Education, health and care (EHC) plans should be used to actively monitor children's and young people's progress towards their outcomes and longer term aspirations.
They must be reviewed by the local authority a minimum of every twelve months. These reviews must focus on the child and young person's progress towards achieving the outcomes specified in their plan. The review must also consider whether these outcomes and supporting targets remain appropriate.
The review process
There are 3 stages to the review process (stages 1 and 2 are normally carried by the educational establishment on behalf of the local authority).
- Gathering of information
- Review 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.
- Review of the special educational provision made and the impact this has had on access to teaching and learning and progress. This could include the need to obtain additional professional advice or reports.
- Review of the health and social care provision made and its effectiveness to ensuring good progress towards outcomes. This could include the need to obtain additional professional advice or report.
- Annual review meeting
The meeting convener must give at least two weeks' notice of the meeting to relevant attendees. These should include:
- the child's parents or the young person
- a representative of the school or institution attended
- a local authority SEN officer
- a health service representative
- a local authority social care representative
and any other individuals relevant to the review
Information gathered in anticipation of the annual review should be issued to all invitees. If professionals are unable to attend the meeting they should have submitted a report.
The meeting must:
- Focus on the child or young person's progress to achieving the outcomes specified in the EHC plan, and on what changes might be needed to the support provided to help them achieve those outcomes or whether changes are needed to the outcomes themselves.
- Involve the child and their parent or the young person and any relevant professional as agreed. Children and parents should be supported to fully engage in the review meeting.
- Consider the continuing appropriateness of the EHC plan in the light of the child or young person's progress during the previous year or changed circumstances.
- Consider whether changes are required, including any changes to outcomes, enhanced provision, change of educational establishment or whether the EHC plan should be discontinued.
- Set new interim targets for the coming year.
- Where appropriate agree new outcomes.
A full report from the annual review meeting should be sent to the parent or young person and local authority within 2 weeks of the date of the meeting and must set out recommendations on any amendments required to the EHC plan. Following an annual review parents may request a personal budget to meet specific outcomes form the plan.
- Local authority review and decisions
Within 4 weeks of the review meeting the local authority must decide whether it proposes to keep the plan as it is, amend the plan or cease to maintain the plan and notify the child's parent or the young person and the educational establishment.
If it is agreed that the plan needs to be amended, the local authority will start this process without delay. If the local authority decides not to make the recommended amendments to the plan or decides to cease the plan, the child's parent or the young person will be given information on their right to appeal and the time limits for doing so and the requirements to consider mediation intervention.
In Northamptonshire, educational establishments convene and hold the review meetings on behalf of the local authority (as listed in section 9.78 of the Code of Practice 2014):
- maintained schools
- maintained nursery schools
- academy schools
- alternative provision academies
- pupil referral units
- non-maintained special schools
- independent educational institutions approved under
section 41 of the children and families act.
For other educational establishments not included above, the local authority works with the establishment to ensure that the review process is completed. This would normally be held by the educational institution.
Reviews where a child or young person does not attend a school or educational institution
Annual reviews for these children and young people are convened and held by a local authority representative. The meetings themselves will be held at a venue agreed with the parent or the young person and the local authority. The process is as described above.
Transfer between phases of education
An EHC plan must be reviewed and amended in sufficient time prior to a child or young person moving between key phases of education to allow for planning for and where necessary commissioning of support and provision at the new institution.
Key transfers to be completed by 15 February of the calendar year of the transfer are:
- early years provider to school
- infant school to junior school
- primary school to middle school
- primary school to secondary school
- middle school to secondary school
For young people moving from secondary school to a post-16 institution or apprenticeship the review and any amendments to the EHC plan must be completed by 31 March in the calendar year of the transfer.
Preparing for adulthood reviews
All reviews taking place from year 9 at the latest and onwards must include a focus on preparing for adulthood including employment, independent living and participation in society. This transition planning must be built into the EHC plan and where relevant should include effective planning for young people moving from children to adult health and care services. It is particularly important in these reviews to seek and record the views, wishes and feelings of the child or young person.
The review meeting organiser should invite representatives of post 16 institutions particularly where the young person has expressed a desire to attend a specific institution. Review meetings taking place in year 9 should focus on considering options and choices for the next phase of education.
As the young person is nearing the end of their time in formal education, and the plan is likely to be ceased within the next 12 months, the annual review should consider good exit planning. Support, provision and outcomes should be agreed that will ensure the smooth transition to whatever they will be doing next, for example moving to higher education, employment, independent living or adult care.