportunity for some matters to be resolved that you are appealing - and the annual review can and should include elements of the Plan which aren't being appealed and/or can't be appealed, e.g. section E. If the LA issues a new draft amended EHC plan after the annual review, this can be wrapped into the appeal, and you can request to treat the draft amended EHCP as the working document in the current appeal, rather than having to register a new appeal.

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