Your child’s plan is a very important tool for planning your child’s education and supports, and reviewing their progress over the course of their schooling.
On this page:
- Your child’s plan – a ‘living’ document
- Who should contribute?
- Linking to the curriculum
- Identifying strategies and resources
- Additional plans for different areas of need
- Designing and communicating the plan
- Reviewing and updating the plan
Your child’s plan – a ‘living’ document
Your child’s Individual Learning and Support Plan should document your child’s additional needs and learning goals, and the strategies and resources required to help your child to meet them.
These could include, for example:
- adjustments to the curriculum or classroom
- training for teachers and other staff
- storage of medical and care supplies
- support from education support staff
- referrals to DET specialist staff, such as speech therapists or psychologist (the school needs your written permission to make a referral), and
- specialist equipment or modifications to school facilities.
In Victorian government schools, all students on the PSD must have a Student Support Group and a plan. However, any student with a disability or additional needs can benefit from these processes. If your child does not have these in place, you can ask for them. You can get support to do this from an advocacy organization like ACD, or from the regional DET office.
The plan is developed by the Student Support Group and implemented by your child’s school and others. It evolves as the goals set for your child are achieved or modified. Your child’s plan is a tool – a ‘living’ document. The SSG and the staff involved with your child at school should refer to it regularly, and adjust it as needed.
“The things that I have found have really helped have been open-mindedness from the team leader [and] a willingness to understand my son. I’m not there for the teacher to vent [about my son’s behaviour]. I’m not there to hold the teacher’s hand and do their job. I am there to help work with them, and help them understand my child.
So obviously doing that [means] understanding him, not writing him off. Understanding he has potential. Trying to tap into that. Allowing him, in his way of learning, to get that opportunity to achieve. And then you might actually start to get some results. Don’t just keep putting out the rules: ‘Your child needs to do A, B, C, D and E,’ and that’s the end of the story.
Well, how do you get him to A? And then how do you walk him through to B? And maybe by the time you get to C he can start walking on his own to D and E … when it has worked, that’s what they’ve done.
Another thing that’s been really important for me is email contact with some of the teachers. Some are quite happy to do that. Others won’t even respond. It’s been mostly the English teachers that are quite happy to correspond, and are more willing to have empathy and understanding for who he is, and what Aspergers means for him. That’s good, because English is what he does struggle with.” – Megan
Who should contribute?
Your child has the right to participate in all school activities, including extracurricular activities, and their plan should support this. For this reason, it’s important to involve specialist teachers (in primary school, such as the librarian, and the art, music, LOTE and sports teachers) and all subject teachers (in secondary school) in the planning process. Teachers can attend be invited to attend an SSG meeting or another meeting to discuss your child’s learning, or at the very least be asked to have input into the plan.
As your child’s parent or carer, and as a member of your child’s SSG, your role is critical. You know your child better than anyone else, and can therefore help other members of the SSG to understand your child’s strengths and needs.
Planning should be also informed by your child’s views and interests. You might be able to ask your child what they would like you to raise or convey at an upcoming meeting. When your child is older, if appropriate, they can attend meetings, to help set their own learning goals, and discuss their progress and support needs.
- Understanding your child as a learner
- Helping your child learn through their passions and interests
- Supporting your child’s voice
Linking to the curriculum
A key purpose of an Individual Learning and Support Plan is to link your child’s specific learning needs to the curriculum. Teachers are responsible for planning and implementing the curriculum for all students. Your child’s plan should include learning goals linked to the curriculum, and an assessment of your child’s needs and strengths.
- Your child’s strengths and learning goals
- Resources to support planning, assessment and adjustments to the curriculum
Identifying strategies and resources
Your child’s plan should outline a range of strategies to achieve each goal. This can include strategies to be implemented in the classroom, at home, in therapy and in other contexts. For each goal, the plan should describe what will be done to work towards the goal, who will do that work, and when it will be done.
The plan should also identify what resources – funded or otherwise – will be needed to achieve the goal, and how these will be used. The SSG then makes recommendations to the school principal about your child’s needs, and the resources needed to achieve them. The principal is responsible for all decisions that impact on school funding. Your child’s supports should not depend on the level of funding your child’s school receives, for example if your child is on the PSD. However, you have the right to ask the school for information about how the school is spending funds it receives (for example through the PSD) to help support your child.
- If you are concerned about funding issues, you can raise a concern.
Additional plans for different areas of need
If your child has significant needs in the areas of safety, medical care, personal care or behavioural support, the SSG should develop a specific written plan to address each of those areas.
These documents ‘support’ your child’s Individual Learning and Support Plan. That is, the overall plan is a summary of your child’s needs, while the other plans provide greater detail about your child’s needs in a particular area, and the strategies and resources needed to address them.
Examples of health care plans include asthma, anaphylaxis or epilepsy care plans. These are often developed in consultation with a doctor or therapist and must be done with input and written permission from you. Make sure you complete any necessary forms and keep the school up to date with any changes to medication and care plans.
- Find out more about support for your child’s personal or medical care needs, including programs such as SchoolCare for students with complex medical needs.
- Learn more about school approaches to challenging student behaviour, and examples of adjustments to support positive behaviour.
If your child is Aboriginal, the school should also develop a plan that addresses their own and their family’s cultural needs, and how the school will work to ensure that their teaching practices and supports are culturally responsive. A Koorie Education Support Officer (KESO) from your local DET regional office can help.
- For more information read Rock Solid, our resource for Aboriginal families.
Designing and communicating the plan
There is no one-size-fits-all template for designing the perfect Individual Learning and Support Plan. The plan will depend on your child’s needs and must be flexible enough to allow for changes.
Your child’s school might have their own Individual Learning and Support Plan format or template that they like to use. This should only be used as a base for detailed discussion of your child’s individual needs and goals, and the range of strategies that you, the school and the others involved with your child will implement, to help achieve them. Use of a template should never result in a ‘tick-the-box’ or one size fits all approach to planning or support.
The SSG should also discuss how best to communicate the plan to all of your child’s teachers and other relevant staff, so that everyone involved with your child is consistent in their approach and strategies.
Reviewing and updating the plan
Your child’s Individual Learning and Support Plan should be updated by the Student Support Group as needed and following any assessments or reviews of your child’s progress. Progress towards the learning goals in your child’s plan should be monitored, and the goals modified as needed, or new goals set.
For more information, see Planning for Personalised Learning and Support: a National Resource.