Understanding the review of your child's education, health and care (EHC) plan
What is a review of an EHC plan?
If your child has an EHC plan, they will have a review at least once a year. This is sometimes known as the annual review.
As a parent or carer it's very important for you to prepare and attend the review meeting to help plan for your child's future. It can feel a bit overwhelming or stressful, but it helps if you think about what you want to say beforehand.
The review is a time to think carefully about:
- how your child is doing; what's going well and what's not
- their long-term aspirations
- their progress towards the outcomes in their EHC plan
- any new information about your child
- if anything is causing you concern
The review is a process and will take place over a period of time. The review includes:
- the time leading up to the review meeting
- the review meeting itself
- the period after the review
Find out more about the timetable for a review process.
Find out about the legal framework for a review of an EHC plan.
The review is when you can ask for changes to the EHC plan
The review is a chance for anyone involved to discuss changes to your child's EHC plan. Plans don't normally need to be changed very often. The change should be significant, for example a new diagnosis, or a change in:
- placement, for example a request for a special school
When is the review of your child's EHC plan?
The review of your child's EHC plan must be:
- at least once a year if your child is over 5 years old, or
- every 6 months if your child is under 5 years old
You want to have a review meeting earlier
You can request a review of your child's EHC plan at any time. You can have more than one review in a year, you don't have to wait until the scheduled one.
You should have a good reason for the request, for example, if you have a particular concern, or you want to ask for your child to move to another school or educational setting. You can discuss this with:
Your child is due to move to another school because of their age
If your child is due to change school or educational setting, the review meeting should take place in the autumn term before they move so that there's enough time for planning and updating the plan.
For example, if your child is in year 6 of primary school, the review meeting must be held in the autumn term before they move to year 7 at secondary school.
Where the review takes place
Most reviews take place at the child or young person's school or educational setting. If your child doesn't attend a setting, the review can be held anywhere, for example, the local Children's Centre, your home or council offices.
Where possible, the review meeting can be combined with other meetings. It's essential there's enough time to review progress towards the outcomes on the EHC plan.
What to expect before the review meeting
Before the meeting your child's school or educational setting will send you some information to help you prepare and know what to expect at the review meeting. It's important that you think about:
- what you want to say
- what's gone well so everyone knows what's working
- what you're worried about
It's important that you're well prepared before the meeting so that discussions can be clear and useful.
If you feel you need support during the review process, speak to:
See the timeline for the review process of an EHC plan.
Who should be at the review
Your child attends the review meeting if possible and their school or educational setting should help them to be there and be as flexible as possible. If your child doesn't feel comfortable attending then their school or educational setting will support them to make sure their views are known in another way.
Your child's wishes about the meeting should be considered as much as possible, for example, your child may:
- prefer not to have many people present at the meeting
- wish to invite a friend or another person
- wish to attend only part of the meeting
- wish to have part of the meeting without you being present; this might feel uncomfortable but it's part of them growing up and taking more responsibility for their future
- prefer to contribute to the meeting in other ways, such as by video
Whether your child attends all, part or none of the review meeting, their contribution helps them participate in decisions about their education and their future. Your child may have very clear and valuable ideas about what they want and what works for them. Even if they don't contribute, it's important for them to know what's being discussed and what's going to happen.
If you're worried about discussing some things in front of your child, you should raise this with the SENCO or class teacher before the review meeting. They can arrange to have part of the meeting without your child being there. You may have to arrange a separate meeting if there isn't enough time to discuss everything.
It's very important that you attend the review meeting so that you can let everyone know what you think and take part in discussions and planning for your child's future.
If it's impossible for you to attend the review meeting, for example, because of work or travel, then the school or educational setting should support you to be able to attend, for example, changing the time.
You can bring a relative, a friend or anyone else who can support you if you want. You can also invite someone from SENDIASS.
The school or educational setting invites professionals to the review meetings, for example
- social worker
- teacher and/or SENCO
- someone from the SEND team
They won't be able to attend all meetings. They should attend if they need to be part of discussions and have something valuable to add. If they can't attend they can provide a written contribution so that everyone has up-to-date information.
You don't have to have every professional who's worked with your child at the meeting and sometimes this may not help the meeting to be focussed or make progress.
What to expect at the review meeting
The review process and meeting are person-centred. This means that we put the child or young person and their family at the centre of the review process. Person-centred reviews have a facilitator. This is normally a member of staff from the educational setting. A facilitator is there to:
- guide the meeting
- make sure everyone's included
- keep everyone on track and focussed
- say when we need to talk about something at another meeting
Everyone at the meeting develops an action plan to address any issues or concerns that people have. The facilitator records the action plan which explains:
- what will happen
- who will do it
- and when it will be done by
It's important to discuss the positives as well as the negatives as this lets everyone know what's going well and what isn't. This helps everyone to:
- decide what support needs to be in place
- understand how to support your child
- understand what everyone needs to work towards
Don't be afraid to celebrate what's going well as this shows the progress your child is making and what support is working. It means that support can be matched to your child's changing needs and progress.
What to expect after the review meeting
The school or educational setting should:
- complete the review form
- provide any additional information gathered during the review process, for example, a new professional report
- provide a copy of the action plan that should show who's responsible for action points and when they have to complete them by
The review form will include any recommendations for changes to the EHC plan. The school or educational setting will send the review form to us, Dorset Council, and to everyone who was invited to the review meeting. This should happen within 2 weeks of the meeting.
When we receive the paperwork, we decide if the EHC plan:
- should remain unchanged
- needs to be amended
- should be ceased (ended). This means the EHC plan will end and we don't have to make sure that the support in the plan is put in place
We won't end the plan just because your child's making progress. They may be making progress only because of the level of support they're getting and this needs to continue.
We'll only end the plan if your child has done so well they don't need the additional support from their EHC plan any more. Their school or educational setting will continue to review and meet their needs to make sure your child's progress continues.
We must let you know our decision within 4 weeks of the review meeting. When we tell you the decision, we'll also let you know your rights of appeal.