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0808 808 3555
This page is relevant to children and young people in England
who have an Education Health and Care (EHC)
Your local authority must review your child's EHC plan at least
once a year. This is to look at how your child is progressing and
to ensure that the plan is kept up to date. This process is known
as the annual review.
The annual review is a formal process that must follow certain
legal requirements. It includes a meeting, but this is not the only
part of the process. The responsibility for carrying out annual
reviews lies with the local authority, but in most cases the local
authority delegates organisation of the review meeting to your
Your child's first annual review must take place within 12
months of their plan being first made. After that, each review
should take place within 12 months of the previous
We'll look first at what happens during a review and then
explain how you can prepare for the review meeting.
The annual review process can be broken down into several
Local authority notifies the school
Each term the local authority must notify schools which of their
pupils' EHC plans need to be reviewed in the coming term.
Invitation to the annual review meeting
The next stage is for the school to organise a meeting between
people involved in your child's education.
The following people must be invited:
The school may also invite other people involved in supporting
your child, for example a teaching assistant, a speech and language
therapist, or a specialist advisory teacher. In practice, who
attends will depend very much on your child's needs and
You must be given at least two weeks' notice of the date of the
The school will also ask the people they invite to send in
written advice (reports) in advance. Any reports must be circulated
to everyone invited at least two weeks before the meeting. This
will give you time to prepare. See the section below on preparing
for the review meeting
The review meeting
The purpose of the meeting is to gather everyone's opinion about
how your child is being supported and to make recommendations about
any changes needed to the EHC plan. The meeting must consider the
And the guidance suggests it should also consider:
The meeting should also set interim targets for the following
The review report
Following the meeting the headteacher must compile a review
report with recommendations for any changes that should be made to
the EHC plan. They must send a copy of the report to the local
authority and to all those invited to the meeting, including the
parent. As well as the headteacher's recommendation, the report
should record any differences of opinion.
This report must be sent to the local authority within two weeks
of the meeting. The report must include all the evidence gathered
as part of the review process. That would include your parental
The local authority's decision
Within four weeks of the review meeting, the local authority
must make a decision about the recommendations in the review report
and notify the parent of this. The decision might be:
The local authority's written decision concludes the review
If the local authority wants to make changes to the plan, they
must send you an amendment notice. This sets out the changes it
proposes to make and includes any evidence it is relying on to make
this decision. You must be given 15 days to give your views on the
proposed changes. If you want a change of school, you can express
your preference at this point.
If you disagree with the local authority's decision at the final
step of the review, you have a right to go to mediation and/or
appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal. This may be the case if:
For more information on what to do next, see our page on Tribunal
It is important to prepare as well as you can, as the annual
review is your chance to ensure that your child's EHC plan is fit
for purpose. It may be that all is going well and the plan only
needs minor tweaks. Or it could be that the school can no longer
meet your child's needs and you are looking for a different
Before the meeting
Gathering your views
The local authority or school organising the review meeting will
ask you to send your views in advance. They may send you a form to
fill in, but you don't have to be limited by this.
Think about the past year and what has gone well, or not so
well, in your child's education. Has your child met any targets
that were set at their last review? How is your child doing both
academically and socially? If there have been any particular
problems at school, for example, behaviour, bullying, attendance,
or anxiety, describe these as well. If you need to ask any
questions about your child's progress or support at school, make a
note of these.
You should have received copies of any written reports that
professionals have contributed to the annual review. Go through all
these reports and make a note of anything you would like to discuss
at the meeting. Do you agree with the views others have expressed
about your child and the support they are receiving? Do the reports
make any recommendations for changes to your child's support?
Next, go through your child's EHC plan carefully. Look
particularly closely at the education sections B, F and I, as well
as the outcomes in section E. Our page on EHC plans explains the
different sections in more detail. The annual review is your chance
to say if you think the EHC plan is still correct or if any changes
need to be made. In particular:
This should be an accurate description of how your child learns
and what they can and cannot do. Does it still describe your child
as you know them? If not, make a list of what you think should be
taken out, changed, or added to this part of the EHC Plan.
This describes all the extra help your child must get, for
example 1-1 support from a teaching assistant, or weekly therapy.
Is it clear how much and what kind of help your child must receive?
Is it clear how often this help should be given and who should be
giving it? Do you think your child's needs have changed in the past
year? Do you think they need more help, or a different kind of
Are you happy with the school placement or do you think your
child should go to a different kind of school or college? If so,
you can say what you would prefer.
How is your child progressing towards the outcomes set in
section E? Do these need revising because they have been met or are
no longer appropriate?
Depending on your child's needs, you may also want to ask for
changes to be made to the health or social care sections of the EHC
plan. If that is the case it is sensible to ask for relevant
professionals to be involved in the review.
The annual review is also a chance to ask for a personal budget
if you didn't do this when the EHC plan was first made. See our
page on personal budgets for
What can you do if you have concerns about your child's EHC plan
but it's a while until the next annual review?
The first step is to check the plan. You may have a good plan
but the school is not providing what is specified. Alternatively
the plan may be inadequate or the school no longer suitable.
Good, detailed plan but support not given
In this case the first step would be to raise your concerns
through a meeting with the SENCO and give the school a chance to
put things right. Be as specific as you can about what is not being
provided, and put your concerns in writing. Ask to meet again in,
say, another month.
If the help in the plan is still not being provided, the next
step is to go back to your local authority. The local authority has
a legal duty to secure the special educational provision in the EHC
plan. You can make a formal complaint to the local authority if
this isn't happening.
Inadequate plan or change
of school needed
In this case you have a couple of different options.
You can ask the local authority for a full reassessment. This
takes the same form as and has similar timescales to the original
EHC needs assessment. This won't be a quick fix but may be
worthwhile if your child's needs or circumstances have changed
substantially. If you put in a request for reassessment and are
turned down, you have the right to mediation and/or appeal to
the First-Tier Tribunal.
If you feel that things have reached a crisis point and the
educational placement is at risk of breaking down, you can ask the
local authority to arrange an emergency review. This should always
be considered where a child is at risk of permanent exclusion.
Any such review is at the discretion of the local authority, and
there is no legal duty on them to arrange it. It will help if you
can get the school's backing, for example if it is no longer a
suitable placement. If you are requesting an emergency review, ask
the local authority to run it as an annual review with the same
timescales. That will then trigger appeal rights if you are not
happy with the outcome.
If you live in Wales, read our information about the
We also support Northern Ireland and Scotland. Give our helpline
a call on 0808 808 3555 and we can provide information or signpost
you to alternative sources of advice in those nations where
appropriate. Find out our local office details in the In your area
Any questions about support at school? How to get an EHC plan?
What kind of school is best for my child? Call our freephone helpline on 0808 808 3555 and talk
to one of our education advisers.