Here one parent gives an overview of the IEP……
An IEP or an Individual Education plan might be something that a school issues for your adopted child. The aim of an IEP is to create a focus on specific targets for a child that may be struggling in some area of their education. My children have both had IEP’s since the first full years at school. I never once considered this inappropriate and have always felt that they have been integral to the progress they’ve made. I think the very positive way in which they have been utilised, and the importance which is placed on these plans in the school, has formed a frame work for the support they gain.
I am also aware that many parents do not always have very positive experiences on how IEP’s are used in school.
Often they are a paper pushing exercises which hold no weight in how the child is supported.
Often they are completed without consulting the parents, further alienating the teacher from those who know the child best. I have attended every IEP meeting ever held about my children and it has only helped to strengthen the relationship I have with school. I know not everyone has a school where the staff are as approachable or supportive so I asked our SENCO to give a brief over view of their IEP procedure. I hope that maybe this will assist some parents in knowing they can expect more and give them the confidence to insist on more.
The IEP (Individual Education Plan) process
We are a large Primary School with additional places funded for children with Statements of SEN.
If a class teacher has a concern about a child in any area of their development they fill in a referral form which goes to the SENCO.
The SENCO will then pass this on to the relevant people in order to access interventions.
A meeting will then be called to determine what action is required.
We generally hold an IEP meeting three times a year.
All those people involved with the child are invited to these meetings, including parents.
Targets are set which are small, achievable and measurable steps.
These are often shared with the children, if relevant, so that they are aware what they are aiming for and can see success when they achieve them.
We usually set about four targets so that there is not too much to work on at once as this can be overwhelming.
Following the meeting a copy of the IEP is sent to all those involved.
If the children continue to cause concern and do not make relevant progress then the school may need to consult outside agencies and the SENCO would be involved in the IEP meetings. All agencies involved are then invited to the meetings.
We also include behaviour agreements as part of the IEP process, if this is needed. This enables us to devise a positive behaviour plan with the child working towards rewards for desired behaviour.
These are shared with all staff coming into contact with that child and work very well to ensure a consistent approach.
Over the years our IEP’s have had a wide variety of targets on them. Usually each IEP will have a combination of behaviour and academic targets here are some examples…
“to learn to use the quiet corner as a place to calm down”
“to take turns with an adult or a child”
“to identify emotions sad, happy, angry or worried”
“to write words along the line of the text book”
“to place Capital letters at the beginning of a sentence and a full stop at the end”
“to create a finger space between words when writing”
“to stop spitting”
On the report the target column is the followed by a column headed “Teaching Programme”. Here the process for achieving this target is outlined. Each target becomes something the teacher will aim to work on with the child, a focus for learning.
I hope this is in some way helpful to those who may feel mystified or unsure of the value of an IEP. Hopefully knowing it can be used in a positive way will help some to ask for more.