Individualised Educational Plan (IEP)

An Individualised Education Plan (IEP) is for children who require extensive modifications to the curriculum to allow them to access appropriate learning activities. An IEP describes in detail the nature of the child’s or young person’s additional support needs, the ways in which these are met, the learning outcomes to be achieved and specifies what additional support is required. Any specialist agencies involved will be included in the planning stage so that supports and targets can be included.

The process of preparing the IEP is not just about writing a document. It offers opportunities:

  • to help school staff and parents to develop increased knowledge and understanding of a child/young person by learning about him or her in other contexts
  • for parents and professionals to develop joint commitments to working to achieve shared and agreed aims and targets on behalf of the child or young person
  • for parents to develop their understanding of the different agencies working with their child
  • for members of the school team to identify and own their responsibilities to the child/ young person
  • for all involved to monitor, review and evaluate the effectiveness of provision for additional educational support needs

The IEP should detail:

  • the additional support needs and the support that will be provided to meet those needs
  • adaptations to the school curriculum to help the child achieve those targets
  • basic information about the child or young person(name, date of birth, class)
  • brief outline of her/his strengths and needs, with reference to the child planning framework
  • a list of relevant staff involved in supporting the plan (with contact details).
  • It is essential to clarify who will facilitate, co-ordinate and manage the overall process.
  • long term targets, to be reviewed at least once a year
  • Long -term targets will usually be achievable over one school session and be addressed by being broken down into a number of short-term targets.
  • These are usually steps towards meeting each of the long-term targets. They should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timed), and detail, as appropriate, the methodology and resources to be used and the member of staff who will co-ordinate. Review of these does not necessarily require a face to face meeting. A telephone discussion, letter or discussion at parent’s evening is sufficient. What is key is that the child or young person and parents are given an opportunity to comment on progress.
  • IEP implementation date and IEP review date
  • IEPs should be reviewed annually by means of a meeting involving school staff, parents and other professionals. One of the key functions of an annual review is to review the long-term targets for the year just ended and to revise and up-date them as necessary

Wherever possible the child or young person should be involved in identifying and agreeing the targets, and in implementing, monitoring and reviewing the plan. It may not always be appropriate for the child or young person to be involved in a meeting with parents and other adults. However, every effort should be made to ensure that the child/young person has contributed to the targets and goals identified and how these are to be achieved. Their views should always be represented and taken account of and there are various formats that can be used to do this.

Where a pupil is likely to have significant lifelong needs it is imperative to view the IEP as a planning document which coordinates action inside and outside school to develop the child/young person’s social, life and independence skills.