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IEP process in Secondary – transcript

[On the screen]

Robert Mangan, Principal, and Rachelle Stratton, HOD Learning Centre, from Tauranga Boys’ College, talk about the impact of the new IEP guidelines on the IEP process in secondary school.

I think there’s going to be a greater responsibility across all of the staff for more input into the IEP process. One of the real challenges is the number of staff that have contact with individuals, so that’s a bit different than a primary school setting. They could have up to six to eight teachers, so those six to eight teachers are going to have to have input into that process to grow a meaningful plan for the individual.

[On the screen]
What support is available for teachers?

So for each of the students that have special needs, they have a case manager here within the school, and that person runs the IEP process. We trialled a number of years ago where each of the teachers came to the IEP and met with us. But we found that with the commitment to secondary teachers, it was really hard to get everyone around one table. And parents sometimes found that really threatening as well, to have a number of educational professionals there, and they felt quite isolated as a parent.

So what we did, or what we do now, is that we send a questionnaire out to teachers, and they provide us with written feedback, and that all comes back to the case manager about a week before the IEP. And the IEP is actually written prior to the meeting, so that at the actual meeting, where there will be the Ministry of Education representative, the case manager and the parent, and we do try to have the student there as well.

We’re sort of bringing it all together, it’s more of a concise meeting, it runs for about an hour.

[On the screen]
How does assessment fit with the IEP process? 

So for our students in the senior school, they work toward their NZQA Work and Community Skills Certificate, and we are regularly updating the boys as to how many credits they’ve got toward that process. For them, that might be the highest qualification that they take from secondary school, and many do actually attain that certificate.

It’s through the IEP process, we have two IEPs a year, and there’s a lot of space between that – sometimes we can lose track of what the individual goals are, so it’s important that we communicate often those goals to our education team, both the teachers and the teachers’ aides.

Teachers’ aides are fantastic at providing us with feedback about what’s happening for those learners in their individual classes. All that information comes together in a weekly meeting of the teacher’s aides and the SENCO, and together we look at what needs to happen for each individual boy.

It’s a good tracking system.

And then when the boys do achieve that qualification, we’ll recognise that in an assembly as well. So that’s role modelling to the rest of the school that we’re valuing the achievement of this boy.

In order for teachers to have at the forefront of their minds what the IEP goals are, then on a regular basis we can feed those goals out to the teachers. And at our weekly meeting every couple of weeks, we will talk about an individual student and remind the teachers’ aides of that goal. Those meeting notes get sent to Robert so that he is fully aware of what’s happening within our department and what’s happening with those individuals.

Yes, and as Rachelle knows, I do make a point of reading them. It is good to pick up both the issues that have been raised within the department, and also to give me a picture of the individual boys and the progress they’re making.

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