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Individualised Educational Programme - IEP

What is an individualised educational programme?

An individualised educational programme (IEP) is a written document that identifies specific short-term steps or targets to support your child's educational progress and outlines how these targets will be met.

"An IEP provides the planning framework which underpins the teaching and learning process by which a child's special educational needs can be addressed." (Manual of good practice in special educational needs, 1999)

The framework should assist the co-ordination of:

a. assessment information from school staff, parents, pupils and, where appropriate, other agencies;
b. review meetings;
c. action plans.

What is the legal status of an IEP?

Individualised educational programmes are not addressed in legislation. Rather local authorities are being encouraged by the Scottish Executive to develop IEPs for certain children with special educational needs. They are referred to in the Manual of good practice in special educational needs which was issued to all schools in Scotland in 1999.

Who should have IEPs? The Scottish Executive recommend that IEPs are required by children or young persons with special educational needs who require significant and planned support. Therefore, children with a Records of Needs are likely to require an IEP, as well as others who have substantial and long-term input. Virtually all children in a special school or unit, or with a resource centre, will need targets to be set in some areas.

Even if an IEP is not in place teachers monitor progress of individual children and should keep a record of what progress or development needs each child has made. This involves an awareness of a child's special educational needs and how to respond appropriately, eg. by adapting the curriculum according to their needs.

How are IEPs developed?

IEPs should be written in conjunction with all those involved in your child's education - including yourself as parent. Parents should be encouraged to participate at all stages. For instance, you can reinforce lessons or development at home. In this way, you and school staff will be able to work together to give a consistent input to your child's development.

If you are not sure if your child has an IEP, ask the class teacher or head teacher. Not all schools use IEPs at present, although more and more are becoming familiar with them and how they work.

You can offer views about what you think are achievable targets, and whether the targets are focusing on the areas of greatest need. You can also give your opinion about whether you think the targets have been met at the stage of review, and if not, how you think the target should be changed.

Parents and professionals involved should have a copy of the IEP.

Your child should also be aware of and involved in setting and reviewing targets. IEPs should encourage active participation of your child as appropriate to age and maturity. The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 states that children should be actively consulted about matters that affect them, and account taken of their views.

It should be reviewed regularly - at least each school term. At the review stage, staff will consider what progress has been made towards reaching the set targets and will adapt the targets or set new ones depending on progress.

In what areas are targets set?

Targets will be set in areas relating to the curriculum, such as reading, writing and number work. They can also be set in other areas, such as improving behaviour, motor development or communication skills.

Because targets in the IEP relate only to your child, it means that your child's curriculum will be individualised or 'differentiated' according to his or her needs, though your child will still be learning within the framework of the curriculum appropriate to his/her age or stage eg. 5-14 curriculum, Higher Still.

Phone Enquire on 0845 123 2303

Good practice in managing an IEP

Evidence about what works when using IEPs has been gathered over the last few years, and it appears that certain conditions will encourage the progress of your child:

An IEP should provide:

1. a review of strategies and actions;

2. an assessment profile (of strengths and development needs);

3. a summary of educational needs in the areas:
- curriculum provisions (level, adaptations or 'differentiation' materials);
- teaching situations (school and classroom organisation, group size, individual attention);
- teacher skills and methods;
- peer group access/involvement;
- educational staffing;
- aids and equipment;
- therapy requirements (speech and language, physiotherapy etc);
- other medical requirements (medication, nursing, etc).

4. a plan for action and review.

For further information contact:
Enquire, Children in Scotland, Princes House,
5 Shandwick Place, Edinburgh, EH3 4RG.
Helpline no: 0845 123 2303. Tel: 0131 222 2425. Fax: 0131 228 9852
E-mail: - Ecosse ADDers 2005

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