An Education, Health and Care Plan, also called an EHCP or EHC Plan, must have a formal annual review within 12 months of the final plan or the last review.
The annual review is a way you can raise concerns or suggest changes if you're not happy with the content of an EHC plan.
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 your contact is at the placement might vary. For schools, it's usually the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO).
Warning 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.
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 the annual review paperwork as a report to the local authority and send it to everyone who attended. It will cover:
your child’s progress towards the EHCP outcomes
everyone's views and recommendations
any provision changes 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 will review this report and decide if they are going to:
make the suggested changes
continue to maintain the EHC plan as it is
stop the EHC plan
The local authority must tell the parents and school their decision within 4 weeks of the review meeting.
Changes to the EHC plan
How the review will affect your child's EHCP depends on what revisions the annual review report asks for and whether 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 the suggested changes are big, complex or if the local authority disagrees, such as an increase in provision or a change in school, a panel will probably need to review the report. A group of professionals will discuss the report and any other available information to decide. This process might vary between local authorities.
The local authority does not have a deadline for sending you their planned changes. But the SEN Code of Practice does say:
“If the plan needs to be amended, the local authority should start the process of amendment without delay” Paragraph 9.176
Challenging 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. If you ask, they must have a meeting with you 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.