Students and teacher talking

Personalised planning and learning provides an opportunity to address and enhance each student’s unique characteristics and learning styles. It’s a wrap-around process that encompasses all aspects of school and learning to be fully effective. With the right tools, positive supports and high expectations, all students can reach their potential. This module gives a comprehensive review of supports available, and provides case studies and tools such as SMART goals. It also covers other areas to consider such as reporting and assessments, the role of NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) and the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data (NCCD).

“Children and young people will be the best they can be when they are present, participating, engaged, achieving, and belong”

(Bishop, Berryman, Tiakiwai and Richardson, 2003)

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  • All children can learn – strengths-based

  • Positive in Approach
  • Student-Centred

  • Student voice is paramount 

  • Vision

  • Trial and error inherent in design





  • All children can learn – strengths-based

  • Positive in Approach
  • Student-Centred

  • Student voice is paramount 

  • Vision

  • Trial and error inherent in design

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The Big Picture and Grand Aspirations

Personalised learning requires attention to the unique needs of all students of all abilities, acknowledging that each have different learning needs.  Every student has their own aspirations, learning needs, strengths and interests and it is the responsibility of schools to respond to every student and their unique characteristics, with high expectations for achievement.  Providing personalised learning and targeted support is one way the student can achieve this.

The principles underlying personalised support involve:

  • All students can learn
  • Every child has a right to a high quality education
  • Effective teachers provide engaging and rigorous learning experiences for all students
  • A safe and stimulating environment is integral to enabling students to explore and build on their talents and achieve relevant learning outcomes.
  • For students with disability and additional learning needs, reasonable adjustments should be made where required.
  • Effective consultation requires meaningful participation by all contributors and should recognise the input of all participants; the student, their family or carer, school personnel, other professionals and other relevant people.

  • The Disability Standards for Education 2005 state that, before the school makes an adjustment for a student, the student or the family/carer of the student must be consulted about the type of adjustments required.

  • Consultation should be tailored to the needs of the student and their family or carer. It should involve consideration of learning needs and strengths, aspirations, cultural, social and religious diversity.

  • Decision-making processes can include the student and people who support the student on a regular basis. This can include parents, carers, other family members, other professionals and relevant school staff. Decisions should be clearly explained to and understood by all people involved in this process.

  • Families are able to make decisions about the nature of their involvement in the consultation process.

  • Meeting the learning and support needs for all students is the responsibility of the school principal, teachers and the school community working together.
  • Collaborative planning is enhanced by focusing on goals, strategies, learning needs and strengths, and achievement.
  • Planning should be clear, timely and transparent for everyone involved.
  • Decision-making processes should be inclusive and understood by the student and their family or carer, school staff and other relevant people.

(adapted from Planning for Personalised Learning and Support: A National Resource, Australian Government, Department of Education and Training).

Download PDF: Planning for personalised learning and support, Department of Education and Training

Why is consultation so important?

“When students have opportunities to be consulted, they engage as agents who can contribute to pedagogical refinements”

(Tancredi, 2020)

Consultation is defined as the process of inviting another to communicate their thoughts, opinions and feelings about a process, situation, or event, to someone who can help change that situation or event for the person who has been consulted. Being able to engage in consultation is an essential life skill.  This enables the person to contribute to changes in their lives.  This learning of how to have a say in issues that affect you starts at school.  Although some children are naturally confident to speak up, there are many students who require support to have the same opportunities to be consulted and to learn the skills of self-advocacy.  For students with disability, the consultation process needs to be accessible.

(Adapted from Tancredi, 2020: Consulting students with disability).

Consulting students with disability: A practical guide for educators and other professionals

Consulting students with disability: A practical guide for educators and other professionals

“Once described as the ‘most disabled child ever to be mainstreamed’ …Mac is now in Grade 6, working at grade level using a combination of partner assisted foot switches, typing in Morse code, using auditory and visual scanning and his ‘old faithful’ yes/no foot switches”.

Gina, parent

Visit the Inky Ed blog to read about the collaboration with Mac’s school and the adjustments that were made to support Mac’s learning

Visit the Inky Ed blog to read about the collaboration with Mac’s school and the adjustments that were made to support Mac’s learning

What is a Personalised Learning Support Plan?

A Personalised Learning Support Plan (PLSP) focuses on the student’s developmental needs, the supports and services required to address those needs.  It also includes the assessment that will be used to track the student’s progress.  A PLSP is an umbrella term for a range of plans that can be used by schools to address the personal development of a student.

The development of personalised learning programs is also supported by case studies and resources developed by government authorities. Case studies can be a helpful way of understanding what to expect from a school when it comes to supporting students individually.


The development of personalised learning programs is also supported by case studies and resources developed by government authorities. Case studies can be a helpful way of understanding what to expect from a school when it comes to supporting students individually.

Read more: Developmental Disability Western Australia – Personalised Learning Support Plans Used in Education – A guide for families

Visit: NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) – Case studies


Each goal that is formulated for your child at an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or personalised planning meeting, should be considered against the vision.  All goals should be assessed as to whether they are consistent with achieving the vision (see Module 2).  For example, if you imagine an inclusive life for your child, as part of his or her community, making valued contributions and having meaningful social relationships, then you should consider whether your child’s IEP goals and how they are proposed to be implemented, support achieving that vision.  Share your vision with the school.  Your vision should guide both you and the school (Taken from IEP Guide, All Means All).

Big picture goals in areas of focus that are important for your child long-term. These goals are not written on the basis of what grade they are in or what school they are at – rather where they are at, what they are good at, and where they need to go next.

One of the principal barriers that people with disability face is the culture of low expectations within broader society.  As a parent and teacher, you can influence both the expectations of your child/student and, equally as importantly, the expectations of their school team (adapted from All Means All).

Read more: IEP Guide – All Means All

The importance of the use of positive language

“Discouragement is a self-fulfilling prophesy, but encouragement nurtures and realises potential”

(Jackson & Malaquias)

Don’t assume a student with disability won’t be able to ‘do it’ so that it is ‘not worth the effort’.  Students with intellectual or cognitive disability might learn it in a different way or it may take them longer.   They might not learn it this time but learning is incremental and something will always be learnt.  Sending the message to your student and their classmates that you think they ‘can do it’ is the most important and ‘inclusive’ message you can send (Taken from All Means All – For Educators).

For Educators – All Means All

For Educators – All Means All

A blonde man and a brunette woman, he wears a yellow top and she wears a red topMy child will…….

My child can…..
a female teacher with long dark hair, she wears glasses and a pink top with white collarOur student will…..

Our student can …..

According to US education consultant Paula Kluth, “if we focus on struggles and overlook a student’s strengths and gifts, it becomes hard to plan for and support that learner”. This article suggests the use of a simple planning document titled “Strengths and Strategies”. It can be useful for teachers, families, and students; it helps educators focus on the abilities and strengths of learners instead of only on their difficulties and areas of need. As Kluth states, “the focus on positive language and abilities can prompt educators to think and talk about students in a more proactive way”.

Download: Strengths and Strategies Profile – Paula Kluth

A blonde man and a brunette woman, he wears a yellow top and she wears a red top
My child will…….

My child can…..
a female teacher with long dark hair, she wears glasses and a pink top with white collar
Our student will…..

Our student can …..

According to US education consultant Paula Kluth, “if we focus on struggles and overlook a student’s strengths and gifts, it becomes hard to plan for and support that learner”. This article suggests the use of a simple planning document titled “Strengths and Strategies”. It can be useful for teachers, families, and students; it helps educators focus on the abilities and strengths of learners instead of only on their difficulties and areas of need. As Kluth states, “the focus on positive language and abilities can prompt educators to think and talk about students in a more proactive way”.

Download: Strengths and Strategies Profile – Paula Kluth

The Disability Standards for Education 2005

The Disability Standards for Education clarify the obligations of education and training providers and seek to ensure that students with disability can access and participate in education on the same basis as other students.  The Standards cover:

  • Enrolment in education
  • Participation in education
  • Curriculum development, accreditation and delivery
  • Student support services
  • Harassment and victimisation

How to adhere to the Disability Standards when goal setting for your child/student

The Disability Standards for Education 2005: Practice Exemplars outlines examples of real stories of educators working with students and their families to ensure a fair and inclusive experience in education.  While the exemplars cover a range of educational settings and student needs, the lessons learned are transferrable to educators, students and parents across the country.

What does your educational setting say?

Every school has the flexibility to design their own documented plans. Hence, the plans may look different and have different names from school to school or state to state. However, all documented plans, no matter what they look like, need to outline a plan to meet your child’s individual needs as well as specifying the resources and strategies required to meet those needs. Keep in mind the education standards apply to all education providers regardless of whether they are State, Independent or Catholic. Each section below outlines what personalised planning, learning and support are provided in each educational setting.


Personalised learning and support is a process that supports a wide range of students with additional learning and support needs.

Personalised learning and support is underpinned by evidence of four key elements or areas of activity:

  • The assessed individual education needs of the student
  • The provision of adjustments or support to meet the students’ assessed needs
  • Monitoring and review of the impact of the adjustment or support being provided for the student
  • Consultation and collaboration – of teachers with parents, support staff and other professionals where required.

Taken from the Department of Education NSW website. Read more at:

 NSW Department of Education – Disability, learning and support

NSW Department of Education – Personalised Learning and Support


The Collaborative Planning Process is the fundamental practice underlying the procedure for supporting students whom require adjustments to access and participate on the same basis as other students. Support for students with disability involves a combination of actions and adjustments taken by the school to ensue meaningful participation and to reduce barriers to participation.

An Individual Plan is the documented outcome of the collaborative planning process. On occasions, this process may highlight the need for a more targeted and specific plan, for example a Behaviour Support Plan, Health Support Plan or a Risk Assessment. Or it might identify the need for quite specific goals relating to teaching and assessment that will be documented in a separate plan such as an Individual Education Plan (IEP), Individual Learning Plan (ILP) or Personalised Learning Plan (PLP).

The collaborative planning process requires comprehensive consultation and involves:

  • Gathering information and identifying the student’s needs
  • Consulting and collaborating
  • Implementing adjustments
  • Monitoring, reviewing and evaluating


(Taken from Australian Independent Schools (AIS) NSW website)

For more information, visit Australian Independent Schools – Planning and Individual Support


Diocesan Catholic School Offices are the best place for families to find more information and discuss personalised planning.  Each of the eleven diocese have their own office and website where you can go for information about what services and processes are undertaken in each area.  The CSNSW office also refers families to the Commonwealth Department of Education, Skills and Employment site for access to the Planning for Personalised Learning and Support:  A National Resource.

Read more: Planning for Personalised Learning and Support: A National Resource

Visit: Catholic Schools NSW – Disability Learning Support

 Let’s consider wellbeing in our planning

“Students need to have choice in content, how it is taught to them and assessed”

– Teachers & parents from collaboration

Choice for individual students is important because it impacts positively on a student’s learning and engagement.  Choice contributes to enhanced motivation, interest and commitment to tasks.  The provision of choice also assists and supports the development of a student’s self-regulation, self-discipline and achievement.  When students have choice and opportunities to engage in activities that are of interest and value to them, their wellbeing is enhanced (Taken from The Wellbeing Framework for schools).

Follow these links to find out More

NSW Department of Education – Wellbeing Framework for Schools

Family Advocacy – Alternative teaching methods

The student inclusion list

The student inclusion list

Remember to go over modules 2 Vision, Module 4 Student Voice and Communication, and Module 7 How to include the student when working together to complete personalised planning for your student. 

Let’s set SMART goals to achieve our annual goals

Assistive technology devices can be defined as anything that makes life easier and better – and they come in all shapes and sizes, and are used by everyone. Just look around your office, could you get by without your computer, printer, cell phone, microwave oven, garage door opener?  Make a list to see how dependent you are on all your AT devices in your life.  Furthermore, AT supports and accommodations are the pillars upon which inclusion and success are built!

– Kathie Snow – No, not “Special”…They are ordinary needs

The use of SMART goals can assist with identifying what it is you want to achieve with your child/student, whether it is a realistic goal, and to determine a deadline. It is important when writing your goals, that you use concise language, but also include relevant information.

Initial GoalWrite the goal you have in mind
S – specificWhat do want to accomplish? Who needs to be included? When do you want to do this? Why is this a goal?
M – measurable
How can you measure progress and know if you’ve successfully met your goals?
A - achievable
Do you and/or the student have the skills required to achieve the goal? If not, can you obtain them? What is the motivation for this goal? Is the amount of effort required on par with what the goal will achieve?
R – relevant
Why am I setting this goal now? It is aligned with our student’s VISION?
T – timely
What is the deadline, when will we know it has been achieved, and it is realistic?

Now let’s examine how they match with the VISION.  The strengths, interests, best ways to learn, skills they need. Setting an outcome is important and ideal, it can be matched to the curriculum or syllabus outcomes too. How will our child/student know to do the activity?  What specific conditions will be in place to instruct, prompt and support our student, and how will it be measured?

The goals will also need to include and relate to any services and therapy the student may currently be working with. Ideally these goals should be undertaken in the context of the classroom or other natural environments within the school, such as the playground. Pull-out, isolated therapies undertaken one-on-one in a separate room probably will not give our student an opportunity to generalise their skills learned into their entire school/academic day. Assistive technology and how it can be used also needs to be included in the plan. It is important to consider here our previous discussion about taking a social model approach (Module 1).  Remembering that we need to ensure these are opportunities that are included and relate to ensure the success of our student.

There are many ways to be creative when incorporating individual goals into planning:


  •  Fine motor skills – could use hand writing or keyboard skills taught within the realm of the language lesson in the classroom.
  • Physical therapy undertaken during a normal PE lesson, or on the playground during recess games using peers as support and encouragement.
  • Assistive technology and how this can be utilised needs to also be included in the plan.

A strengths-based IEP looks at abilities as well as weaknesses. It looks at what students can do, what the team wants them to do next, and how strengths might be used to set goals to help address a particular need.

The importance of weaving strengths into IEP goals, is at the heart of a strengths-based IEP.  IEP goals are built around what the student can do and how the team can use the student’s strengths to achieve personal outcomes. Smart goals that are strength-based will be able to use a student’s strength to work on other areas of need.

SMART IEP goal SMART strengths-based IEP goal
Sam will learn the class vocabulary words with 90% accuracy in three out of four weekly opportunities Sam will use his creativity and interpersonal skills to develop and lead his peers in a class vocabulary game with 90% accuracy in three out of four weekly opportunities
Aidan will complete his science lab reports on time and with 85% accuracy in three out of four consecutive assignments Aiden will use his preference for hands-on learning and his skills with technology to dictate his notes during science lab and complete his science lab reports on time and with 85% accuracy in three out of four consecutive assignments
Here is an example from a NSW Kindergarten student’s documented goal:
Goal By the end of Semester 1, __ will write his own name when prompted 80% of the time.
Learning Intention Student is learning to: Student currently can:
Write own name independently Hold pencil and draw/colour on a page
Content and Strategies

__ will use a template to write his name in class (wipe off sleeve with marker also provided to parents). Once confident, he can begin to write his name with a pencil and paper.

SLSOs will support __  with letter ordering activities for __’s name during rotational activities.

Assessment Observation, work-samples, discussion with parents

Evaluation / Notes:

__ has achieved this goal, and is now able to write his name with verbal prompting on most occasions. Will now update goal towards writing other familiar words.


I include peer interaction goals in my student’s SMART goals where this is appropriate – as many students appreciate support when learning these skills, and providing a structure for this through achievable goals can assist students to work towards specific aspects of social development.


  • A goal is something our student will be able to do (with or without support).
  • It describes a change in our student’s competence as a result from instruction. Good goals are specific, stating how our student’s competency will be changed.
  • State what our students will need to get there
  • State the natural condition – when, where, and/or with whom our student will undertake the activity
  • A process of trial and error must be agreed upon and built into planning and review. Build in agreed time goals, check–ins, reviewing and planning, and informal communication.
  • They identify how they will be measured – Teacher’s anecdotal notes, observation, testing etc – this must be identified and agreed upon in planning.

Read more:  Strengths based goal examples  – is a US based organisation.  Therefore, some of the information may not be relevant or transferrable in Australian classrooms.  However, the site does contain great information and resources for parents and teachers.


Goals should not be written on the basis of what grade the child is in, what school the child is in, or any other factor. Goals should be individualised to the child and should have a strong correlation to the needs stated.  Goals should be written in plain English, easily understandable to anyone who reads them.  They should not be isolated behaviours or skills.

Please see pages 12 – 14 in this document: Parents Individual Education Planning Report .


Short term objectives must be measurable.  How will they be measured?  By teacher anecdotal notes, teacher observation, parent observation, testing, etc.?  Short term objectives need to have timelines that are met.  Parents play an important role in meeting with school personnel to monitor the timelines and the progress.

Please see pages 15-18 in this document: Parents Individual Education Planning Report .


Primary school example:

The following case study, taken from Good Teaching: Inclusive teaching for students with disability, Tasmanian Department of Education (page 41) shows example content from an IEP with SMART goals embedding in the Australian Curriculum alongside teaching strategies and adjustments that suit the student and the context.

Download case study: Angus

Secondary school example:

The following case study, taken from NSW Education Standards Authority – Case studies outlines content from an IEP incorporated in a mainstream science lab, which details the directed strategies and support from both teachers and peers within the classroom environment.

Download case study: Leslie

My personalised plan means that I can increase my independence skills and makes sure that I can practice and learn how to express my needs in a better way in the classroom. 

REMEMBER: The AIM of a Personalised Learning Support Plan is to support your child reach their potential.

Personalised planning is a great way to get everyone together and to have a shared language around the student. It also means that we are all on the same page in terms of communication.

 A note on Reporting and Assessment

“Success is defined in different ways and can relate to children belonging and participating in the classroom with everyone else. Every student is achieving at their own pace, but everyone is learning  from each other”

– Teacher

When planning effective learning and assessment activities, teachers should consider whether the teaching, learning and assessment approaches are appropriate to the syllabus outcomes being addressed.

  • Classroom and assessment activities should be clearly related to the syllabus outcomes.
  • Students should be provided with opportunities to demonstrate what they know and can do.
  • A variety of assessment approaches may be used so that students have the opportunity to show what they know and can do in different ways.
  • A single activity can often provide information about more than one syllabus outcome; for example, an assessment activity may show a student’s knowledge, problem-solving and evaluation skills.

(Taken from National Education Standards Authority- Understanding the Curriculum)

Read more at: NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) – Planning for effective learning and assessment


Teachers measure student’s progress towards success by gathering formative evidence through various means; worksheets, observation, interaction, and use this evidence to inform their teaching to best guide students towards achieving their learning outcomes or to expand them further. The importance of monitoring this progress also provides teachers with the opportunity to give students feedback throughout their learning (adapted from Graham, 2019). This feedback of students needs to have the language of assessment and reporting adjusted to recognise achievement and growth, and the next steps required to continue student growth. This process of assessment and reporting needs to be positive and represent what the child can do, and what the student is working towards.

Collecting evidence of student’s learning, against their learning goals, provides opportunities to further uncover student’s strengths and needs and informs next steps in planning and teaching. Busy classrooms offer so much information for assessment that focusing on the student’s learning goals creates a helpful focus. To further assist in collecting and interpreting evidence of learning, many teachers find using charts, adhesive notes, checklists and photographs very useful. This information and evidence can then be added to a student’s IEP at a later time.

I need to remember to use my student’s assessment as a starting point. It is important to make each assessment task relevant and suitable to each individual student. To always use evidence to inform my reporting, and to adjust teaching strategies according to the assessment data.


Collaborative curriculum planning is the process to determine the most appropriate curriculum options and adjustments for students with disability.  This planning process should take place within the broader context of personalised planning that includes interventions and other supports to address identified student learning and support needs.  This process requires significant knowledge and understanding of the student, and therefore this team should comprise of parents, teachers and the student themselves. Students with disability then work towards syllabus outcomes which have been identified through the collaborative curriculum planning process and are given a range of opportunities to demonstrate the achievement of these outcomes.

(adapted from New South Wales Education Standards Authority (NESA), Collaborative Curriculum Planning)


Assessment is the broad name for the collection and evaluation of evidence of a student’s learning. It is integral to teaching and learning and has multiple purposes. Assessment can enhance student engagement and motivation, particularly when it incorporates interaction with teachers, other students and a range of resources.

Teachers should consider the effect that assessment and feedback have on student motivation and self-esteem, and the importance of the active involvement of students in their own learning.


  • provides opportunities for teachers to gather evidence about student achievement in relation to syllabus outcomes
  • enables students to demonstrate what they know and can do
  • clarifies student understanding of concepts and promotes deeper understanding
  • provides evidence that current understanding and skills are a suitable basis for future learning.

Each assessment task should:

  • be based on syllabus outcomes
  • be a valid instrument for what they are designed to assess
  • include criteria to clarify for students what aspects of learning are being assessed
  • enable students to demonstrate their learning in a range of task types
  • be reliable, measure what the task intends to assess, and provide accurate information on each student’s achievement
  • be free from bias and provide evidence that accurately represents a student’s knowledge, understanding and skills
  • enable students and teachers to use feedback effectively and reflect on the learning process
  • be inclusive of and accessible for all students
  • be part of an ongoing process where progress is monitored over time.

(Taken from National Education Standards Authority – Understanding the Curriculum).

Read more: NESA – Assessment Principles – Please note that this is not a list of things to do – rather a way to provoke conversation with our student to build on their individual strengths.


Assessment options for students should be inclusive and enable them to produce evidence of learning that accommodates their needs. Differentiated assessment is a key strategy as it offers opportunities for students to demonstrate their skill, knowledge and understanding in ways that are accessible and meaningful. 

Consider assessment adjustments that may be useful. Here are some examples and options:

  • A variety of opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning, accommodating different abilities and styles of learning (verbal, written, digital, dramatised or visual representations)
  • Reducing the number of questions or providing alternative formats for questions (diagrams, flowcharts or timelines)
  • Additional time to complete or take a break from the task/s
  • Fewer/smaller assessment tasks
  • Different tasks/aspects of a task assessed
  • Tasks broken down into smaller components and possibly aggregated over time.

How the student is to be assessed can also be noted in the IEP. This  assists to inform classroom planning for adjusting delivery of learning to suit the student’s needs.

(Adapted from Good teaching: Inclusive Teaching for students with Disability, Tasmania Department of Education).


Here are examples of lesson modifications that maybe a good strategy to modify your student’s work:

  • Breaking down the assignment – complex topics being covered in class can be broken down into understandable concepts. Have the student focus on a big idea related to the lesson.  Passages of reading can be simplified, maths problems can be reduced by level of difficulty, or visual representations can replace written work.
  • Break down the answers – teachers can provide work banks of answers, Yes/No or True/False responses, or pre-written vocabulary to guide student practices with new material.
  • Guided practice – teachers can guide student engagement and response by providing graphic organisers, outlines, and/or a series of steps to solving a problem.
  • Take the lesson off the page – with this strategy, teachers can have the student draw a corresponding illustration, make a model, or give a presentation. For example, if the class is learning about space, the student can trace the pictures of the planets and solar system (and write about it, label it or talk about it).

(Adapted from The Inclusive Class)

Sharing and reporting happens in a variety of ways, both formal and informal. For everyday achievements/challenges, a quick conversation at pick-up time, or a message via classroom digital communication platform is used.

Formal recording and reporting is done through a combination of documents. Formal reports are completed for every student (with grading section able to be adjusted for older grades ‘P’ for Personalised Learning and Support Plan is able to be entered rather than an A-E grade for individual subject areas where appropriate. PLSP (Personalised Learning and Support Plan) is developed in consultation with families, and reflected upon and updated at regular intervals.

– Teacher

Example of visual student report

Example of visual student report

NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA)

The NSW Education Standards Authority supports school sectors to deliver the best possible outcomes for students through high-quality syllabuses, assessment, teaching standards and school environments.

Students with disability can access outcomes and content from K–10 syllabuses in a range of ways. Students may engage with:

  • syllabus outcomes and content from their age-appropriate Stage with adjustments to teaching, learning and/or assessment activities; or
  • selected syllabus outcomes and content from their age-appropriate Stage, relevant to their learning needs; or
  • syllabus outcomes from an earlier Stage, using age-appropriate content; or
  • selected Years 7–10 Life Skills outcomes and content from one or more syllabuses for students in Stages 4 and 5.

NESA – Students with disability

NESA – Students with disability

Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on school students with disability

The Nationally Consistent Collection of Data (NCCD) is an annual collection of information about Australian school students with disability. The NCCD enables schools, education authorities and governments to better understand the needs of students with disability and how they can be best supported at school.

Also available on the website are the NCCD evidence templates which are user friendly tools that can support schools by facilitating evidence collection for students included in the NCCD. The use of these templates is NOT COMPULSORY. However, the templates have been developed with input from schools and have been created to assist teaching and support staff.

School Inclusion

The School Inclusion website provides strategies to help teachers create environments where barriers to learning are minimised.  View past ‘Café’ webinars outlining substantial and extensive curriculum adjustments, quality differentiated teaching practices, and other content and information.  Join along with other educators also pursuing good inclusion practices in their classrooms.

The importance of an Individual Education Plan (IEP)

“Individual education plan meetings twice a year have been an excellent tool to get everybody together.  They have also been a great place to acknowledge the successes.  Very satisfying to be able to check through the goals achieved.  Has also been a good place for problem solving or identifying areas that might need some tweaking and then putting together a plan for one or more to trial strategies to address issues or the next step.  Also having multiple heads together has meant some really creative problem solving has occurred.  These meetings have also been a place where everybody’s contribution has been acknowledged, respected and valued.”


There are a range of changes that can be made to the curriculum, assessments, teaching styles and setup of the classroom so that students with disability are able to access and participate in learning according to their individual needs.

For those students who need adjustments to the content and outcomes of the curriculum, the student and their families should be involved in consultations with the school to develop a personalised learning program. These are sometimes referred to as an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or an Individual Learning Plan (ILP).

An IEP is about access and equity to education and should consider ‘reasonable adjustments’ that need to be made to provide students with access to teaching, learning and the schooling experience generally.

Parents are equal members of the IEP team.  Parents are listed first on the list of required members of the student’s IEP team in the Federal Disabilities Education Act. The input of parents is important throughout the IEP process.  School’s will know your child as a student, some members of the IEP team may only know your child “on paper” through testing and diagnosis.  But parents represent their child in a very personal way. Your role as a member of the IEP team is valuable from start to finish.  Your child’s teachers, special education providers and schools may change.  But parents remain the constant in a child’s life.


Overview of the IEP Process Diagram

Overview of the IEP Process Diagram

Remember: You may not be an expert about special education and the adjustments needed, but you are an expert about your child.

Let’s agree and make it happen

“As my child grew older, they were more involved in the collaboration.  They are now in high school and participate in IEP meetings.  I think where possible the student should always be involved in these conversations, to have their input and to teach self-advocacy”


Once this planning meeting has happened and the goals are written down and agreed upon, this will then be shared with all relevant parties required to enable it.  Including our student.

Other helpful implementation supports include:

  • An implementation timeline (What goal is addressed when, how, who is required to do what, when it will be realised)
  • Progress reports or regular check-in and review of SMART goals (by students and teachers) are useful to ensure the plan is being used, or if it needs adjustment.
  • It is the school’s responsibility to implement the personalised plan. When parents are aware/part of the plan and what is being worked on at school, efforts to contribute, and support from home are beneficial to our student.


“Simply put, parent involvement is often more of a “doing to”, while engagement is a “doing with”. With involvement, schools tend to lead with their mouth – generally telling parents what they should be doing.  Engagement, on the other hand, has schools leading with their ears”

(From education week teacher)


Prior to any conversations it’s good to have thought about what we want to talk about!

Let’s think about what is involved in personalised planning for our student.  The processes involved in the development of a strengths-based and effective IEP is a key element in the understanding of, and support for our student in the classroom.

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It’s important to hear what your goals are.

 For the young student – fill the “One year from now” document below. Where is it you want to be, want to have achieved one year from now.  What is you can do, what you want to improve on, learn (more) about, learn to do.

For the older student – becoming part of the IEP meeting process is very important to ensure you have a voice. Fill the “My IEP progress report” document below. Reviewing any previous goals and outlining what has worked and not worked is important, as well as what changes you feel need to be made to support you at school.

RESOURCE 4: One year from now

RESOURCE 5: My IEP Progress Report

RESOURCE 4: One year from now

RESOURCE 5: My IEP Progress Report

Your role as a member of the IEP team is valuable from start to finish.  Your child’s teachers, special education providers and schools may change.  But you remain a constant in your child’s life. You’ll watch them learn, stumble, adapt and succeed.

By the time your child reaches high school, they should be encouraged and supported to participate as a member of their IEP team and help develop a transition plan. They will take the lead as you shift from being the primary advocate, to being their “coach”.

Through it all, you can support your child and help them develop the self-awareness and self-advocacy skills they will need in the future.

Where do you want your child to be one year from now? What are your family’s dreams and goals? What is important for your child to learn or to do, from the perspective of your child and your family. Consider these in terms of the vision (in Module 2) and where this may be in 1 year from now. Revise the most recent feedback from your school. List what you see as strengths (these can also be interest, hobbies, skills, personal traits).  Next list area of focus/achievements.  Work towards 3 SMART goals – 5 at the maximum.

Creating SMART Goals – Parent

Creating SMART Goals – Parent

“UDL enables us to understand that while working towards the same outcome, success may look different for students with disability.  It keeps us focused on using multiple teaching strategies to deliver a rich and differentiated curriculum so that all students make progress according to their ability”

– Damien Moran, Principal

Where we are, observations, previous school year – review vision and plan for the year and see how we can set a personalised plan where the student will be included and work to their personalised plan along-side peers. Please review the UDL links and information from Module 7.

Creating SMART Goals – Teacher

Creating SMART Goals – Teacher


Let’s use personalised planning to get to know our student

 “Focus always has to be on the student.  Both parties need to realise that no results come easy.  The truth is that these students need parents and educators to work hard for them – we must be diligent.  There is no room for complacency.  The benefit is that when you get results the value is priceless”



Personalised planning involves the teacher getting to know the student.  Consultation and discussion with the student’s parents/carers to assist in the identification of the student’s aspirations, goals, strengths and needs.  It further involves the planning and implementation of personalised learning and individualised support measures, and the effective evaluation of the impact of personalised support that is being provided to the student.


Share – Parent and teachers share their SMART goals – what are their strengths and recent achievements, next steps/goals from there, and what we are working on to support our student to get there.  Ensure student’s pre-work has also had input here.

Use the domains of communication skills, social skills, academic skills, independence skills, physical skills, emotional and behavioural regulation skills, health and wellbeing as a guide here.


Share – A review of the last personal plan – what was set, what was achieved, what worked well.  What was not achieved, review why this may have been the case.


Consider – Using the SMART goal templates, what 3 to 5 goals should be actioned now, what other goals can be considered at a later date.


Impact – How might this information now be noted and integrated into how our student is understood, taught and valued.

Conversation Guide – Personalised Planning

Conversation Guide – Personalised Planning


Let’s share something positive to start with – on the topic of something we have discovered about our student or more generally.

What has been discussed, decided upon?

Has the student been consulted before, during or regards to the outcome?

What needs to be followed up, who will do this, by when and how will we know it’s been done. Is there a review required?

Who else is it important to share this information with? How will we do this? Who will do this? (Consider other staff, replacement teachers, peers).

Now go back to your “Conversation Guide” document and complete the “actions” section.