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Teachers' Knowledge and Practice Relating to the Individual Education Plan and Learning Outcomes for Pupils with Special Educational Needs

Authors: Ní Bhroin, Ó., King, F. and Prunty, A.

Source: Journal of Special Needs Education in Ireland, 29 (2), 78-90.

Summary: There is increasing evidence that the individual education plan (IEP) is an integral part of special educational needs (SEN) provision, and that the process of devising an IEP is important, and not just the finished product (Tennant, 2007). The Department of Education and Skills has supported the professional development of teachers in the IEP process through funding post graduate courses in SEN and Special Education Support Service (SESS) courses on individualised planning. A study was conducted to evaluate the impact of professional development specifically related to the IEP process on the understanding, knowledge and practice of teachers who had completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Special Educational Needs and on learning outcomes for their pupils with special educational needs (SEN). The study had two phases of data collection, the first involving the administration of a questionnaire and the second involving case studies incorporating individual and focus group interviews, observation of teaching and learning, and documentary analysis. This article reports on the first phase of the study with findings indicating that the IEP is an established feature of practice, functioning as a pedagogical tool but with potential for enhancement.