I’ve started reviewing IEPs, lots of specific targets for lots of children. Targets that between the class teacher and I we felt that those children would achieve in the last 4 months if all of the support we suggested was put in place.
IF. There seem to be so many “ifs”. If the child attended. If the child learnt in the way and at the rate we expected. If the person delivering the extra intervention was there. If time was allowed in the timetable to ensure that the intervention happened.
I was a class teacher with a file filled with pieces of paper that I had helped write with similar targets. Did they always happen for the time stated on them. If I’m brutally honest, no. Not through a wish to deprive the child of their right to learn, not through any act of malice, just because…. A bit like when dieting when you have had a chocolate biscuit you may as well have another, and another, oops a packet, not delivering the intervention specified on the IEP one day/ week can easily slip into the next. Without, like the diet, the realisation that it has happened, today is a new day, start again, all of a sudden review time is there and …
The targets we set are small should be manageable in much less than the review time specified. We discuss that if they’ve achieved the target before the review date written on the piece of paper come and we’ll review it early. Does it happen? Did I ever do that? No. This isn’t that we don’t want the children to progress. It isn’t that the targets aren’t appropriate but at the end of the day IEPs are “just a piece of paper”.
So should we use them? When trying to show a graduated response to difficulties, when trying to justify how I’ve spent at least £6,000 on a child in order to get an EHCP, they are useful, almost essential. They do give us a tracking document to show the progress in a different way as we can see the targets change (or not) but whether they are the most efficient way I don’t know. I like them, as a SENCO I have something that proves I’m doing something. It gives me a termly, in depth chat with teachers about those children who need extra help so perhaps in that way they do help, they bring those children and what they need to the forefront of the teacher’s mind.
IF they have the time, the child and the staff the interventions will happen and the child will make the progress. Would it have happened despite my piece of paper? Who knows?