Week 2: Creating an inclusive ethos and culture

3. Gathering and sharing information about learners

3.2. Individual Plans

All teachers need to gather information about their students. But for students with a particular need, more detailed information is needed.

In some systems, where disabled children are integrated into the mainstream, the child has an ‘individual plan’ that sets out their needs. In some countries this entitles them to extra, individual support from a teaching assistant, paid for by the Government. Whether or not a formal system exists, the idea of a plan which is centrally available for all the teachers who come into contact with that child, is a good one, as it gives the teacher a starting point. In the next activity you will look at an assessment of a disabled child about to enter mainstream, and make a plan that could be shared with his teachers. The first step is to observe the child and consider their needs under these main headings:

  • Sensory difficulties: checking for hearing and vision problems.
  • Physical ability and limitations: notably their use of hands - and any problems with sitting in chairs or on the floor.
  • Activities of daily living: such as dressing, toileting and eating.
  • Language development: understanding what is said to them as well as their level of expressive language.
  • Academic readiness: for learning to read, write and number work.
  • Behaviour and emotions: attention and concentration, their self-esteem, relationships with others.” Mariga, McKonkey and Myezwa (2014, p105)

When staff have some idea of the areas where the child needs support, they can use an individual plan to set some targets and action to work on, as well as to record any special resources or teaching activities that might help them.

Initial Assessment Case study

Sensory difficulties
David has problems with his hearing. He can follow what is said to him close-up when the other person’s mouth is visible but cannot follow the class teacher’s instructions easily if there is background noise.

Language development
David’s speech is not always clear, and he struggles to spell using the sounds in words.

Behaviour and emotions
David can get bored and frustrated in lessons and will sometimes stop paying attention. He has some friends but can be a little shy because sometimes children make fun of his speech and call him ‘slow’ and ‘retarded’.

He needs support to ensure he understands the learning and has followed the instructions in all lessons.

David’s views

David says that he would most like help with his writing because he wants to be a teacher when he grows up. He says he likes it when his friend sits next to him and they can work together.

Activity 2.4 Planning for individual needs

Allow approximately 30 minutes for this activity:

  1. Look at some examples of individual plans. Pay attention to the format and try and imagine how it would help the teacher support that child. 

  1. Download an Individual plan form including some example targets for David
  2. Compare these with any forms you already use
  3. Do they offer anything better/ different?
  4. How could you adapt them to fit in with your class/ setting/ role?
  5. Read the ‘initial assessment’ of David and the targets/ actions. What is the advantage of having a plan like this in place?