Policy last updated

18 August 2022


  • Schools

June 2020



The purpose of this policy is to outline the requirements of an Individual Education Plan (IEP) and to assist government schools identify when an IEP is required to support a student with their education.


IEPs are required for:

IEPs are highly recommended for:


IEPs assist students who require a range of supports with their education.

An IEP is a written statement that describes the adjustments, goals and strategies to meet a student’s individual educational needs so they can reach their full potential. An IEP is essential as it helps you plan and monitor a student’s unique learning needs.

IEPs are also known as individual learning plans, individual learning improvement plans and Koorie education learning plans.


  • outlines clear educational goals for the student
  • encourages student voiceExternal Link to allow the student to engage and take part in their own learning
  • is strengths-based with a focus on the student’s potential to achieve positive educational outcomes
  • is age appropriate, holistic in its approach, supports cultural needs and safety, and is flexible and future orientated
  • includes short-term goals that will lead to the achievement of long-term goals
  • is developed in consultation with the student (where appropriate) and their parent/carer/guardian. A Student Support Group (SSG) is required for students supported under individualised disability funding programs including the PSD and Disability Inclusion and those in OOHC, and strongly encouraged for any students with additional learning needs
  • should be used (along with SSG minutes and documentation demonstrating student progress against agreed IEP goals) as supporting information for students participating in a Disability Inclusion Profile
  • communicates individual and shared responsibilities
  • includes a record of important decisions, actions and student progress
  • is supported and informed by other relevant plans such as a cultural plan or behaviour support plan
  • is reviewed regularly in accordance with the timeline as agreed by all members of the SSG (or at least once per term for students supported under individualised disability funding programs including the PSDExternal Link and Disability Inclusion and those in OOHC)
  • acknowledges and celebrates the achievement of student progress.

Teachers already undertake many activities that personalise learning experiences for students. Research has shown that when schools use a planning approach that supports personalised learning, the academic achievement of all students improves.

Students who need an individual education plan

IEPs are required for:

IEPs are highly recommended for:

  • students with additional needs
  • students not achieving to their potential (this may include high-ability students, where appropriate) – further guidance is available from the department’s High-ability toolkitExternal Link )
  • students at risk of disengagement
  • students who are young carers (where appropriate)
  • any other students determined by the school as needing an IEP.

Refer to the Guidance tab for advice on how to develop an IEP.

Relevant legislation



This guidance contains the following chapters:

  • The importance of an individual education
  • How to develop an individual education plan
  • SMART goals
  • Related plans

The importance of an individual education plan

The importance of an individual education plan

An IEP is important because it:

  • helps you develop a learning program for individual students
  • tracks a student’s progress against short-term SMART (specific, measurable, agreed, relevant, timely) goals to support achievement of long-term goals
  • shares information between the school, students, the student’s family and other support professionals, for example, a Koorie Engagement Support Officer, social worker or speech pathologist
  • helps you identify resources the student may need to achieve their goals. For example, visual supports for classroom schedules and activities or audiobooks
  • promotes student confidence and engagement
  • ensures you meet your legal obligations and accountabilities for students with disability under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Disability Standards for Education 2005.

How to develop an individual education plan

How to develop an individual education plan

Student support groups are responsible for developing an IEP. The group may include:

  • the student, where appropriate
  • principal
  • teacher
  • parent or carer
  • education support staff

Students supported under individualised disability funding programs including the Program for Students with DisabilityExternal Link and Disability Inclusion, and students living in out-of home-care will already have a student support group (SSG).

Personalised learning and support

Individual education planning uses the four-stages personalised learning and support process.

Personalised learning and support is a framework that supports students with additional learning and support needs. The IEP template on the Resources tab can help.

1. Assess: get to know your student and how they learn

You need to use a strength-based approach to learn about the student and their learning differences. Focus on the positive aspects of their abilities. This information will help develop a learning profile.

In this stage you should:

  • identify the student’s strengths and interests and any challenges or barriers to learning. For example, English as an additional language, refugee status, experiential, cultural, linguistic and social background
  • include information about the student to support their education needs, such as results of any formal/informal assessments in literacy, numeracy or social-emotional assessments, recommendations from allied health professionals, data or classroom observations
  • think about the student’s current entry level skills
  • ask the student what helps them to learn. Student voiceExternal Link allows students to engage and take part in their own learning. It also contributes to building leadership, confidence and other skills that ensure student wellbeing.

2. Plan: use collaborative and student-centred approaches

Make sure the student is the focus of the planning process. When planning a student’s IEP, it’s important get input from the student, their parent/carer/guardian(s) and relevant teaching and support professionals.

In this stage you should:

  • work with the SSG to develop long-term and short-term goals
  • get advice from others where relevant, for example education support staff and allied health professionals
  • review the student’s learning environment
  • monitor agreed actions and give an update at the next review meeting.

Long-term goals

Long-term goals (for example, longer than a school term) are specific statements describing the expected behaviour or skill to be achieved within an agreed timeline, for example, by the end of the school year.

Short-term goals

Short-term goals identify the sub-skills that are required for a student to achieve a long-term goal. Short-term goals specify what should be achieved within a certain timeframe, from a week through to a month or a term. It is highly recommended that short-term goals are SMART (specific, measurable, agreed, relevant and time-bound). Where schools have established a student support group (SSG) for a student, the student’s short-term goals can be reviewed at each SSG meeting (refer to Student Support Groups).

When creating long-term and short-term goals, refer to the Victorian CurriculumExternal Link .

3. Teach: make adjustments that will meet the student’s needs

It’s important to create responsive teaching and learning environments and put in place teaching strategies and adjustments that address the student’s learning needs and goals. You can use the principles of Universal Design for LearningExternal Link (UDL) to help with this step in the IEP process.

Make sure your teaching strategies, adjustments and supports include how to:

  • teach the skill
  • provide multi and varied opportunities to practice the skill
  • reinforce the skill
  • include other members of the SSG to target the skill.

4. Monitor and evaluate: assess the effectiveness of the approach

An IEP is tailored to the needs of the student. It’s important that IEPs are monitored and evaluated so they are responsive to the changing needs and educational progress of the student.

An IEP should be reviewed according to the timeline agreed on by the SSG. It’s recommended to review an IEP once a term.

In this stage you should:

  • determine if the teaching strategies, adjustments and supports provided have been effective and whether the student’s goals have been achieved
  • make educational decisions based on the information to determine if:
    • the goals should be modified
    • taught in different ways or changed
    • whether current teaching strategies, adjustments and supports should continue, or if they need to be revised or replaced
  • think about what is working or not working well.

Interaction with families and information collected and shared, must comply with:

SMART goals

SMART goals

The short-term goals in the IEP should be SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Agreed
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

The short-term SMART goals should be described in a manner that includes observable actions, a reasonable timeframe for accomplishing them and criteria that make it possible to measure the extent of the student’s progress.

Short-term SMART goals should lead to the achievement of long-term goals.

Some examples of SMART goals are available in the IEP summary guide on the Resources tab.

A student with diverse needs may require other plans to enable their learning. Plans should complement each other and be kept together so there are no contradictory goals and the student is not overburdened.

Other plans may include:



The department has created resources to support the development of IEPs including:

These resources are supported by the following professional learning for staff to develop IEPs:

These resources provide you with greater capacity to:

  • develop meaningful IEPs by applying a personalised learning and support framework
  • use a student-centred, collaborative approach to create and implement IEPs
  • monitor, record and drive student progress through goals, teaching strategies, adjustments and supports
  • support students – particularly vulnerable and disadvantaged students who may have multiple plans, by reducing duplication, loss of information or conflicting plans.

The following factsheet provides information for families on the Individual Education Plan and Student Support Group process for Koorie students:

The following toolkit provides guidance on how to identify and support high-ability students, including those who are not achieving their potential and may benefit from an IEP: High-ability toolkitExternal Link .

School Update articles relevant to this topic (staff login required)

Individual Education Plan (IEP) supportExternal Link – dated 13 October 2020

Reviewed 13 July 2020