What is an Individual Education Plan?
If you have Special Educational Needs (SEN) then you may also have an individual education plan (IEP) which sets out the kind of support you need to succeed in school. If you get help through School Action or School Action Plus (please see separate documents in this section explaining these terms) then you may well have an IEP.
The Government gives schools guidance about IEPs and says that IEPs should include:
- 3 or 4 goals for you to work towards
- a plan for teachers to help you achieve these goals which should be changed or adapted as you work towards them
- a written record of your progress
- a date to talk to you and your parents about your progress so far
Who writes and looks after my IEP?
Your IEP will be written by a range of people including your teachers and any other specialists involved in planning your education such as educational psychologists or speech and language therapists. The SENCO (see separate document in this section explaining this term) at your school will be responsible for looking after your IEP and has to make sure that all your teachers are aware of the support and help it says you need.
What happens if I have an IEP?
All teachers should organise their lessons to meet the needs of a range of children, including those with special educational needs. Your teachers will need to help you achieve the targets set out in your IEP and will regularly speak to your SENCO to let them know how you are getting on. You should also be given regular periods of time to specifically work towards IEP targets and these should be recorded by your teacher.
The National Autistic Society recommends that schools and other education settings should have clear guidelines that set out:
- who will prepare IEPs
- how the IEP targets will be taught
- how will teach the IEP targets
- how IEPs will be recorded
- how all staff who teach the child will know about their IEP
- how new staff will be told about a child's IEP, including when the child moves school
How will I know if I am achieving my IEP targets?
Your should have the chance to sit down with your teachers and parents at least twice a year to decide how you are getting on with the targets set in your IEP. This is called a ‘review’. The SEN Code of Practice (Government guidance for teachers) says these reviews should happen each term, and for very young children IEPs should be kept continually under review.
The IEP is reviewed to make sure you are happy with the help you are getting at school. If you need more help with anything, for example making friends at playtime, then your IEP will be changed to give you the extra help you need in this area.
The National Autistic Society suggests that when reviewing IEPs teachers should think about the following things:
- How you are doing at school
- What your parents think about your progress
- What you think about your work and your time at school
- Whether the IEP is helping you
- Anything else that makes a difference to how you are getting on at school – for example, are you able to enjoy playtime or after school activities?
- Future action, including changes to your goals or plans
Do I have to have an IEP?
You do not have to have an IEP, even if you have special educational needs. But, if your school has chosen not to prepare an IEP setting out the help you need, then it must be able to show that it is doing something else that works just as well.
The most important thing is that your progress at school is properly recorded, reviewed and assessed at regular intervals to make sure you are achieving your full potential. You and your parents / carers should have a regular opportunity to talk to your teachers about the way you are taught in school, and you should be able to ask for more help in the areas you struggle with, or less help if you feel you are doing well in some areas.
If you feel you need help expressing your views, please see the document in this section about Advocacy.
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The SENCO in your school should be able to help you understand what is in your IEP and should let you read it if you want to know what it contains. If you do not know who the SENCO is at your school, ask one of your teachers or teaching assistants.
The TeacherNet website gives a summary of IEPs and links to key documents such as the SEN Code of Practice and SEN Toolkit for teachers.
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You can read more about IEPs in Chapter 5 of the SEN Code of Practice. This is Government guidance for all education professionals.
SEN: a step-by-step approach This information is aimed at parents but it should help you understand in more detail about the ways your school and parents plan and support your education. It has a specific section about IEPs.
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IEPs as evidence
The IEPs of a 12-year-old boy on the autism spectrum who was excluded from school were important evidence that helped his parents to get him a statement of special educational needs and a new school for their son. The IEPs showed that the boy had failed to meet the targets set to improve his behaviour and social skills since he started at the large comprehensive. The First Tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) agreed with the boy’s parents that the school was unable to provide enough support and ordered a statement.
Pupil participation and planning at West Gate School
All young people at West Gate School in Leicester with communication needs have a communication passport, and one-page profiles are now being developed to replace Individual Education Plans. These profiles are person-centred, and include targets selected on the basis of what is important to the young person, both academically and personally as well as an action plan. The class teacher then regularly reviews the targets and the profile with the student during class time. The action plan will have three key points – What would I like to do? Who is going to help? Have I done it? How will I know?
The actions identified in the one page profile will also be reflected in the annual review. Each young person will also have a pupil profile containing essential information about the young person. Kept in the booklet is a memory stick containing evidence of a young person’s achievements and work. Copies of the young person’s communication passport, where appropriate, one page profile and action plan are also kept on the memory stick, as are videos of the young person engaging in activities, and information about what people like and admire about the young person. The memory stick will replace the record of achievement, and the school is considering ways in which families can contribute, and how it can move on with the young person.
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