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The Individual Target Plan Process for addressing the Graduated Approach and Provision for Pupils with Cognition and Learning Difficulties

What is an Individual Target Plan (ITP)?

The Individual Target Plan [ITP] is an “integral part of a well-considered graduated approach and system of provision management; to address pupil needs and enable them to achieve the best educational outcomes.”

It challenges every school to look again at how they identify SEN and to ensure assessment and identification is accurate. It’s about ensuring that the provision enables the outcomes to be achieved. Personalisation will be the rule, not the exception.  

The ITP, as the SEND Code of Practice (2015) cites, ensures that SEN support for the child with cognition and learning difficulties as their main need, relates to a clear set of expected outcomes, which are both stretching and relevant academic and developmental targets.  With teachers responsible and accountable for the progress and development of the pupils in their class, even where pupils access support from teaching assistants or specialist staff, the ITP supports teacher, SENCo and parent to collaborate on problem-solving, planning-support and teaching strategies for individual pupils.

A more holistic approach than the IEP, the ITP was developed in response to the requirements within national legislation: the revised OfSTED inspection schedule in which guidance states “there is no statutory requirement for pupils to have IEPs” [Para 47 OfSTED . Subsidiary guidance September 2012, No. 110166]; the revisions to and statements within the Code of Practice; introduction of Teacher Standards and subsequent performance management arrangements and local changes including the updates to A2E Language and Literacy Toolkit. ITP was also developed in response to external research evidence (i.e. Gross J. (2008) Beating Bureaucracy in SEN or Hartley, R. (2010) SEN: Reforming Provision in English Schools) which show that IEPs are not effective in raising standards for pupils or promoting their well-being.

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Graduated approach

The ITP, together with all the tools of provision management as a strategic tool, is linked to a school’s on-going cycle of monitoring and review, facilitating the graduated approach called SEN support of assess, plan, do, review.  

Teacher involvement

With teachers responsible and accountable for the progress and development of the pupils in their class, even where pupils access support from teaching assistants or specialist staff, the ITP supports teacher, SENCo and parent to collaborate on problem-solving, planning support and teaching strategies for individual pupils.

Provision management

The SEND code of practice cites that progress towards outcomes should be tracked and reviewed regularly, at least termly. The ITP ensures that the quality and appropriateness of the overall provision is kept under review that is more regular, with impact monitored: reviewing how effective it is in securing progress ; informing the next steps in the graduated approach;  judging their effectiveness for the individual and provide further information about the precise nature of the needs.  The ITP provides SMT and all subject leaders guidance around  expectations in learning walks; evidence that should be found in book and planning scrutiny; activities that should be seen in lesson and intervention observations and notes and cross referencing made in TA logs.   

Parental involvement

The ITP process respects the involvement of parents in agreeing the support for their child, in setting clear outcomes and in keeping a record of the support provided. It works with the principle that time should be spent with parents working out what pupils need and ensuring that they make progress, not filling out paperwork. The ITP supports teacher, SENCo and parent to collaborate on problem-solving, planning-support and teaching strategies for individual pupils. Your text...

Teacher standard 5  - Reflecting the expectations within DfE Teacher’s Standards document the ITP enable teaching to be adapted to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils. In particular, the ‘plan-do-review’ process involved with the ITP ensures the teacher:

  •  knows when and how to differentiate appropriately, using approaches which enable the children to be taught effectively;
  •  has a secure understanding of how a range of factors can inhibit children’s ability to learn, and how best to overcome these ;
  • demonstrates an awareness of the physical, social and intellectual development of children, and know how to adapt teaching to support children’s’ education at different stages of development;
  • has a clear understanding of the needs of those children with special educational needs and those with disabilities and be able to use and evaluate distinctive teaching approaches to engage and support them.   

Teacher Standard 6 - Use of Assessment

  • Prior learning is assessed systematically and accurately. Assessment is challenging – matches pupil needs. Learners are confident and critical in assessing their own and others’ work, and to set meaningful targets for improvement.

Outstanding looks like: 

  • The ITP provides a plan that promotes exceptional learning across the curriculum;
  • The ITP provides criteria against which to systematically and effectively check pupils’ understanding throughout lessons, anticipating where teachers may need to intervene and doing so with notable impact on the quality of learning;
  • Driven by the ITP, the teaching of reading, writing, communication is highly effective and cohesively planned and implemented across the curriculum;
  • ITP targets drive and promote consistently high quality marking and constructive feedback from teachers to ensure that pupils make rapid gains;
  • The ITP ensures clearly directed, timely support and intervention that matches individual needs accurately. Consequently, pupils learn exceptionally well across the curriculum.

Teachers should use appropriate assessment to set targets which are deliberately ambitious. Potential areas of difficulty should be identified and addressed at the outset. Lessons should be planned to address potential areas of difficulty and to remove barriers to pupil achievement. In many cases, such planning will mean that pupils with SEN and disabilities will be able to study the full national curriculum. (CoP Para 6.12)

The ITP process supports the SENCO to:

  • Work with the senior leadership team to develop or refine their school vision for SEN
  • Monitor what’s happening
  • Coordinate provision
  • Provide professional development for other members of staff to ensure that teachers can meet the needs of all pupils within the Code of Practice
  • Make sure that members of staff have the appropriate knowledge and skills to fulfil their responsibilities towards pupils with SEND

The ITP process supports schools to:

  • Define High Quality teaching more clearly
  • Raise the overall quality of teaching and learning for pupils with SEN
  • To empower parents to be part of the decision making and review process for their child
  • Focus on an outcome-based approach that places the child and family at the centre.
>> Click here to download samples of the Continuum Documents, Teaching & Learning Ideas and TPT information
>> Please contact Terri Cawser for more information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
>> Go to the Resources page to download the Language and Literacy Toolkit (Login required)

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