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What is a personalised plan for learning and support?

A personalised plan for learning and support is also known as an Individual Education Plan (IEP), and an Individual Learning Plan (ILP). It’s developed for a student with disabilities or complex learning needs. The plan is about access and equity in education and outlines the “reasonable adjustments” that need to be made to provide students with access to teaching, learning and the general education experience. The provision of reasonable adjustments for students with disabilities is mandated by the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Disability Standards for Education which apply across Australia.

In this section:

What's included in a personalised plan for learning and support?

Where does assistive technology fit into a personalised plan for learning and support?

How can parents and caregivers participate in a student’s Personalised Plan for Learning and Support?

What’s included in a personalised plan for learning and support?

A personalised plan for learning and support is likely to focus on some or all of the following, as well as any support and adjustments needed:

  1. academic strategies and progress
  2. communication strategies and progress
  3. physical health and needs
  4. independence skills, including building capacity to study and self-care independently
  5. socialisation skills and peer connection issues
  6. general emotional well being
  7. self-regulation and behaviour skills.

Other things that might be included in a personalised plan for learning and support could include:

Curriculum adjustments

For children with intellectual or cognitive impairment, adjustments could be critical to their participation in the classroom and their academic progress.

Curriculum adjustments are not an alternative program and must not result in students being left in a corner of the class, doing their own separate lesson disengaged from the rest of the class. Instead they are physical adjustments, or interventions which mean the student can learn alongside their peers. Universal Design for Learning is a great framework for including every student in active learning.

Education assistant support

It’s important to ask specific questions about your child’s support.

How often and when is support being provided? If an education or teacher assistant is included, it’s important that the student is included. The relationship between assistant and student is crucial to the plan’s success. Will there be an education or teacher assistant and if so how many and when? Where possible, when exploring aide support it is important that the student be consulted.

Where does assistive technology fit into a personalised plan for learning and support?

The adjustments outlined in the plan may include some forms of assistive technology (AT). It’s important to keep in mind that AT’s role is to assist a student’s learning. It doesn’t replace good teaching, but it can be used in addition to well-designed instruction. AT has been proven to help students with their self-confidence, and independent study. It’s also been shown to help students to:

  1. Work more quickly and more accurately
  2. Navigate classroom routines
  3. Organise their timetables
  4. Work on areas of weakness. For example, a student has reading issues but has good listening skills, text-to-speech tools might be useful.

You can read more about choosing the right tools for your child on our dedicated page.

How can parents and caregivers participate in a student’s Personalised Plan for Learning and Support?

Attend meetings

As someone close to the student, it’s critical that parents and caregivers are present at meetings when a student’s Personalised Plan for Learning and Support, IEP, or ILP to advocate for the student.

Decide on where and how the student will be taught

Parents and caregivers play an important role in decisions about where and how students will be taught. This covers not only which classroom or school your child is placed in, but also which services will be included in the plan. Services can include things like one-on-one sessions with specialists.

Setting goals and objectives

The plan sets out measurable annual goals for students. A parent or caregiver’s input can help define and refine goals so they’re realistic but still ambitious. Annual goals give students and their teachers something concrete to work toward. It’s also a good way of adding some accountability for the school in addressing the needs of the student.

Keeping an eye on services and supports

Students should receive supports and services that are tailored to specific needs. But it’s easy for a busy special education department to apply a “standard” set of supports and services to all students with a certain disability. A parent’s role here is to make sure the plan is designed with the individual student in mind.

Keep reading

Selecting the right tools for students in special education

Learn about tools to support your students in special education.

Special education

Understand what special education is and ways we can help our students with special educational needs.

Special exam arrangements

Discover what exam arrangements are, which students qualify, and how to apply.