Annual Review

Where a child or young person has an EHC plan, it must be reviewed at least once a year by the local authority (LA). This is to ensure it stays up-to-date and continues to provide the support the child or young person needs.

At the end of the review, there are only three decisions the LA can make:

  1. To maintain the EHC plan in its current format (not make any changes);
  2. To amend the EHC plan;
  3. To cease the EHC plan if they think it is no longer necessary for it to be in place

In each case, even if the LA decides not to make any changes, you can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability), to try to get changes made to the EHC plan. (If the LA has decided to amend the EHC plan, you can appeal once you have been sent the final amended EHC plan.)

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 (see below for more information).

The Annual Review Process

The annual review is the statutory process of looking at the needs, provision and outcomes specified in an EHC Plan, and deciding whether these need to change. 

The first review of the EHC plan must be held within 12 months of the EHC plan being finalised. Subsequent reviews must be held within 12 months of the previous review.

The following steps must take place in an annual review:

  • The LA must consult with the parent of the child or young person (and with the school or institution being attended if there is one) about the EHC plan, and take account of their views, wishes and feelings.
  • An annual review meeting must take place to discuss the EHC plan.
  • Information must be gathered from parents and young people and from professionals about the EHC plan and then circulated two weeks before the meeting.
  • After the meeting a report of what happened must be prepared and circulated to everyone who attended or submitted information to be discussed.
  • After the meeting the LA reviews the EHC plan.
  • The LA must notify the parent of the child or young person of their decision within four weeks of the meeting.

All of these steps – not just the meeting – must be followed in order for an annual review to be completed.

Annual Reviews in Preparation for Phase Transfers

Local authorities have a legal duty to review and amend an education, health and care plan when a child or young person transfers from one phase of education to another. Phase transfer is the moving between particular stages of education:

  • early years education to school
  • infant to junior school
  • primary to middle school
  • primary to secondary school
  • middle to secondary school
  • secondary school to a post 16 institution

For those transferring from secondary school to a post-16 institution, the EHC plan must be reviewed and amended by 31 March in the year of transfer; for all other phases of transfer, the deadline is 15 February in the year of transfer.

When a young person is already attending a post-16 institute and it is proposed that they move from one post-16 institution to another at any time, the LA must review and amend the EHC plan at least five months before that transfer takes place.

After the review, the EHC plan should state that they will continue to attend their current setting until the end of the academic year (or another date if different). In Section I, it should name the setting or the type of setting that they will attend from the start of the next academic year.

Where the LA is amending the EHC plan it must notify the parent or young person of its decision within four weeks of the meeting. It should then send details of the proposed amendments without delay, in order for the parent or young person to make comments on the content of the EHC plan. The LA must finalise the amended EHC plan within eight weeks of sending the parent or young person the proposed amendments. This process must be completed by the deadlines set out above. This means that discussions about transfer need to begin early in the autumn term of the year before transfer to allow plenty of time for the review and amendment process to happen.

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