Guidance on Annual Reviews  


Why have an Annual Review?

At least once a year, an EHC plan must be reviewed to see if it is: 

  • Still required
  • Needs updating or amending 

It is not the meeting itself that is the Annual Review (AR)it is the letter that comes from the Local Authority (LA) four weeks after the meeting. Four weeks is set in law: two weeks for the head teacher to prepare and send a report to the LA and two weeks for the LA to decide what it wishes to do.  

For more information, watch the animation about the Annual Review process created by the Council for Disabled Children  

The Annual Review meeting

Most families will have their meetings at their child’s school or college, and a few will have meetings held elsewhere, for example, those who home-educate may have their meeting at home or at a neutral venue. 

The LA must: 

  1. Consult the child and parents/carers (or the young person) and take into account their views, wishes and feelings
  2. Consider the child or young person’s progress towards achieving the Outcomes specified in the EHC plan and whether these Outcomes remain appropriate 
  3. Consult the school or setting attended by the child or young person. 

If the child or young person attends a school then that setting should organise the AR but if they don’t, the duty falls to the LA. 

You and your child must be invited with at least two weeks’ notice of the AR meeting, along with the following professionals:  

  • The head teacher 
  • A LA officer (EHC plan case worker) 
  • A health care professional 
  • A LA social care professional 

Who organises the Annual Review?

Most of the Annual Review process is usually handled by the SENDCo, who arranges the AR Meeting, asks for all relevant professionals to send reports, and invites them to attend the meeting. 

The person arranging the meeting must: 

  • Obtain advice and information about the child or young person from those listed above
  • Circulate this at least two weeks before the meeting 

NOTEAn EHC plan is an Education, Health and Care plan, so the Annual Review is a meeting in which information from Health and Social Care is also brought to the table, not just Education.  

Outcomes for the child or young person

You will be given lots of information regarding how far your child has progressed towards meeting their outcomes as written in the EHC plan. You should receive Outcomes before the meeting. If the information is not circulated then you can request it and ask the school to delay the meeting to allow two clear weeks. If this happens, the LA is likely to miss their 12 month deadline to review the plan, which is a Statutory Duty 

The idea of getting the information two weeks ahead is so that you can give it careful consideration. 

  • If your child has not met their Outcomes, why not? 
  • How close did they get?  
  • Should the outcomes remain, be removed or be tweaked? If so, parents/carers, the child, and the school should suggest a new outcome.
  • Is the Provision correct? 
  • If not, what needs changing? 
  • What does the school have to say? 

Given that EHC plans should contain a number of Outcomes, the two weeks’ notice is clearly needed.  

If your child is in Year 9 or above, provision to assist their preparation into adulthood and independent living should also be considered. This is known as transition. Click here for our guide.

Quick checklist for the annual review meeting

  • What worked well? 
  • Which areas improved? 
  • Where could more progress have been made? 
  • How did support affect progress? 
  • What have you learned to help plan next steps? 
  • What needs to happen next?  
  • Mobility  
  • Communication and AAC (alternative and augmentative communication) 
  • Sensory input 
  • Cognitive potential 
  • Transport to school 
  • Toileting  
  • Feeding and drinking 
  • Medication 
  • Seating  

This is not an exhaustive list of areas of need and provision; feel free to add more, in order to put together tailored provision for your child. 

What happens after the meeting?

Where the child or young person is still in a school, the head teacher must prepare a written report after the meeting, setting out their recommendations for any amendments they consider necessary. This must be sent to the LA within two weeks. 

This report should also set out any areas of disagreement regarding the proposed amendments from those attending the meeting. Where the child or young person does not attend a school, the LA makes the written report. This report should also contain the information circulated two weeks before the meeting. 

The AR meeting therefore, brings everyone together with the relevant information of what has been happening over the past year and collects the child or young person and parent/carer views. The information is considered in regards to the outcomes and should also include proposed changes to outcomes, and needs/provision, where necessary. 

Within four weeks of the meeting you should receive ‘the Annual Review letter’. Not only should it state whether the EHC plan will be maintained in its current form, amended or ceased it should also contain information about what you should do if you disagree with the LAs decision. 

Amending an EHC Plan

If the LA decides to amend the EHC plan, they should do this without delay. A notice specifying the amendments must be sent to you, along with evidence to support those changes.  

You have 15 days to: 

  1. Make representations about the content of the draft plan
  2. Request that a particular school or other institution be named in the EHC plan 
  3. Request a meeting with an officer of the local authority, if you wish to make representations verbally 

The LA must send the final EHC plan as soon as is practicable, and in any event, within 8 weeks.  

You have the right of appeal if you are not happy with the results of the Annual Review. 

Further reading

IPSEA provides information on Annual Reviews

Council for Disabled Children have a guide for children and young people on how to share their views for their annual review 

SEND Code of Practice - This is Government guidance, which tells local authorities, schools and other organisations how to interpret the law in relation to children and young people with SEND. Information about SEN Support can be found in chapter 6 and information about EHC plans is in chapter 9. 

The National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) is the independent national voice of parent carer forums. Their mission is to deliver better outcomes for families living with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).  

Special Needs Jungle  

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