The new SEN Code of Practice has not yet been published however, a number of provisions within the SEND Act (NI) 2016 are being phased into the system. Children are now recorded on the new Stages 1,2 & 3 and an Individual Education Plan will now be called a Personal Learning Plan.
If your child has been identified as needing special educational provision and has been placed on the SEN register they will be recorded on new Stage 1 of the Code of Practice. A Personal Learning Plan(PLP) will be written by the school. In the old system this was known as an Individual Learning Plan (IEP).
What is a PLP?
A PLP is a detailed plan that describes the difficulties your child is having and what the school is doing to meet those needs. If your child is to receive help from services outside the school this will also be outlined in the PLP. There is a statutory requirement on the school to create, maintain and review a PLP. The new PLP is a standardised document which will be the same in all schools.
What is included in a good PLP?
The PLP will outline your child’s learning difficulties and/or disability and how it impacts them in school. It should include teaching strategies and resources to be used by the school and external agencies (if relevant) to support your child. The PLP will also include any assessment information about your child that the school holds.
A good PLP will specify the special educational provision that is being put in place for your child. It should clearly identify the resources and strategies. These should be based on your child’s individual needs.
It is important that you have an opportunity to give your view of your child’s strengths and difficulties. The school should inform you that a PLP is being written and ask you what you feel are your child’s priority needs. Wherever possible your child should be asked about their views about how they learn and what targets they would like to achieve for themselves.
The PLP should also say when it will next be reviewed, and what criteria will be used to evaluate whether or not your child has met their targets. The PLP should state whether or not each target set in the previous PLP has been achieved.
Targets on a PLP should be detailed, specific and time-related, not vague or general. Targets should be realistic and provide your child with the opportunity for success and achievement.
Targets on an PLP should be appropriate to the age and level of development of your child and the purpose of the targets should be clear and written in a way that anyone new to your child’s educational background can pick it up and be able to use it.
When you read the PLP ask yourself,
- Do you understand what is being taught and how?
- Is it clear what your child will be able to do when the targets are met?
- Do the targets address the priority areas of need for your child?
- Do you know when the targets will be reviewed?
Some schools will follow the SMART acronym, which means targets should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time limited
S: Specific – targets should be specific and clear so that you know what it is trying to achieve e.g. rather than “J. will improve his reading skills” it would be better as “J. will be able to read a passage, without assistance, from level 2 reading book by the end of the year”
M: Measurable – targets are set in a way that your child’s progress can be measured, for example this could be through test results, observations or standardised tests or screening
A: Achievable – targets should be appropriate to your child’s level of development and within your child’s ability. It is important that your child is kept fully engaged in their learning and that they feel confident about their educational progress and they know they are fully supported.
R: Relevant – targets should reflect your child’s priority needs and tailored specifically for them.
T: Time limited – targets should have specified time limit and should be reviewed. This will allow progress to be monitored at regular intervals. The targets on the PLP and your child’s progress should be reviewed regularly.
|Poorly written target||SMART target|
|J. will improve his reading skills||By end of second term J will be able to read a paragraph from … reading book, Level 2 at 100 wpm with less than 5 errors. This will be assessed every two weeks|
|J. will use a calming strategy when upset||Given a choice of 3 picture cards of a calming strategy J. will independently choose and act upon that strategy 4 times out of 5. These will be recorded by teacher/CA or other relevant adult and assessed every 2 weeks.|
|J. will improve his addition and subtraction skills||J. will be able to use number lines and mental arithmetic to solve problems involving the addition and subtraction of single digit whole numbers. The CA will work with J and will record progress daily|
Keep copies of your child’s PLPs because they will be a source of important evidence should you want to make a case for additional support, or should you need proof that your child is not managing in a mainstream environment and may need a specialist setting.
When a child with SEN is transferring schools, the Board of Governors of the child’s current school is required to seek the consent of the young person or the parent to provide a copy of the PLP to the new school.