How support is planned
Planning makes sure that everyone involved in supporting your child understands how to help them reach their full potential.
Your child’s school or nursery should include you and your child in planning and reviewing their support.
What does planning look like?
Planning is an ongoing process that helps your child’s school or nursery keep track of your child’s learning and development. It can help people who work with your child make sure the right support is in place.
- setting targets or goals
- deciding what needs to be done to achieve those goals
- setting a date for reviewing progress towards the goals
- reviewing progress on the agreed date
- updating the targets or goals based on learning from the review.
Planning will look different depending on your child’s needs. Schools and nurseries should plan and keep under review all pupils’ learning and development. This is called ‘personal learning planning’. If your child needs extra help with their learning, they may need more individualised planning.
How can I be involved in planning my child’s support?
Your child’s school or nursery should include you when they are planning your child’s support. You know your child best and can share your understanding of their needs. You might be asked to share your thoughts in a meeting or in writing.
Here are some things that you might want to share:
- your child’s strengths and things they enjoy outside of school
- areas or skills at school you know your child finds difficult
- strategies you use at home to support your child, for example with their homework, routine, or behaviour
- goals that you know are important to your child
- areas or skills you feel should be a priority.
Working together with your child’s school
This factsheet explains how you can have positive conversations with your child’s school or nursery, including advice for attending meetings about your child’s support.
Sharing information about your child with their school
Infographic with useful tips on sharing information about your child with their school.
What type of plan does my child need?
Sometimes, an informal verbal agreement can be enough to make sure that your child gets the support they need. Other times, a written support plan may be helpful. Your child’s school should work with you and your child to find the best strategy.
There are different types of written support plans which can be used depending on your child’s needs. Different local authorities may call these plans by different names.
The main plans used to support children’s learning are:
- individualised educational programmes (IEPs)
- co-ordinated support plans (CSPs)
- child’s plans
Individualised Educational Programmes (IEPs) are used when a child has more significant support that needs detailed planning. This kind of plan may also be called an Additional Support Plan, Support and Strategies Plan, Wellbeing Assessment Plan, or other names.
An IEP should set out your child’s needs and the support they require. For example, they may need changes to the curriculum, special equipment, or support staff to help them.
IEPs can also include short-term goals and how these will be reached. IEPs should be reviewed regularly, usually every school term. You and your child should be involved in creating their IEP and you should get a copy.
Other professionals who work with your child may contribute to an IEP. For example, an educational psychologist, health professional, or social worker. They can share their understanding of your child’s needs and suggest things that might help.
Co-ordinated support plans (CSPs) are a legal document used to help co-ordinate support across different agencies. There are criteria which a child or young person must meet to get a CSP. This includes having multiple or complex support needs, and requiring significant support from education, and also at least one other agency (like health or social work). You can find out more about CSPs on our Co-ordinated support plans page or in our CSP factsheet.
Child’s Plans are for children and young people who need additional support to meet their wellbeing needs. It is used by all the professionals who work with the child. A child’s plan sets out the needs that have been identified and any actions to meet those needs. It may also include information from their IEP or CSP if they have one.
Co-ordinated support plans (CSPs)
This factsheet explains what a co-ordinated support plan (CSP) is, what the criteria are for a CSP, and how to request one.
I think my child needs a written support plan. How can they get one?
You should first talk to the person responsible for additional support for learning at your child’s school or nursery. It can be helpful to think about and write down the reasons why you think it might help.
For example, it might help everyone involved to:
- agree what your child’s needs are
- set goals for your child and the support they need to achieve them
- understand what actions have been agreed and who will do them
- keep track of your child’s progress
- agree when your child’s progress will be reviewed
- agree how to keep each other informed about any difficulties that arise.
If your child’s school or nursery do not agree that a written plan is needed, there are steps you can take. These are explained in our ‘Avoiding and solving problems‘ factsheet.
What is ‘staged intervention’?
Staged intervention is a framework that professionals can use to plan support. It helps them to decide what level of support and what type of plan a learner might need. Each local authority may organise it a little differently. Usually, there are 3 or 4 stages.
Staged intervention planning is mostly for professionals to help identify the level of support your child needs, but they should involve you in their planning. You can ask the person responsible for support for learning at your child’s school or nursery to explain what level your child is on, and what this means for them.
If you disagree with the stage that your child has been placed in, you could discuss your concerns with the person responsible for additional support for learning at your child’s school or nursery. You could ask for your child’s needs to be reassessed. If you are still concerned, there are further steps you can take. These are explained in our ‘Avoiding and solving problems‘ factsheet.
For more information on staged intervention, have a look from page 5 of our Planning your child’s support factsheet.
Watch our Q+A session to hear our helpline team cover more about planning your child’s support, and answer questions from other parents and carers on this topic:
Planning your child’s support: working together with the school Q+A webinar
Recorded Facebook Live session on understanding how children’s support is planned, and working together with the school to get the right support in place
Your child’s school or nursery should include you and your child in planning their support. If you are not sure if your child has a written support plan, email the school to ask.
Planning should be ongoing. If your child’s plan hasn’t been updated for a while, ask for a meeting to talk through whether changes are needed.
Whether or not your child has a support plan, having a written note of what has been agreed can be useful. You can ask for minutes to be sent to you after meetings, or you could send your own notes of what you understand was agreed.