What is an individual learning plan (ILP)?
An individual learning plan (ILP) is a document that outlines your child’s learning goals for the school year and says how the school will help your child achieve these goals.
An ILP sets out your child’s:
- learning goals
- strengths and interests
- preferred learning styles.
It also describes:
- barriers to your child’s participation and learning
- adjustments that the school can make to help your child learn
- strategies and resources to ensure your child meets their goals
- methods for monitoring your child’s progress.
An ILP gives your child the support they need to participate and learn in ways that work for them.
Individual learning plans (ILPs) are called different things in different states and territories. For example, they might be called individual education plans, individual curriculum plans or individual adjustment plans.
Who are individual learning plans (ILPs) for?
Children of all ages can have ILPs. States and territories have different rules about who ILPs are for, but typically they’re developed for:
- children with disability, learning difficulties or other additional needs
- children in out-of-home care
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
- children in youth justice
- children who are not achieving to their potential, including gifted and talented students
- other children that schools think would benefit from ILPs.
Getting involved in your child’s individual learning plan (ILP)
You can be involved in your child’s individual learning plan (ILP) by:
- contributing to the ILP’s development
- helping your child work towards their ILP goals at home.
Your involvement helps your child get the most out of their ILP. That’s because you can give the school important information about how your child learns and interacts at home and in the community. You can also find out about what strategies and supports the school is using and how you can use these at home. And you can share information about your child’s progress.
When you’re involved in your child’s ILP, you’ll be prepared to support your child if they need to learn from home. This might happen if they’ve been in hospital or their learning is disrupted because of a traumatic event like a flood or bushfire.
Getting started on an individual learning plan (ILP)
Your child’s individual learning plan (ILP) might get started in one of these ways:
- Your child’s school might approach you if your child meets your state or territory’s criteria for an ILP. It’s best if this happens before your child starts at the school.
- Your child’s school might approach you during the school year if your child’s teacher thinks your child would benefit from an ILP.
- You can ask your child’s teacher or another school representative about developing an ILP if you’re concerned about your child’s learning, development or wellbeing.
You don’t need to wait for the school to contact you about your child’s learning. It’s OK for you to contact the school and ask about an ILP for your child.
Developing an independent learning plan (ILP): the student support group (SSG)
A student support group (SSG) will develop your child’s independent learning plan (ILP). An SSG is a partnership between you and school staff. It aims to make sure there’s a coordinated approach to supporting your child’s learning.
The SSG should include:
- your child, if appropriate
- a school representative like the inclusion leader
- your child’s teacher or mentor.
The SSG can also include professionals who work with your child, like occupational therapists or physiotherapists.
SSGs are also called student support teams and other names.
When your child is involved in developing their ILP, it can help them understand their educational rights and learn to advocate for themselves. You can work closely with the school to encourage your child to get involved and to ensure they’re included.
Preparing for the first meeting about your child’s independent learning plan (ILP)
It’s a good idea to prepare for your first meeting with the student support group (SSG).
You can prepare by thinking about:
- your child’s strengths, needs and interests – for example, learning new material quickly, having difficulty with handwriting or being interested in animals
- your child’s goals – for example, playing with other children in groups, being more organised in the mornings, or managing emotions like stress and anger
- learning and teaching strategies that work well for your child – for example, breaking down instructions, using visual aids or reducing classroom distractions.
You can also help your child think about what they want to learn, how they like to learn and what gets in the way of learning for them. And if your child will be at the meeting, they might like to prepare photos, video, audio recordings or drawings to express their ideas and feelings.
You can take a support person or an advocate to this and other SSG meetings. This person can listen, take notes and remind you of things you want to cover.
Building a strong relationship with your child’s teacher and the school will help you work effectively as a team.
Example from an individual learning plan (ILP): Kulvinder
Kulvinder will appropriately and effectively engage in group activities this year.
Kulvinder will take turns with peers in small groups by the end of June.
What success looks like
- sit an appropriate distance away from other students in small groups
- listen quietly when others are talking
- speak clearly about a topic when it’s her turn.
Teaching strategies and adjustments
The teacher will give Kulvinder verbal and visual instructions about maintaining appropriate social distance from others and taking turns. For example, the teacher will use:
- peer modelling to show Kulvinder how to wait for her turn to speak
- visual objects to show whose turn it is to speak during group discussions
- a social story to remind Kulvinder where to sit and when to take turns to talk.
Example from an individual learning plan (ILP): Jo
Jo will make effective transitions from home to school by the end of Term 1.
Jo will be ready on time for school every morning by the end of March.
What success looks like
Jo will line up outside the classroom before the bell with computer, pencil case and notebooks every morning by the end of Term 1.
Teaching strategies and adjustments
The teacher will:
- post a message on Teams reminding Jo and the other students what they need to bring to class
- give Jo verbal reminders to check the portal each morning to see which room to go to
- record Jo’s progress towards their goal and review this record with Jo once a week during class
- reward Jo where appropriate with verbal praise, stickers and positive phone calls home.
Reviewing and monitoring your child’s independent learning plan (ILP)
Your child’s student support group (SSG) will usually meet once a term to review your child’s progress and discuss changes. But you can ask for a meeting at any time.
In between meetings, you can keep in touch with your child’s SSG and let them know if your child isn’t progressing as expected. You can also tell them about changes in your child’s behaviour or feelings. The SSG can use this information to ensure your child’s ILP stays up to date.
Supporting your child’s individual learning plan (ILP) at home
Your child’s individual learning plan (ILP) is about more than your child’s learning at school. It’s also about your child practising new skills through everyday play, activities and routines at home. You have an important role to play in helping your child do this.
Here are examples of ILP goals and how to support them at home. You can adapt these examples to your child’s situation:
- Taking turns in small groups – your child could practise taking turns to talk during family meals. Or your family could play games that involve turn-taking, like card or board games.
- Getting organised to go to school each morning – you could put up a visual schedule of the things your child needs to do to get ready. This might include getting dressed, brushing teeth, packing lunch and so on.
- Completing a piece of homework each week – you could model this by doing some of your own work while sitting with your child. You could also set up a regular time for homework each day. Or a reward chart might help your child see their weekly progress.
If you’re not sure how to support your child’s ILP at home, ask for strategies from your child’s teacher or a professional working with your child.