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What is an Individual Development Plan?

What is an individual development plan?

An individual development plan is created through collaboration with the child and parent/ carer or young person in partnership with wider agencies that may be involved such as health and social care professionals.

The individual development plan will say what the child or young person needs to be able to learn, setting out:

  • what’s important to and for them;
  • a description of their learning needs; and
  • what will be done so they are properly supported in school or college and the additional learning provision (ALP) required to meet their additional learning needs.

This will be reviewed on an annual basis or sooner if necessary.

Over the next three years, individual development plans (IDPs) will replace all the plans we have now including:  

  • statements of Special Educational Needs (SEN); 
  • individual education plans (IEPs) for learners currently supported through Early Years Action/School Action or Early Years Action Plus/School Action Plus; and
  • learning and Skills Plans (for learners over 16).


The new ‘Decision Making Duty’ on the school

When a school is made aware that a child or young person at the school may have ALN, it must decide whether that child or young person does have additional learning needs unless:

  • an IDP is already in place;
  • a decision has already been made that the child or young person does have ALN and the needs have not changed; or
  • if the young person does not consent to the decision being made.


Reconsideration of decisions

A child, young person or parent can ask the local authority to reconsider the decision of the school regarding the child/ young person’s ALN. 

The local authority must then decide whether the child or young person has ALN or not. When this happens, the local authority must inform the school of the request and ask for further information from them. The local authority may or may not uphold the school’s decision. In the event that the local authority does not uphold the school’s decision, it may direct the school to write an IDP.

If a child or parent/ carer, or young person is unhappy with the IDP, they can request the local authority to reconsider the plan.  The local authority may revise the plan, order the school to revise the plan or confirm the plan is appropriate.

Where the plan is maintained by the school, a child, their parent(s)/ carer(s) young person or school can also request that a local authority take over responsibility for maintaining the plan from the school.

The local authority must decide whether to take over the plan (unless it has previously made a decision and the child or young person’s needs have not changed significantly and there is no new information to effect the decision). Where the local authority decides that it will not take over the plan, the child and parent(s)/ carer(s) or young person must be informed of this in writing.