What is an Individualised Educational Plan (IEP)?

Children with delays or learning difficulties may require some special educational services in schools. This may include an Individualised educational plan (IEP) which is a plan developed for a specific child during the school year to address his/her individual needs.


Who are involved in the IEP?

To create an effective IEP, parents, teachers, and other professionals — and sometimes even the child — come together to look closely at the child’s unique needs. These individuals pool knowledge and experience to design an educational programme that will help the child progress at school academically and/or socially. The IEP guides the delivery of special education services and the whole process involves rigorous teamwork and home-school collaboration.


The IEP process

The development of an IEP involves needs assessment, identification of goals, planning and documentation. Here’s a sample flow:

What’s in the IEP?

To help decide the necessary support and related services the child needs, here are some of the essential elements in an IEP:

  1. Presenting levels of educational attainment: Observations and results of tests and psychological assessments are presented by teachers, parents, and the school staff who evaluated him/her. Comments will be made about how the child is doing in the classroom, and proceed with identifying some strengths and needs. Besides academic needs, areas such as language development, behaviour, or social skills should be discussed.
  2. Short term and long term goals: This part includes writing up some measurable goals that the child can accomplish in the coming year. Goals are set based on the discussions and documentations, with the focus on the child’s needs and what and how strategies and support from the teaching and support staff as well as parents are to be implemented. Generally, goals will be set upon areas of academic, social, behavioral, self-care and any other educational needs.
  3. Implementation timeline: After setting the goals, there will be an implementation timeline that is generally spread over the year, professionals involved will then work on the goals at the designated timeframe.
  4. Assessment and evaluation criteria: Most schools will conduct two to three IEP meetings with the parents over the school year, including a first meeting at the beginning of the school term, a mid-year evaluation and a final evaluation towards the end of the school term. Assessment and evaluation results will be discussed in the mid-term and final evaluation to track the child’s progress and refine the goals if necessary.