The purpose of an EHC plan Annual Review is to ensure that the contents of the EHC plan are still relevant and are helping your child to make progress towards their aspirations and the outcomes in their plan.
The Annual Review is an opportunity to look closely at the plan and make sure it is helping your child to achieve what they would like to be able to do as they get older.
You will be able to propose any changes you would like to see made to their plan, for example with the support that is provided or with the outcomes themselves.
EHC plans should be used to actively monitor children and young people’s progress towards their outcomes and longer term aspirations. They must be reviewed by the local authority as a minimum every 12 months. Reviews must focus on the child or young person’s progress towards achieving the outcomes specified in the EHC plan. The review must also consider whether these outcomes and supporting targets remain appropriate.. (9.166)
EHC plans must be reviewed at least every 12 months, though you can request an early reviewwith the local authority.
Where an EHC plan is amended, the following review must be held within 12 months of the date of issue of the original EHC plan or previous review (not 12 months from the date the amended EHC plan is issued). (SEND Code of Practice 2015 9.197)
The Annual Review and any amendments, including the name of the setting they will attend in September, must be completed by 15 February in that year. For young people moving on from secondary school to further education or training this must be completed by 31 March.
The review process will enable changes to be made to an EHC plan so it remains relevant to the needs of the child or young person and the desired outcomes. There may be occasions when a re-assessment becomes appropriate, particularly when a child or young person’s needs change significantly. (9.186)
(4) (a) Where the local authority carries out a reassessment, it must review the EHC plan within 12 months of the date on which a copy of the finalised plan is sent to the child’s parent or the young person in accordance with the requirements in Regulation 14; and
(b)in each subsequent period of 12 months starting with the date on which the plan was last reviewed.
The Review Process
The Annual Review is more than just a meeting and preparation is key to getting the most out of the process.
Invitations to attend
You or your young person will be invited and given 2 weeks notice to attend the review meeting, usually held at the educational setting.
Other professionals involved across education, health and care services will also be invited to attend and update information about your child, as part of the review. These reviews should be combined with Social care reviews where possible.
Ahead of the meeting you will be asked for your views and those of your child. The school or setting will seek advice and information about your child from all parties invited and circulate any information gathered before the meeting. Think about anyone you would like to invite to either attend the review, or provide any updated information about your child.
It is really important you are able to share your views and participate in the review process. Your child’s wishes and feelings must be taken into account during annual review. Your child or young person might find it difficult to share these, we have some resources and links at the end of this section.
What to think about when preparing for the review meeting:
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?
View the Annual Review forms on the Suffolk Local Offer website:
The review meeting must focus on progress towards the outcomes laid out in the plan, whether they remain appropriate and what changes might be needed.
Interim targets should be reviewed and new targets set for the coming year. You will be able to propose any changes you would like to see made to the plan, for example with the support that is provided or with the outcomes themselves.
After the meeting
Following the meeting the review paperwork will be circulated to you, the local authority and anybody else that attended the meeting, within two weeks. This report must include recommendations on any amendments required to the plan and highlight any areas of disagreement.
You can contact the Family Services Team at the local authority after the meeting, perhaps if you spot something incorrect or missing from the report circulated, or if you have additional information you would like them to consider.
What happens next?
The local authority will then review the paperwork and make one of three decisions:
to leave the plan unchanged
to amend the plan
to cease the plan
An EHC plan will only cease for example, where the outcomes have all been achieved, where the young person does not want to continue in further education or training (will cease if a young person goes to University) or where they are over the age of 25.
They have 4 weeks from the date of the Annual Review meeting to let you know their decision.
If they decide to amend the plan, they should start the process without delay, and within 8 weeks of notifying parents they propose to amend the plan.
Local authorities must ensure that the EHC plan review at Year 9, and every review thereafter, includes a focus on preparing for adulthood. It can be helpful for EHC plan reviews before Year 9 to have this focus too.
Planning must be centred around the individual and explore the child or young person’s aspirations and abilities, what they want to be able to do when they leave post-16 education or training and the support they need to achieve their ambition. (8.9)
It is expected that preparation for adulthood begins from year 9 as part of the Annual Review.
The local authority has to provide support to enable you to plan ahead as your child approaches their 18th birthday, so there are no gaps in services.
Section 58 of The Care Act 2014 places a duty on local authorities to carry out an assessment of a child’s needs where this would be of ‘significant benefit’ to the child, and if it is likely they will have care and support needs when they turn 18.
Preparing for adulthood reviews should include discussion about support with:
further learning, training or employment
planning health services and support to maintain good health
how to take part in society including using transport, help to find activities and with friends and relationships
As part of your child’s Annual Review you could ask for an assessment of their care needs in preparation for adulthood. The local authority can be flexible with the timing of the assessment, and they decide whether and when there is ‘significant benefit’ to assessing needs.
Where a young person has Autism, they have a right to a community care assessment and their parents a right to a carer’s assessment.
The duty lies with the SENCO (or in college with the named SEN person) to build this into ‘preparing for adulthood’ reviews.
Parents, carers and young people have the right to request a personal budget during the Annual Review process.
A personal budget gives families greater choice and control of provision within an EHC plan.
A personal budget for educational provision cannot cover payment for a place at the school or college. A personal budget can include any top-up funding (known as element 3 funding). Read more about funding.
It can include support that is managed by the school or college but only if the Head teacher or Principal agrees.
You can find out more about what can be included in a personal budget in sections 9.110 to 9.118 of the SEND Code of Practice 2015. If you are considering a personal budget talk to your Family Services Co-ordinator.
Sometimes the local authority or health authority may not agree to a personal budget. If the local authority refuses a personal budget for special educational provision it must tell you why. You cannot appeal to the SEND Tribunal about this refusal.
If you have requested a setting to be named and the decision has been delayed, you may wish to request the local authority issue a final EHC plan – to enable your rights to mediation and/or appealing to the SEND Tribunal.
What if I disagree with the Annual Review decision?
If you disagree with a local authority decision to leave the plan unchanged; to amend the plan; (or with the proposed amendments); or to cease the plan following Annual Review you have the options of going to mediation and/or appealing to the SEND Tribunal.
You have two months from the date of the decision letter to make an appeal.
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