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Individualized Education Plans (IEP's) Policy

Policy Issue

The Ministry of Education requires school boards to develop individualized education plans (IEPs) for students with special needs to ensure that students are working towards their educational goals.

In their policy document on special education, the Ministry of Education states that the process of developing an IEP is a collaborative and consultative process involving the student, parents, teachers, administrative and support personnel and representatives of districts/community agencies 1. For many students with special needs, IEPs are developed without their input, their parents’ input or even the classroom teachers’ input. Consequently the IEP do not reflect a full understanding of the student or their goals for intellectual, physical, emotional, social and career development.

Planning for transitions to new learning environments is also critical. While this takes additional time to coordinate and implement, smooth transition planning for students can enhance their opportunity to maximize their learning potential.

Even when plans are collaboratively developed, the required adaptations and modifications are not always provided to the student on a consistent basis. The IEP is only effective when the student’s education team uses, reviews and updates it throughout the school year.


To ensure that all students with special needs have a meaningful IEP that is collaboratively developed, implemented and monitored by the student’s education team.


The mandate to develop IEPs has been enshrined in legislation since 1995 and requires schools to develop IEPs for students with special needs “as soon as practical" after the student is so identified.

Policy Statements

  1. Students have the right to actively participate in the development, implementation and monitoring of their IEP.
  2. Parents have the right to actively participate as equal partners on their child’s education team and to be involved in the development, implementation and monitoring of the IEP.
  3. Implementation of the IEP is a joint responsibility shared by the student’s education team.
  4. IEPs must be reviewed and updated at least at every reporting period by the student’s education team, reflecting changes to the student’s circumstances, his or her progress and any plans for transitions.

1 Taken from Special Education Services: A Manual of Polices, Procedures and Guidelines.