Wales has a different process to England

Wales has Individual Development Plans (IDP), reviewed at least once a year.

Individual Development Plan (SNAP Cymru)

Making changes to your EHCP

In some situations, you can ask the school (or placement) and local authority for an early annual review. This can help you get significant changes to your child’s plan without waiting for the next annual review.

A significant change might be getting another diagnosis. A ‘placement’ or ‘setting’ can be a nursery, school, college or apprenticeship. The process should be the same but who you contact might vary.

For schools, it’s usually the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO).

Local authorities must provide support in EHCPs

Legally, schools and local authorities must provide the support in your child’s EHC plan, even if your child is not at school.

If your local authority says that they cannot do this, contact your local parent support service for help.

Find your local Information Advice and Support Service (Council for Disabled Children)

You should be involved in annual reviews

The local authority must consult you and your child to consider your views, wishes and feelings about the EHC plan.

Talk to the SENCO if you have not been included in your child’s annual reviews.

Asking for an informal review

You can ask your child’s school for an informal review at any time.

You do not have to wait until the annual review to talk about:

  • how the school is carrying out the EHC plan
  • any concerns about your child’s progress

Depending on the school, the SENCO may set up reviews each term to check your child’s progress.

Regular meetings

Regular meetings can be good for your relationship with the school and make it easier for you to communicate. But the school does not have to do this by law.

You can ask the SENCO to set up a review meeting to talk about your child’s needs, progress and the support they receive with:

  • teachers
  • members of staff
  • other professionals working with your child

Informal reviews

Informal reviews will not change what’s in your child’s EHC plan. But you can change your child’s EHCP in an early formal review.

Ask the school for a review if the support in your child’s EHCP is not meeting their needs. It can be a way for you to:

  • check that your child is getting the support in their EHCP
  • get evidence that the support in your child’s EHCP is not helping them to meet their outcomes

Asking for an early annual review

You or the school can ask for an early EHCP review. Some parents call this an ‘interim’ review.

The school should contact you if they think your child’s EHCP needs reviewing.

You or the school can ask for an early review if:

  • your child’s special educational needs change significantly and the description in the EHC plan is no longer accurate
  • the provision in your child’s EHC plan no longer meets their needs
  • your child has been excluded or is at risk of exclusion from school
  • there’s a problem and it seems the school may not be meeting your child's needs

Special educational provision:

  • ‘educates or trains’ your child
  • and is additional to or different from the educational offer to others of the same age

Who to ask for an early annual review

If you feel the EHC plan needs a review, it can be helpful to talk to your child’s SENCO first.

If the school agrees with you, they will usually contact the local authority to ask for an early annual review. You could write to the local authority too. Copy in the SENCO if you do.

If the school does not agree, you can write to the local authority directly.

Any letters or emails should explain why you are asking for an early review. Keep copies of what you’ve sent and any responses.

IPSEA has advice on early EHCP reviews

This includes a template letter asking your local authority for an early review of an EHC plan.

How an early review will affect the EHC plan

The early review should follow the same process as an annual review.

If you are refused an early review

You do not have the right to appeal. But you could ask for another early review if you get more evidence.

You could also wait for your next annual review. For children under 16, this must be before 15 February in the calendar year when transferring from:

  • early years provider to school
  • infant school to junior school
  • primary school to middle school
  • primary school to secondary school, and
  • middle school to secondary school

For children moving from secondary school to a post-16 provision (including apprenticeships), the review must be by 31 March in the calendar year of the transfer. This includes any changes to the EHC plan, including specifying and naming the post-16 provision.

Warning If your child is not getting their EHCP support

You should only call an early review when you need the EHC plan to change.

If the provision described in your child’s EHCP is good, but your child is not getting it, talk to the SENCO. If you have a caseworker at your local authority, you can also talk to them.

You may need to send a formal complaint to your local authority.

Making a complaint about the EHCP to your local authority is easier if the school supports you. But you can complain to your local authority without your school if you want to.

If the school is not following an EHCP

EHCP annual reviews

Your local authority is responsible for your child’s EHC plan and the annual reviews. Usually, they will ask the school to organise the review meeting.

If your local authority has not told you when your review will be, ask them.

In some areas an SEN or EHCP officer from the local authority will organise the review.

Children under 5 have more regular reviews

Reviews usually happen between 3 and 6 months. There must be an annual review too.

Children over 5 only have annual reviews

Check with the SENCO if your child has not had an annual review 12 months after the local authority issued the final plan.

Children 16 or over

The EHCP review will look more at what your child wants. Your child will usually be at the review meeting too.

The annual review meeting

The EHCP annual review meeting will check your child’s progress against their agreed outcomes. The SENCO will usually chair the meeting and invite everyone supporting your child.

To prepare, the SENCO must get advice and information from anyone involved. This might be:

  • you and, if possible, your child (to express views, wishes and feelings)
  • any health or social care agencies involved
  • teachers and teaching assistants
  • therapists, such as speech and language therapists (SLTs), physiotherapists or occupational therapists (OTs)
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) professionals
  • any other professionals working with your child

IPSEA annual review checklist

You must receive the written information 2 weeks before the meeting

The SENCO must give you the information 2 weeks before the meeting.

Everyone in the review meeting will have the same information.

You need time to check it to see if there’s anything new or that you’re not expecting. If you do not have time to read the information, you do not have to go to the meeting and can reschedule it.

Check documents before the meeting

Check the annual review forms before the meeting. You will be able to see the sorts of questions you will need to answer.

The annual review report

The school will submit a report to the local authority after the annual review meeting. They must send a copy to you and everyone who attended.

The report will cover:

  • your child’s progress towards the EHCP outcomes
  • everyone's views and recommendations
  • any changes to provision needed to support your child
  • any changes to your child’s outcomes or goals
  • all the information or reports submitted before the meeting

If you have not received the report within 2 weeks of the review meeting, ask the school for a copy.

The local authority must tell the parents and school what they are going to do with the EHCP within 4 weeks of the review meeting.

The local authority can decide to:

  • keep the plan as it is
  • or amend the plan
  • or cease to maintain the plan

Changes to the EHC plan

How the review will affect your child’s EHCP depends on what the review panel decides and if the local authority agrees.

Changes to your child’s EHC plan could mean:

  • different or additional provision for your child’s support
  • changes to the outcomes
  • changing schools (or placement)
  • changes to social care that affect education
  • changes to health that affect your child’s educational support needs

If you disagree with changes to the EHCP

The local authority will send you a draft EHC plan and an 'amendment notice' telling you the planned changes. The notice should include any evidence that supports the changes.

You will have 15 days to make a written objection. You must explain why you disagree. You can also ask for a meeting with a local authority officer. They must meet with you if you ask within the 15 days.

You can talk to the SENCO about the local authority’s decision. If they agree with you, ask them to write a letter to the local authority explaining why. You also need to send your own letter.

Template letter and advice on objecting to amendments (IPSEA)

The local authority must send the finalised EHC plan to you, the school and the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) within 8 weeks of sending parents the draft EHCP and amendment notice.

You can appeal the final plan if you're still not happy with the changes.

Appealing an EHC plan decision

Working out your EHCP timeline

The timeframes for EHCP reviews are legally binding. The local authority must keep to the timeframes by law.

If your local authority misses a deadline, contact the SEN or EHCP case officer.

You can take legal action if you have long delays and the local authority is not keeping to the timeframes. This can take time and money and may be stressful.

Use our EHCP calculator

Legally binding timeframes

  • Two weeks before the annual review meeting, the SENCO or case officer gathers information and advice.
  • Review meeting
  • A maximum of 2 weeks after the review meeting, the school shares a copy of the annual review report.
  • A maximum of 4 weeks after the review meeting, the local authority tells parents their decision about any intended changes to the plan.
  • Parents then have 15 days to make a written objection to any changes to the plan.
  • Within 8 weeks of sharing the planned changes, the local authority sends the final EHC plan.

Maintaining or stopping an EHC plan

If the local authority decides to continue the plan without changes or stop it, they must tell you about:

  • your right to appeal
  • the time limits
  • availability of mediation and disagreement resolution services

Stopping a plan is always a possible outcome at any annual review, but it’s unlikely if your child still needs the same level of support.

If you feel the EHC plan needs changes or you disagree with the local authority’s decision to stop the plan, you can appeal.

Appealing an EHC plan decision

Last reviewed by Scope on: 08/07/2024

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