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Who is this resource for?

Two primary age school children in a classroom setting, working together on a written exercise

This resource is for anyone involved in developing or implementing individual education plans (IEPs) to support students with special education needs.

The audience includes:

  • students
  • their parents/caregivers and members of their whānau, hapū, iwi, or other communities
  • school staff, including teachers, teacher aides, and school leaders
  • specialists.

Māori-medium schools might adopt pathways different from those suggested in this resource, in accordance with their kaupapa. “Cultural differences in the perception of special needs” may be a factor (Bevan-Brown, 2001, page 6)

However, many of the principles, especially that of collaboration, are likely to be relevant. Suggestions for collaborating with Māori communities are included in Collaboration - the heart of the matter.

Purpose of the resource

Collaboration for Success: Individual Education Plans replaces the 1998 Individual Education Programme (IEP) Guidelines (referred to as the IEP Guidelines). This 2011 resource is intended as a compact reference to current New Zealand research, policy, and effective practice in supporting students with special education needs.

Rationale for updating the IEP Guidelines

Important changes have taken place in the education and disability sectors since the IEP Guidelines were published in 1998.

This 2011 resource has been developed to incorporate the principles and practical applications of those changes. It highlights activities that lead to improved student progress and achievement.

The changes include:

The New Zealand Disability Strategy 2016-2026 [External website]

The New Zealand Curriculum 2007 [External website]

Te Marautanga o Aotearoa 2008 [External website]

New Zealand’s implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities [External website]

National Standards 2009 [External website]

Success for All – Every School, Every Child 2010 (the government’s vision of a fully inclusive education system by 2014)

Ministry of Education’s 2010 review of literature on IEPs on Education Counts [External website].

The original IEP Guidelines were developed to support the Special Education 2000 initiative. That initiative set out to achieve a world-class education system with learning opportunities of equal quality for all students. The relevance of Special Education 2000 remains. Where this new resource differs is in capturing recent findings that have enhanced our understanding of effective practices in education.

Literature Review

In 2010, the Ministry of Education commissioned a review of literature around IEPs to inform their future use (Mitchell, Morton, and Hornby, 2010). Summary evidence from the review appears in the relevant sections of this document.

The literature review focuses on:

  • national and international developments in IEP processes
  • assessment practices in special education
  • research into effective, evidence-based IEP practices.

The review identifies a number of positive aspects of New Zealand practice. However, it also notes gaps between the original vision for IEPs and current implementation.

It shows that many opportunities for improvement exist. This resource aims to capture and build on those opportunities.  

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