Annual Reviews

An Annual Review is the statutory process of looking at the needs and provision specified in an EHC Plan, and deciding whether these need to change. It is important to remember that the Annual Review is a process, not just a meeting. It is a chance to reflect on how the child has progressed over the year, and plan ahead for the future. (Preparing for adulthood, phase transfers, change of placement etc.) As it is a statutory process, it brings in your right of appeal and the chance for you to be involved. Many tribunals look back at the past 1 or 2 Annual Review reports so it is an important record. The Local Authority (LA) carries out the Annual Review and often delegates parts of the process to the school/college.

Watch the Council for Disabled Children’s video for a summary.

When does an Annual Review need to be done?

By Law

Section 44 of the Children and families Act 2014 (Statute Law):

The Local Authority must review an EHCP that it maintains. The Annual Review process, including the notification of the LA’s decision, must take place within 12 months of the issue of the final plan or the completion of the previous annual review.

Phase Transfer

Discussions need to begin early in the autumn term the year before to allow plenty of time for the process to happen. The SEN team usually attend the meeting.

Deadlines for Annual Review completion for Phase Transfer:

Secondary to Post-16 = 31st March
Any other transfer = 15th February
Post-16 to Post-16 = 5 months before date of the transfer

Early/Interim Reviews

You can request an early/interim Annual Review if there are problems with the education your child is receiving and/or the content of their EHCP. You would need to make this request to the Local Authority in writing.

We have a template letter that you can use for this purpose here. 

Ongoing Appeals

If you are in the midst of an ongoing appeal relating to the EHCP, your child’s SEN etc. then the LA is still required to carry out the Annual Review. This could be a useful way of seeking agreement on the issues in the appeal. 

Annual Review Timeline

The Annual Review Process

Step 1

Advice & Information

Step 2

Notice of the Meeting

Step 3

The Review Meeting

Step 4

The Annual Review Report

Step 5

The Decision/ Outcome

Read on to find out more details about what should happen
during the 5 key stages of the Annual Review process,
and how you can be involved with these.

Step 1 - Advice & Information

Information must be gathered about the EHC plan and then circulated two weeks before the meeting.

The person arranging the review meeting must obtain advice and information about the child or young person from –

  • The child’s parent or the young person
  • Provider of early years education, head teacher/principal of the school, post 16 or other institution
  • The LA’s SEND officer
  • Health care professionals
  • Social care team

Paragraph 9.168 of the SEND Code of Practice 2015 (Statutory Guidance):

“Reviews must be undertaken in partnership with the child and their parent or the young person, and must take account of their views, wishes and feelings, including their right to request a Personal Budget.”

How you can be involved:

What to think about when preparing your views:

  • What progress has your child made towards the outcomes in their plan?

  • If your child has not made progress in some areas, what do you think needs to change? Are new strategies of support needed, or perhaps some new advice?

  • Is the learning setting still appropriate?

  • Have there been any new assessments or observations?

  • Have any new needs been identified?

  • Have any of the outcomes been achieved?

Step 2 - Notice of the Meeting

Invitations to the meeting are sent together with copies of the advice/information obtained. At least 2 weeks notice must be given to all invitees.

If at School – The LA can require head teacher/principal to hold the meeting
If at Early Years/FE College – The LA can request, but not require them to hold it

The following must be invited to the meeting –

  • Child’s parent or the young person
  • Provider of early years education, head teacher/principal
    of the school, post 16 or other institution
  • The LA’s SEND officer
  • Health care professionals
  • Social care team

*There is no legal requirement on any party to attend the meeting*

How you can be involved:

  • Ensure/follow up that you receive all documents at least two weeks before the meeting

  • Put the meeting date in your diary, calendars, phone reminders etc.

  • Check who will be/plans on attending

  • Check the documents that are being circulated – do they accurately reflect your child?

  • If you have any queries with the reports/information, then ask for them to be amended before the meeting

Step 3 - The Meeting

An annual review meeting must take place to discuss the EHC plan.

  • This should consider the advice and information provided
  • This will review progress towards achieving outcomes and what changes might be needed
  • In year 9 and beyond, it must consider what provision is required in preparation for adulthood and independent living – look at chapters 8 and 9 of the SEND Code for further information.

SEND Code of Practice 2015 : Paragraphs 9.166-7:

The main purpose of the Annual Review is to review the child’s progress towards achieving the outcomes specified in their EHC Plan. The Annual Review should consider the continuing appropriateness of the EHCP in light of:

  • Progress over the previous year
  • Effectiveness of provisions
  • Changed circumstances
  • Whether changes to the following are required –
    – Outcomes
    – Enhanced provision
    – Education establishment
    – Discontinuing the plan

The Review should also set new interim targets for the coming year.

How you can be involved:

  • List the points you want to make in advance

  • Bring a supporter who can check that you cover all your points and to take notes for you

  • If something is sprung on you unexpectedly, you can cite the law and request to adjourn the meeting

  • Ask others at the meeting to agree with you on key points – this could be built into a reasonable request for more/right support from views being accurately recorded

  • You also have the right to request a personal budget during the annual review process. It gives families greater choice and control of provision in an EHCP. You can find out more about what can be included in a Personal Budget in paragraphs 9.110 – 9.118 of the SEND Code of Practice.

Step 4 - The Annual Review Report

After the meeting, a report of what happened must be prepared and circulated to everyone who attended or submitted information to be discussed.

This must –

  • Be prepared by the Head Teacher/LA depending on placement
  • Be sent within 2 weeks of the meeting
  • Set out recommendations such as changes to the EHC plan
  • Set out any differences between those attending the meeting
  • Include copies of the advice and information

How you can be involved:

  • Check that the report accurately represents what happened in the meeting, stating your views, as well as other attendees views

  • If you disagree with anything in the report, then you should write to the LA without delay (and within 4 weeks of the meeting)

  • Keep a copy of the report for your records

Step 5 - The Decision/Outcome

The LA can make one of three decisions: not to change the EHC plan, to amend the EHC plan, or cease to maintain the EHC plan.

  • The LA reviews the EHC plan in light of the Annual Review report.
  • The LA must notify the parent and education provider of their decision with their reasons within 4 weeks of the meeting. 
  • The decision completes the Annual Review.
  • If the Local Authority doesn’t confirm its decision in writing – this will frustrate your right of appeal.
  • Completion of all steps in the review must take place within 12 months of the date the EHC plan was first issued or completion of the previous annual review (Section 44 CAFA 2014).

Decision 1 - Not to Amend

This means that the EHCP remains exactly the same for the next year.

If you agree with the decision

Continue to monitor your child’s progress in light of the EHCP and keep an eye out for any changes that may be needed in future.

If you disagree with decision

You should lodge an appeal with the SEND Tribunal. If after the Annual Review meeting you decided that you want to propose amendments and/or a different placement, you can still appeal for this.

Decision 2 - Amend

This means that the EHCP will be changed to reflect the current needs.

  1. The LA should start the process of amendment ‘without delay’, meaning there is no time limit for this.

  2. You will be sent the original EHCP plus the proposed amendments. You will then have 15 calendar days to respond/comment and request a particular school. You can request a meeting with the LA to discuss the proposed changes.

  3. Within 8 weeks of sending the proposed amendments, the LA must issue a final amended EHCP, or let you know they have decided not to amend the plan after all. Amendments must be incorporated into the EHC plan to become statute.

  4. The right of appeal will only arise when the new EHC plan is finalised.

If you agree with the decision

If you are happy with the final amended EHCP, remember to check for specificity
in the wording to ensure you are getting what you expect, and monitor your child’s
progress in light of the new EHCP content.

If you disagree with the decision

If you disagree with the amendments or don’t think the EHCP needs amending
at all, you should lodge an appeal to the SEND Tribunal. 

Decision 3 - Cease

This means that the EHCP will be terminated and all special provisions will end.

  • The LA must inform the parent/young person and head teacher of the placement, if they are considering cease to maintain. They must consult them.
  • After consultation, the LA must notify the parent/young person, education placement, and responsible commissioning body if they decide to cease.
  • The EHCP remains in place until the end of the time limit in which to appeal. 

If you agree with the decision

Reflect on the achievement of outcomes that were in the EHCP. Continue to monitor your child’s progress and focus on their preparation for adulthood.

If you disagree with the decision

You should lodge an appeal with the SEND Tribunal if you want to keep the EHC plan in place. With this, you can also appeal for changes to be made in the EHCP.

Further Information on Annual Reviews

  • IPSEA Annual Review checklist– use this to check whether the necessary steps are being followed in your Annual Review.
  • Reading the relevant legislation in:
    Children and Families Act 2014 (Section 44-47)
    SEND Code of Practice 2015 (Paragraphs 9.153-9.210)
    SEN Regulations 2014 (15-31)
  • Getting in touch with your local SENDIASS and reading our factsheets
  • Other organisations such as IPSEA, Contact & the Council for Disabled Children

Annual Reviews Resource

You can find all this information in our downloadable Annual Reviews resource from our parent training programme here.

Find out more about EHCPs

Resolving issues & Appeals

Are there problems with your EHCP and/or the process? Find out how to resolve these here

Content of an EHC Plan

Find out everything about what an EHC Plan looks like and what must be included


Do you have concerns over the money side of things? Find out more about funding for children with EHCPs here

Skip to content