An Individual Education Plan (IEP) is a written document prepared for a named student. Specifies the learning goals that are to be achieved by the student over a set period of time (usually one year) and the teaching strategies, resources and supports necessary to achieve those goals.

An IEP may usefully be thought of as a product. However, there is also a process involved in developing the plan and it is the quality of this process that determines the quality and effectiveness of the Plan. The Individual Education Plan is developed through a collaborative process involving the school, parents, the student (where appropriate) Enable Ireland Therapeutic staff and other relevant personnel or agencies. It refers to the adapted or modified aspects of the educational programme and focuses on priority learning needs, although the student may also have other learning needs that will not require the same intensive degree of planning and monitoring.

Not every aspect of the curriculum and school life needs to be modified for every student with special educational needs – only those areas of identified need arising from assessment should be covered. The amount of adaptation and support will vary according to the individual learning needs of each student. Some students with more complex needs may require significant educational modifications.

In this way the I.E.P. should become a practical, working document.

An IEP should be:

  • a plan of action
  • a tool for communication and collaboration
  • a record of progress
  • a framework for decision making

An IEP should:

  • have a learning element
  • be built on the curriculum the pupil is following
  • make use of programmes, activities and materials which are available
  • be implemented as far as possible in the normal classroom or clinic setting

An IEP should set out:

  • the nature of the pupil’s learning difficulty
  • the special needs provision required such as o staff involved, including the frequency of support
  • external specialists involved, including frequency and timing
  • help from parents at home
  • specific programmes/activities/materials and equipment
  • targets to be achieved in a given time
  • monitoring and assessment arrangements
  • review arrangements and date

Targets are sometimes called behavioural, instructional or performance objectives. They should describe the knowledge, skills or understanding that a pupil is expected to have by the end of a particular time period.

Targets should be SMART:

S Specific (behaviour, conditions, criteria)

M Manageable and measurable

A Achievable and agreed

R Realistic and reviewable

T Time bounded

Targets should include

1. Behaviour: the observable action; what the pupil must do to demonstrate mastery of the task (e.g. "say the alphabet")

2. Conditions: the conditions under which that behaviour is expected to occur (e.g. "given the oral direction, say the alphabet from memory")

3. Criteria for Acceptable Performance: to what extent the pupil will be able to perform the action (e.g. "…in thirty seconds with 100% accuracy")

While Individualised Educational Plans must be personal and specific to each individual pupil’s needs, teaches can use dedicated software such as IEP Writer 2 or IEP Manager, to assist with the preparation of I.E.P.s. Teachers are required to use the same format and conduct a whole school approach.

IEP Formulation

School Administration

The school administration will:

  • Link with the Clinic administrator during January each year and agree dates for October, mindful that IEP/Family meetings are complete before October mid-term break.
  • Book reasonable accommodation in the school building for IEP/Family meetings.
  • Set dates for individual families and liaise with families during June to be finalised before the commencement of summer holidays.
  • In September send out IEP forms to each family, ensure its return and dispersal to the teacher and therapists.
  • Circulate student forms to each class and record returns.
  • During October remind parents by school text of their IEP appointment.
  • Ensure minutes of the meeting are typed, circulated, agreed and finalised.
  • Keep record of final IEP and minutes of meeting.

Teaching staff

The teacher will:

  • Consult each of the pupil’s file taking careful note of previous IEPs, End of year reports, Psychological and other therapists reports and other pertinent documentation.
  • Consult the completed parents IEP form
  • Consult the Student IEP form.
  • Contact the parent by phone and discuss the contents of the both IEP forms.
  • Formulate a draft IEP before the IEP / Family meeting based on the information gained.
  • Attend the IEP Family meeting and present the IEP and lead discussion on recommendations.
  • Amend the IEP as appropriate and forward to school administrator.
  • Request parent’s agreement and signature of the Final IEP document.

The following forms of assessment will be used:

  • Observation
  • Specifically- designed tasks and tests (checklists)
  • Work samples and portfolios
  • Assessments and reports from psychologists, speech therapist, occupational therapist, behaviour therapist,
  • Reports from previous placements and professionals
  • Information from parents/guardians and special needs assistants.

The school designed checklists will be based on the following areas:

1. Communication and Language

2. Physical

3. Multisensory

4. Cognitive

5. Social Skills

6. Science Assessment

These assessments will be carried out by the class teacher at the beginning during and end of each year.


Parents provide a perspective on their children that is different from that of the professionals involved with the child. Parents are the source of vital information about the child’s developmental history. Parents can often provide valuable information about the child’s medical history/requirements, educational history strengths and gifts and emotional and social needs.

Parents are asked to consider:

  • What are your child’s strengths?
  • What are your concerns regarding your child’s education?
  • What were the results of your child’s evaluation?
  • What are your child’s academic, developmental, and functional needs?
  • Is the child’s behavior interfering with her education?
  • Is the child’s education hindered by a limited understanding of the English language?
  • Is the child visually impaired and in need of Braille instruction?
  • Is the child deaf or hearing impaired and needing to develop special communication skills?
  • Is there any special technology that will aid the child’s educational development?

Complete the IEP Parents form in consultation with all members of the family.

Speak with the teacher about your priorities for the coming year.

Therapists and other professionals

The range of professionals consulted in relation to a child’s educational programme may vary as appropriate. The information provided by such professionals may include: information about the child’s medical needs, physical or sensory development, cognitive functioning, emotional and/or behavioural development, speech and language, communication, hearing and/or vision. Information gathered from these professionals can help determine the child’s strengths and needs across a range of functioning.

All therapist involved and working with the child are invited to the IEP meeting and their view and inputs are recorded in the minutes of the meeting.


IEP Process
  • The school secretary will book suitable accommodation in January each year for the following October.
  • In June the school secretary will link with the School Clinic Administrator and draw up a timetable of IEPs for the following October.
  • In September the School Clinic Team Co-ordinator and the Principal will host a Parent’s meeting to explain the IEP process and encourage participation. Pre IEP forms will be distributed at this meeting and sent home with each child.
  • The school secretary will ensure return of IEP forms and distribution to all staff (school and clinic)
  • Teachers will administer child friendly pre IEP forms to parents and students and ensure their return. The school secretary will ensure all staff receive copies of this form.
  • Teachers will phone parents and discuss learning targets based on returned forms. (Parents and Students)
  • Therapist will ring parents and discuss therapy goals with parents based on information supplied in the IEP forms.
  • Teacher will construct DRAFT IEP document
  • Therapists will construct DRAFT Therapy plan
  • Teacher, SNAs, Parents, student and all relevant therapists will attend scheduled meeting and finalize teachers and therapist’s goals.
  • The teacher will write up the IEP and distribute to parents for signing.
  • A copy of the IEP will be lodged with the school Office for storage.
  • Parents are offed a review of the IEP or parent / teacher each February.
  • The IEP process will be reviewed during the May Teacher staff meeting.

The preparation and construction of a pupil’s IEP is an important part of the school year. The school is committed to this resource and will review the process with all parties on an annual basis.