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  What Works - The Work Program

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Think about individual students first

One strong message of these materials is to start with individual students. Even where there is no whole school plan this is a strategy that has frequently paid dividends for all concerned; it is within the power of any teacher as an individual to implement and make a difference.

The planning process outlined in these materials (defining appropriate goals and setting targets) can be applied as readily to individuals as it can to groups.

In a way, we are talking about aspects of 'case management'. This term did not originate in the field of education. However, it finds ready application there because teachers are already used to dealing with the individual needs of students.

Personalised Learning Plans (PLPs)

One aspect of case management that has become a national focus is the idea of a ‘Personalised Learning Plan’ (PLP).

States and territories have their own formats and procedures for these plans, so please refer to those. Here are some salient points to bear in mind.

  • PLPs work best when they are focused not on rectifying a particular issue like attendance, but on students’ longer-term aspirations and goals. This increases the level of seriousness and suggests that education has purposes which are not out of reach.
  • Think carefully about manageability. There is a temptation to want to include everything you can possibly think of in a learning plan. It is no good developing a complicated system that will fall into disuse quickly. As always, focus on the main objectives and ensure sustainability.
  • As in other planning, break action down into achievable steps, so that everyone involved can see where it is going and know where it is up to.
  • Make sure that parents and carers are involved. They are partners, and their active role can also be specified in the planning. Be as detailed as possible about this. Similarly, ensure that regular communication with parents and carers is specified, and don’t assume that asking parents to come to the school is necessarily the best procedure. Get advice from the people themselves. ( A page about PLPs as part of a process of partnership with parents and community is included elsewhere on this website.)
  • Document the whole process in a straightforward, accessible way.
  • Make sure that student achievement is rewarded and celebrated.
  • Don’t let a successful planning process be a one-off. Play a role in the transition to the next school year or stage.
  • In situations where transience or mobility of students is a fact of life, establish ways of sharing information across schools. (This does, of course, require the consent and agreement of the student and his or her carers.)

More detailed information can be found in 'Core Issues 10: Using Personalised Learning Plans', which can be accessed through the link to the right of this page.


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