2.9 Individual Education Plans

The Individual Education Plan (IEP) is a requirement of Regulation 181/98. The Individual Education Plan must be written within 30 school days of a student's placement in a special education program. An Individual Education Plan is written for students who are receiving special education supports and services. It is designed in accordance with the requirements of Special Education in Ontario, Kindergarten to Grade 12: Policy and Resource Guide (2017) which was developed by The Ministry of Education to support educators in the implementation of effective programs and/or services for students with special education needs.


Individual Education Planning is a Process

In York Region, this process is facilitated through the use of:

  • the In-School Team Record;

  • the Individual Education Plan form; and

  • the electronic Student Services Network (SSNET)

Every Individual Education Plan (IEP) must include the following elements:

  • the strengths and needs that relate to the student’s learning;

  • relevant assessment data;

  • specialized health support services needed to enable the student to attend school;

  • a list of all subjects/courses in which the student requires modified expectations and/or accommodations, and all alternative programs;

  • a list of the accommodations the student requires;

  • the student’s current level of achievement in each modified subject or course and/or alternative program area;

  • annual program goals and learning expectations for each reporting period in each subject or course in which modified expectations are required and/or in each alternative program area;

  • the assessment methods to be used to assess the student’s achievement of the modified or alternative expectations;

  • a clear indication of the way in which student progress will be evaluated and the dates on which reports will be issued to parent(s)/guardian(s);

  • documentation of consultations with parent(s)/guardian(s) and the student (if the student is 16 or older) during the development of the IEP and any subsequent reviews, and a record of the review and updating of the learning expectations by school staff;

  • a transition plan;

  • a Safety Plan when there is a concern for the safety of the student or others; and

  • parent consultation form.

Individual Education Planning is an ongoing process of gathering information, setting goals, identifying steps for achieving these goals and monitoring the student's progress.

Consultation with Parent(s)/guardian(s) is required in the development, implementation, monitoring, and ongoing revision of the IEP. The Individual Education Plan - A Guide for Parents acts as a guide for parent(s)/guardian(s) regarding the steps in the process of developing the IEP.

Parent and child learning virtually

Processes for Dispute Resolution 

The IEP is a working document and attempts are made to develop consensus with respect to the expectations, strategies and assessment. The Principal is responsible for the final decision regarding student programming, in accordance with the Education Act. In rare instances where parents disagree with the program developed to meet the educational needs of the student as set out in the IEP, school staff: 

  • encourage parent dialogue and input;

  • consult with Student Services staff as appropriate in the development of the IEP;

  • regularly monitor achievement and keep parents aware of achievement of the identified goals and expectations; and

  • schedule regular sessions to provide feedback to parents.

Shared Solutions: A Guide to Preventing and Resolving Conflicts Regarding Programs and Services for Students, with Special Education Needs may be a useful resource to support this process.


Transition Plans and Transition Planning

Following the mandate of PPM 156, every student with an IEP is required to have a transition plan.

PPM 156 states that:

A transition plan must be developed for all students who have an IEP, whether or not they have been identified as exceptional by an Identification Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) and including those identified as exceptional solely on the basis of giftedness. The transition plan is developed as part of the IEP.

(PPM 156)

The transition plan is reviewed and updated as part of the IEP review process. The transition plan addresses the physical, social/emotional and learning needs of the student as they move through their academic career. PPM 140: Incorporating Methods of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) into Programs for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)provides specific transition planning requirements for students with autism spectrum disorders, in addition to the requirements set out in PPM 156. 

Transitions occur at various stages and levels for students. Some transitions occur on a regular basis between activities and settings within the routines of the school day. Significant transitions, however, such as entry to school, elementary to secondary and from secondary to postsecondary destination are complex and require collaboration. Transition planning is a team approach that involves consultation with the parents and/or guardians, the student (where appropriate) and can involve school board support staff, school staff, health care workers, community workers and others who support the student.

It is important to plan early to ensure as smooth a transition as possible. Whether the child is coming from home, has been in child care, or is coming from another school or educational setting, a successful transition depends on the ability of all those involved to communicate effectively and to share information about the student. Once the student with special education needs has been registered to attend school, a meeting should be held to discuss the specific strengths and needs of the student. The purpose of the meeting is to exchange information about the child’s strengths and needs and to facilitate the transition of the child to school. Information and assessment data about the child’s developmental milestones, level of skill development and individual needs are shared with school staff. By working together, information can be used to proactively plan for experiences and programs that will maximize the student’s strengths. 

The successful transition of exceptional students from one program to another, or from elementary to secondary school requires effective communication among the staff and parents/guardians. Students in Grades 7 to 12 are supported in their transition to secondary school through the required development of an Individual Pathways Plan (IPP) under the education and career/life planning program outlined in Creating Pathways to Success: An Education and Career/Life Planning Program for Ontario Schools – Policy and Program Requirements, Kindergarten to Grade 12 (2013).To facilitate the sharing of information regarding the student’s strengths and needs the following activities will be implemented:

  • facilitating the sharing of previous assessments, both formal and informal, and program information with the receiving school;

  • ensuring students entering the Board who are receiving special education services in another board are brought to the attention of the Student Services Coordinator for Community Class placement or to the attention of the Principal and SERT/Subject Head at the school for other placements;

  • inviting secondary Subject Heads to a pre-IPRC meeting at the elementary school to discuss programs and course selection for students with special needs;

  • inviting secondary special education personnel to the IPRC meetings for grade eight students from their feeder schools;

  • sharing of information between the elementary staff who support grade eight exceptional students and the secondary special education staff who will support them in grade nine;

  • holding information evenings for all parents, including a Special Education session for parents of exceptional students who are expected to attend secondary schools;

  • facilitating visits by parents, special education staff and exceptional students to schools when necessary;

  • promoting ongoing discussions between the guidance and special education departments; 

  • reviewing the most current Individual Education Plan (IEP).

The transition from secondary school to postsecondary destinations – whether further education or training, work, or independent living – can be intimidating for many students. Staff assists students and families in clarifying their educational options and career alternatives as they make decisions related to post-secondary opportunities. Early planning is crucial in order to build the most effective transition planning process. Transition planning is a partnership involving the student, parent(s)/guardian(s), school-based and regional staff, community and adult service providers, employers and any other individuals with a vested interest in the child. The Individual Pathways Plan (IPP) and the Individual Education Plan (IEP), with the Transition Plan, will all be instrumental in this process.


Safety Plan

Students are best served in a classroom that is positive, supportive and has planned responses to address their academic, social/emotional and behavioural needs. Some children require specific training and instruction to help them develop self-control and strategies to manage their behaviour. The goals, expectations and strategies for doing so, are described in the student’s IEP. These skills are taught with a focus on helping the student to demonstrate them successfully under various conditions.

A small number of children with disabilities, however, have specific “triggers” (sounds, actions, images etc.)  that disrupt their way of behaving and cause escalated responses that impact on the safety of themselves and/or others. In these instances, a Safety Plan is developed as part of the IEP, to assist staff in recognizing, managing and de-escalating specifically targeted behaviours. When adults anticipate the triggers and recognize the warning signals, escalation of the student’s responses can often be avoided.

The Safety Plan provides a description of:

  • behaviours that are a concern for the safety of the child and/or others;

  • triggers that precipitate the behaviours;

  • strategies to prevent the behaviours; and

  • progressive interventions that are used to respond to the student’s behaviour.

It is essential that parents and Board staff work together to share information about triggers and responses. The Safety Plan becomes part of the IEP, and as such must be regularly reviewed and revised as patterns of behaviour suggest the need for new responses.

Implementation of Ministry Standards for IEPs

The standards for IEPs outlined by the Ministry of Education provide direction for staff as they continue to enhance measurement and reporting on educational results for students with exceptional learning needs. Specific training is provided for school principals and special education teachers on the implementation and monitoring of IEP’s to ensure that they are working documents and will recognize the need for continuous evaluation and ongoing revisions. The SSNET IEP Checklist for Principals can be used to ensure that IEPs reflect the standards. In addition, IEPs are reviewed at a system level as part of the Special Equipment Amount (SEA) and Special Incidence Portion (SIP) processes.


Individual Education Plan (IEP) Templates & Related Documents

Learn more

The Individual Education Plan (IEP) - A Guide for Parents
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If you require any parts of the above templates in an accessible format, please contact us.