A Student Support File has been developed to enable schools to plan interventions and to track a student’s pathway through the Continuum of Support. It facilitates teachers in documenting progress over time and assists them in providing an appropriate level of support to students, in line with their level of need. Following a period of intervention and review of progress, a decision is made as to the appropriate level of support required by the student. This may result in a decision to discontinue support, to continue the same level of support, or move to a higher or lower level of support.
The Student Support File is available on the Department’s website and has the following features:
- A Word-formatted Student Support File, which allows schools to insert their own logo and to use and adapt the format as required
- A checklist which can be used (in part or in full) across all levels of the Continuum
- A flexible, generic ‘Support Plan’ and ‘Support Review Record’ that can be used at all levels of support
- An easy-to-view ‘Log of Actions’ page to summarise actions taken by the school
Many different types of support plans can be included in the support file. A support plan can take the form of a general plan for support, a behavioural plan or contract, an individual profile and learning programme, an individual educational plan or a personalised student plan. The support plan format suggested in this document is just one example of formats, and schools may wish to modify and adapt, as appropriate.
As special educational needs can vary from mild and transient to significant and enduring, educational planning should reflect the level of need of the individual student. In this regard, the Student Support File facilitates a graduated response across the different levels of the Continuum. For students with significant, enduring and complex needs, collaboration with external professionals, including multi-disciplinary teams, is advised (for example, occupational therapist, speech and language therapist and psychologist).
To support students with special educational needs effectively in schools and to ensure consistency of approach, it is important that all teachers (including subject teachers, special education teachers and guidance counsellors) have access to relevant information from the student’s support plan. This will help teachers to differentiate their subject teaching to meet the needs of their students, and to set specific targets related to their subject areas. Schools, therefore, need to develop systems for effective sharing of information, in accordance with data protection legislation.