What is an ILP?
- identifies the personalised adjustments and supports required for a student to access, participate and engage in learning. An adjustment is a measure or action taken to assist a student with disability to participate in education on the same basis as other students.
- includes long term and short-term goals which are developed according to the SMART guidelines – goals which are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely (see below).
- is an ongoing document which is futures- focused and includes goals for relevant transitions between year groups and schools.
A central feature of ILPs is a series of SMART goals. These describe what the student will do, when and how they will do it and what the timeframe will be for achieving it.
SMART goals are:
Specific - the goal is focused and specific to the student. (What do you want the student to achieve?)
Measurable - an appropriate measure is slected to assess the attainment of the goal. (How will you know when the student has reached the hoal? What are the success criteria?)
Achievable/Agreed - the goal is within the student's ability to achieve and the teacher's control to affect change. (What key steps are needed?)
Relevent/Realistic - the goal is important/relevant to the student, reasonable and realistic. (What do you need? Whattime is available? Who will help?)
Timebound/Timely - the goal is contained with a term or semester. (What date will you replect and assess the goal?)
Why would my child need an ILP?
An Individual Learning Plan (ILP) is developed if it has been identified that your child requires additional supports or adjustments to fully engage with and participate in their learning.
A student is required to have an ILP when:
- receiving targeted support (eg: ISP, Hearing/Vision, Specialist school, small group disability programs - LSC, LSU, LSUA)
- they are in care
- at request of parent/carer.
Students may also have an ILP when:
- identified with significant learning difficulties
- they have an EALD background
- identified as Gifted and Talented
- they are experiencing complex and/or challenging circumstances impacting their learning (eg: a young carer).
How is an ILP developed?
An ILP is developed, and reviewed, by those who know and support the child, including the student (when appropriate), parents, key school staff and others as necessary (eg: private therapist).
An initial meeting allows all key people to contribute and together determine appropriate, achievable goals. If parents feel they need support at these meetings, they are welcome to invite a support person. Following the meeting a draft ILP is shared for comment and feedback.
Who is responsible for implementing the ILP?
The ILP goals are implemented by all involved adults as appropriate, across the school day and learning experiences. ILP goals support the student access education and are not subject specific. Some goals will be relevant across all aspects of your child’s life. For example, when there is a communication focussed goal, it will be important to have shared understanding and consistency between all adults across all your child’s environments — home, school, extended family, community access.
How can I track progress?
An ILP is monitored and regularly evaluated and reviewed. At least once a year the review of the ILP will be communicated with you. This may not be as formal a meeting as the initial meeting and may be communicated via email or phone. At any time you may request a meeting with the school team to discuss the ILP.
As ILP goals are measurable the school will have data, assessment and observations to demonstrate your child’s progress against each of the goals.
How can I support my child’s school to develop and implement the ILP?
Developing and implementing an effective and targeted ILP involves a team — all those who know and support your child.
Share with the school:
- your family dreams, hopes and wishes — your long-term goals for your child
- your child’s interests and hobbies
- medical and personal care needs
- how you support your child at home
- others involved supporting you and your child eg: NDIS registered providers.
What if the ILP is not making a difference?
If an ILP is not making a difference the goals need to be reviewed. If you have concerns, request a meeting with your child’s team to explain your concerns and revisit the ILP’s goals. A goal that is not possible to achieve in the short term will lead to frustration and a student potentially disengaging from all learning. It is important for students, parents and teaching teams to experience success through establishing high expectations with short-term goals that are achievable.
What if I am still not happy with my child’s ILP and progress towards their goals?
Talk first with your child’s teacher and the school’s Disability Education Coordinator (DECO). If you continue to have concerns, arrange a time to meet with the school principal.
Jean Walker is the Manager of Disability Education in the ACT Education Directorate’s Student Engagement team.
This article appeared in ParentACTion Magazine, Term 3, 2018.