SENDIASS - How To Prepare for an EHC Plan's Annual Review
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The Annual Review (AR) is a statutory process that looks at the needs and provision specified in an Education, Health, and Care (EHC) Plan. It tells the local authority if these need to change.
The Children and Families Act 2014 states that your child's EHC Plan must be reviewed at least once a year. If your child is under five, the review must occur every six months. The legal requirements for an Annual Review are set out in Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014. There's also statutory guidance in the SEN and Disability Code of Practice.
What Is the Purpose of the Annual Review?
The Annual Review brings together:
- Your views
- The views of your child or young person
- The views of the local authority
- The views of the school
- The views of any professionals working with your child
The Annual Review must decide whether the outcomes and supporting targets are still appropriate. Together, the team will check your child's progress against the outcomes specified in the EHC Plan (and your child's long-term goals). It will decide whether the EHC Plan should be amended.
The Annual Review will list any targets set for the coming year. It will consider whether any further action is required and (if so) who will be responsible.
What Happens Before the Review?
In preparation for the Annual Review, schools should -
Six Weeks Before:
- Invite professionals and parents
- Request reports from all professionals supporting
- Ask parents and child /young person to update their views (section A)
- Collect school evidence
Four Weeks Before:
- Update sections A, B, C and D
Two Weeks Before, Circulate:
- Updated sections A, B, C and D
- Review/progress towards outcomes
- Professional reports
- The parents' and young person's views
- Attainment and progress data
Preparing for the Annual Review
Preparing for the Annual Review is important because it'll be your chance to ensure that your child's EHC Plan is fit for purpose.
It might be that you are happy, all is going well. It might be that the EHC Plan only needs minor changes to reflect your child's development. It might be that the school can no longer meet your child's needs, and you are looking for another school. Any changes to the EHC Plan must be supported by relevant evidence.
Before the Meeting:
Think about -
Is there anyone you would like to come with you to the meeting or to send in a report? The school or local authority is not obliged to invite anyone you request. However, they must take account of your wishes, views, and feelings (and those of your child / young person).
Do you have any other reports or evidence that you want to send in? Reports might come from private practitioners working with your child. They might also come from people outside the education setting, such as youth club leaders or sports coaches.
How is your child going to be involved in the Annual Review? The local authority has a duty to consult your child. Some children and young people might want to give their views in person and attend all or part of the meeting. Others might find the meeting overwhelming. They might prefer to write or draw their views. They might prefer speaking with a trusted person (one-on-one) instead.
Do you want anyone to go with you to take notes? This could be a partner, friend, or relative. It could also be somebody from the local SENDIASS service or another support organisation.
From Year 9 onwards, Annual Reviews must focus on preparing for adulthood. Transition planning should be built into the EHC Plan. It should include the child or young person's views. Representatives from post-16 organisations (particularly those the young person wants to attend) can attend the meetings. Year 9 meetings should focus on options for the next stage of education.
If the young person is coming to the end of their education (and the EHC Plan is likely to stop in the next 12 months), the Annual Review should focus on exit planning. This will ensure a smooth transition to the next stage of their life.
Gathering Your Views
The local authority or school organising the Annual Review meeting will ask you to send your views in advance. They might send you a form to complete, but you don't have to be limited by this.
Think about the past year and what has gone well (or not so well) in your child's education. Has your child met any targets that were set at their last review? How is your child doing both academically and socially? If there have been any problems at school (such as behaviour, bullying, attendance, or anxiety), describe them as well. If you need to ask any questions about your child's progress or support at school, make a note of these.
You should have received copies of any written reports that professionals have contributed to the Annual Review. Go through all these reports and make a note of anything you would like to discuss at the meeting. Do you agree with the views others have expressed about your child and the support they are receiving? Do the reports make any recommendations for changes to your child's support?
Next, go through your child's EHC Plan carefully. Look closely at sections B, F, and I, along with the outcomes listed in Section E. The Annual Review is your chance to say if you think the EHC Plan is still correct or if any changes need to be made.
Section B - Special Educational Needs
Section B should describe how your child learns and what they can and cannot do. Does it still describe your child as you know them? If not, make a list of what you think should be taken out, changed, or added to this part of the EHC Plan.
Section E - Outcomes
How is your child progressing towards the outcomes set in section E? Do the outcomes need changing because they have been met or are no longer appropriate?
Section F - Special Educational Provision
Section F describes all the extra help your child must get. For example, one-to-one support from a teaching assistant or weekly therapy. Is it clear how much and what kind of help your child must receive? Is it clear how often this help should be given and who should be giving it? Do you think your child's needs have changed in the past year? Do they need more help or a different kind of help?
Section I - Education Placement
Are you happy with the school placement, or should your child attend a different school or college? If so, you can say what you would prefer.
Depending on your child's needs, you may also want to ask for changes to be made to the health or social care sections of the EHC Plan. If that's the case, it's sensible to ask relevant professionals to get involved in the Annual Review.
The Annual Review is also a chance to ask for a Personal Budget if you didn't do this when the EHC Plan was first made.
Gathering the Views of Your Child or Young Person
You should ensure that the young person's views are included in the Annual Review process. They should be allowed to attend meetings and share their views if they wish.
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Last updated 23 February 2024