1.1 NAG 1.1 Individual Education Plans Based on the Key Competencies

Updated: 9.8.2018

P & P No: 1.1

Important Note: This document is currently being reworked extensively, please see the Curriculum Leader for more information.


It is important that as a school, we “…should recognize that as all students are individuals, their learning may call for different approaches, different resourcing and different learning intentions…” (NZC p 39)

Each individual student has an Individual Education Plan, which is structured around strands based on students needs within the Key Competencies. Each strand has a learning intention, written in such a way as to show the intention of the strand, and to reflect the fact that we want our students to be lifelong learners.

The strands form the basis for the organization of the IEP Format:

  • Thinking: students are increasingly able to make sense of, and manipulate, the world around them
  • Relating to others: students are increasingly able to form mutually fulfilling relationships with those around them
  • Using language, symbols and text: students are increasingly able to understand and be understood
  • Managing self: students are increasingly able to make sense of their own emotions and activities
  • Participating and contributing: students are increasingly able to lead an active life in the community.

There is an expectation that an individual learning intention be set in at least three of the strands for each child. It is important to resist the temptation to set a multitude of learning intentions in a multitude of the competencies. Time and personnel restraints mean it is not possible to do justice to a raft of learning intentions, no matter how good they are, and how great the student’s needs are. Careful prioritizing with the IEP team and consideration of the focused teaching required to move the student on will be important when looking at IEP learning intentions.

The NZC says about the Key Competencies:
“Capabilities for living and lifelong learning

The New Zealand Curriculum identifies five key competencies:

  • thinking
  • using language, symbols, and texts
  • managing self
  • relating to others
  • participating and contributing.

People use these competencies to live, learn, work, and contribute as active members of their communities. More complex than skills, the competencies draw also on knowledge, attitudes, and values in ways that lead to action. They are not separate or stand-alone. They are the key to learning in every learning area.

The development of the competencies is both an end in itself (a learning intention) and the means by which other ends are achieved. Successful learners make use of the competencies in combination with all the other resources available to them. These include personal learning intentions, other people, community knowledge and values, cultural tools (language, symbols, and texts), and the knowledge and skills found in different learning areas. As they develop the competencies, successful learners are also motivated to use them, recognising when and how to do so and why.

Opportunities to develop the competencies occur in social contexts. People adopt and adapt practices that they see used and valued by those closest to them, and they make these practices part of their own identity and expertise.

The competencies continue to develop over time, shaped by interactions with people, places, ideas, and things. Students need to be challenged and supported to develop them in contexts that are increasingly wide-ranging and complex.”

What is an Individual Education Plan?
An individual education plan is a plan developed for an individual to move them to a specific learning intention or learning intentions. Students with special educational needs must by law have an IEP, a planned pathway of steps that lead towards a specified outcome, along with adaptations that allow the student to access the curriculum.

The document where the learning intentions set at the IEP meeting are written down, along with teaching ideas, responsibilities etc, and which is then signed by both parent and caregiver sign to show agreement, is also called an IEP

What it is:

  • Tool for collaborative planning between the school, the parents/caregivers, the student (where appropriate) and other agencies as necessary
  • Effective means of identifying and prioritising learning outcomes
  • Consensus agreement on the student’s current learning and development focus
  • Statement of learning objectives
  • Concise and usable summary of the student’s educational programme
  • Summary of teaching strategies, and related resources for curriculum areas and essential skills
  • Commitment to supporting the student to achieve identified learning intentions
  • Tool for tracking individual student learning in terms of agreed learning intentions and objectives
  • Element in reviewing the effectiveness of the teaching and support programme
  • Support for those with less experience in working with students with special needs
  • Record of the relationship between any support services being provided and the student’s educational programme
  • Method to promote effective partnerships between the student and all those involved with them.

What it is not:

  • Document commissioned from an `expert’
  • Exhaustive list of learning objectives, activities, teaching strategies and resources covering every curriculum area and all essential skills
  • List of instructional procedures, ie “The student will read five books at Red Level”
  • Lengthy meeting and enormous report
  • Guarantee of $ or specific hours of services; a resource `shopping list’
  • Tool to examine only the student’s progress
  • ‘How to’ of teaching strategies
  • Excuse for `case conferences’attended by hordes of professionals
  • Disempowering, daunting and distressing experience for families.

The IEP Process—a cycle

The IEP process is the process by which a team of people work together to improve educational outcomes for s student with special educational needs. This team sets learning intentions, implements these, evaluates progress and sets further learning intentions. This is a cyclic process that consists of a number of steps, shown below. The process is completed at least twice a year.

  1. Gather information: The IEP cycle is informed by individual student’s base line data i.e where they are sitting on the NZC, whether this is Level 2 or Expanded Level One, Fuel 2, for Oral Language. Next steps learning can be ideantified with the same matrices
  2. First IEP meeting: The IEP Team meets and agrees on up to 5 learning intentions set in the five key competencies. The team also agrees to achievement stages and programme details
  3. Write a plan (IEP):Use Form 1.1 Individual Education Plan. The Team should develop written explanations of what student achievement looks like in the form of next steps learning. This helps to develop a better undrstanding of the learning intentions.
  4. Design a programme: The learning intention, agreed next steps learning and details of the programme are recorded on Form 1.2 IEP Goal Monitoring, which should be writen in such a way that all staff are able to follow the programme with consistency.
  5. Implement programme: Monitoring sheets track individual’s progress against each learning intention and the associated goals.
  6. Review and evaluate: Use Form 1.3 School Report to report on student achievement over the whole IEP cycle

Ministry of Education IEP Guidelines

  • A comprehensive set of IEP guidelines can be found on the Ministry’s website
  • It is recommended that staff familiarize themselves with this document, as it contains a great deal of very useful and valuable advice and information
  • The table above is taken from this website
  • The guidelines that follow focus on the documentation that is required by Arahunga as part of the IEP process, rather than how to arrange meetings and write IEP’s

Key components in an IEP

Each stage of ‘Teaching as Inquiry’ has a component that needs to be present in an IEP. It is our job to use the format of the schools we work with but to ensure the key components are present in all IEPs.

It is important that student success is recorded as the base from which we can build.

Focusing inquiry

  • What is the student’s base line?
  • What are they able to do now?
  • This information can be recorded as student success. (Student success is a key component.)

Teaching inquiry

  • What are the learning intentions?
  • What approaches/strategies will be used to teach this?
  • How will this be taught?
  • When will it be taught?
  • Who will teach and monitor progress? (The learning intention is a key component.)

Learning Inquiry

  • What are the next steps in learning?
  • These can be set out as sequential goals or in the past as phases, emerging, consolidating, achieved. (Next steps in learning, is a key component.)

The lay out and style of an IEP is determined by the schools we support. It is our job to ensure the IEP is student focused and aligned to the NZC both in learning areas and pedagogy.

IEP Meetings


These meetings provide a forum for discussions of future options, successes, areas for further development and suitable learning intentions, short term and long term, for individual students
are an opportunity for the Team to develop a consensus about what learning intentions are important for the student, and what achievement looks like

Scheduling IEP Meetings:

  • Meetings must be held at least twice a year, but can be held more often if requested
  • Please refer to the Ministry of Education IEP guidelines for advice on scheduling meetings.
  • Meetings may need to be scheduled a long way in advance in order to enable GSE specialists to attend meetings
  • When ever possible, parents/caregivers should be offered the choice of meeting venue and time.
  • They should also be informed that they can have a support person with them at the meeting.
  • They may also wish to invite other family members or family friends, or respite carers to these meetings. It may be helpful if school is able to assist with care provision for younger siblings.
  • It is important that parents/caregivers feel comfortable in participating in the meeting as equal partners.

Preparation for IEP Meetings:

It is important to be well prepared for IEP meetings, as this is one of the few times when the whole team is able to be together. As teachers, we are very important members of the team, and are charged with the major part of the responsibility for the achievement of the IEP learning intentions.

Preparation for an IEP meeting will include:

  • Reviewing and evaluating the last IEP (done when preparing Form 1.3 School Report), and
  • Gathering information to assist with setting new learning intentions
  • Information that will assist with the formation of new learning intentions will include up-dated specialist reports, and curriculum assessment data

Guidelines for Individual Education Plan Meetings

Individual Education Plan meetings:

  • should be held in Term 1 and Term 3
  • are attended by people who are involved in the life of the child
  • are usually attended by parents and/or caregivers, the class teacher(s)
  • should involve the attendance of specialists who have an input into the particular student’s programme, including the PLANS coordinator for older students in transition from school to work or tertiary study
  • usually take place twice a year, but can be called more often if an individual student requires this
  • are an opportunity to focus on areas of strength and special talents, as well as areas of need
  • are an opportunity for collaboratively setting learning intentions
  • Please refer to the Ministry of Education IEP guidelines for advice on scheduling and running meetings

Individual Education Plans:


  • provide a format for recording student progress from one IEP meeting to the next
  • Provide a format for individual barriers to learning to be addressed by the formation of suitable learning intentions
  • provide a record of discussions that have taken place at a meeting of people concerned with the student’s educational programme
  • record future options, successes, areas for future development and long term goals, as well as suitable learning intentions for individual students as discussed at the meeting
  • record suggested strategies to develop areas of strength and special talents

Guidelines for Writing Individual Education Plans:

  • Use school IEP format Form 1.1 Individual Education Plan unless there is a clear reason for using another format. Other formats should be discussed with senior management
  • Please refer to the Ministry of Education Guidelines for assistance in setting learning intentions etc
  • A learning intention should be selected from at least three of the five Key Competency area.
  • Where possible student’s programmes are based on specialists recommendations
  • All learning intentions should be accompanied by next steps learning
  • Learning intentions are to be written in the first person, using the personal pronoun “I..” rather than in the third person, using the student’s name i.e. “I will be able to write my name unassisted” rather than “Fred will be able to write his name unassisted
  • Be specific about assessment procedures, tracking and data collection for each learning intention
  • Be specific about who is responsible for each learning intention – some learning intentions may be worked on by family members
  • There is a space on the IEP to record the student’s current level in both literacy and numeracy
  • Management Team members are available to help staff with the writing of IEP’s if requested
  • IEP’s must be checked by a member of the Management Team (James, Megan & Lindy for satellite IEP’s; ) and then signed by the Principal before being sent out for signing
  • An IEP must be signed by the Principal, the Parent/caregiver and the Teacher. Students should also sign if they attended the meeting, and this is appropriate
  • No IEP is to be sent out for signing until it has been signed by the Principal

Distribution of Signed IEP’s


  • It is the responsibility of the teacher in charge of the class to distribute copies of the signed IEP
  • The original copy of the IEP is held on the student’s office file
  • Please put the original into your “ Documentation for Filing” folder so it can be ticked off before it is filed
  • The following people should also be given a copy of the IEP
  • All of those present at the IEP meeting
  • All of those who tendered their apologies as they were unable to attend
  • All specialists involved with the student
  • Agencies directly involved with the student, such as IDEA
  • GSE staff who are involved with the student, such as key workers, RTLB, SLT, Behaviour Support
  • Advisors who support the students programme such as the SRC (Sensory Resource Centre),
  • ATDC (Advisor to Deaf Children), STOP councillors, Tautoko Services
  • The Correspondence School if students are supported by the Special Education Itinerant Service and are dual enrolled, or home schooled with TCS

Planning and Implementing programmes to address IEP Learning intentions


  • to ensure that learning intentions are achieved
  • to ensure that learning activities are targeted and effective


The implementation of individual programmes requires the teaching staff to:

  • fine tune and monitor the programmes set up
  • teach the student
  • troubleshoot
  • keep records
  • collect data
  • assess student achievement
  • Ensuring a student makes progress and achieves his IEP learning intentions requires careful planning, targeted teaching, and many opportunities to use these skills in a functional way .

After the IEP meeting has been held, and the document written, the class teacher needs to:

  • devise teaching strategies
  • identify opportunities for targeted teaching (see the section on “Effective Pedagogy – Educational Matrices” )
  • modify materials
  • identify resources
  • enlist appropriate support, and allocate responsibilities
  • complete the first sections of the school’s Form 1.2 IEP Monitoring Sheet
  • show how and when the learning intention is to be monitored and assessed, including next steps learning
  • make sure that this information will be able to be understood by teacher aides, as they will often be carrying out the programmes, and by any relievers
  • ensure that the students progress on this learning intention is regularly monitored and recorded using this form
  • Please note that some of this information will be able to be transferred straight across from the IEP document itself.

Review schedule: Within 3 years

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