Parent Guide

The Board recognizes the individual needs of each student. The Board's Catholic philosophy supports integration and the belief that all students belong together. We emphasize meeting the individual needs of each student.

The Education Act requires that school boards provide, or purchase from another board, special education programs and services for their exceptional students. This guide will provide you with information about the Identification, Placement, and Review Committee (IPRC), and set out the procedures involved in identifying a student as "exceptional," deciding the student's placement, and appealing such decisions if you do not agree with the IPRC.

A list of community resources follows to provide you with more information. This guide is also available in Braille, large print, or on audio-cassette by contacting Special Education Services at the Catholic Education Centre.

What is the Identification, Placement, and review Committee (IPRC)?

An IPRC is a committee that meets to identify students who have exceptional needs and determine the placement. All school boards are required to set up an IPRC. An IPRC is composed of at least three people, one of whom must be a Principal or a Supervisory Officer of the Board. Parents are invited and encouraged to attend the meeting.

What is the role of the IPRC?

The IPRC will:
  • Decide whether your child should be identified as exceptional
  • Identify the areas of your child's exceptionality, according to the categories and definitions of exceptionalities provided by the Ministry of Education
  • Decide an appropriate placement for your child
  • Review the identification and placement at least once in each school year

Who is an exceptional pupil?

An exceptional pupil is "a pupil whose behavioural, communicational, intellectual, physical, or multiple exceptionalities are such that he or she is considered to need placement in a special education program." Students are identified according to the categories and definitions of exceptionalities provided by the Ministry of Education.

What is a special education program?

A special education program is an educational program that:
  • Is based on and modified by the results of continuous assessment and evaluation
  • Includes a plan (called an Individual Education Plan or IEP) containing specific objectives and an outline of special education services that meet the needs of the exceptional pupil

What are special education services?

Special education services are the facilities and resources, including support personnel and equipment, necessary for developing and implementing a special education program.

What is an IEP?

An IEP is a plan containing specific objectives and an outline of special education services that meet the needs of the exceptional pupil. If your child has been identified as an exceptional student, an IEP must be developed in consultation with you.

The IEP must include:
  • Specific educational expectations
  • An outline of the special education program and services that will be received
  • A statement about the methods by which your child's progress will be reviewed
  • For students 14 years and older (except those identified as exceptional solely on the basis of giftedness), a plan for transition to appropriate post-secondary school activities, such as work, further education, and community living
The IEP must be completed within 30 days after your child has been placed in the program, and the Principal will ensure that you receive a copy of it.

How is an IPRC meeting requested?

To request an IPRC meeting, you can submit a written request to the principal of your child's school. With written notice to you, the principal may also refer your child to an IPRC when the principal and your child's teacher believe that your child may benefit from a special education program.

Within 15 days of receiving the request or giving notice, the principal must provide you with a copy of this guide, an acknowledgement of your request, and a written statement of approximately when the IPRC will meet.

May parents attend the IPRC meeting?

Yes. Parents and students 16 years of age and older may be present at all committee discussions and when the committee's identification and placement decision is made.

Who else may attend an IPRC meeting?

  • The Principal of your child's school
  • Other resource people such as your child's teacher, special education staff, Board support staff, or other professionals, who may provide further information or clarification
  • Your representative - a person who may support you or speak on behalf of you and your child
  • An interpreter, if one is required (you may request the services of an interpreter through the Principal of the student's school prior to the IPRC meeting)

Who may request that others attend?

Either you or the Principal of your child's school may make a request for the attendance of others at the IPRC meeting.

What information will parents receive about the IPRC meeting?

At least 10 days in advance of the meeting, the chair of the IPRC will provide you with written notification of the meeting and an invitation to attend as an important partner in considering your child's placement. This letter will notify you of the date, time, and place of the meeting, and ask you to indicate whether you will attend. Before the IPRC meeting, you will receive a copy of any information about your child that the chair of the IPRC has received. This may include the results of assessments or a summary of information.

What if parents are unable to make the scheduled meeting?

If you are unable to make the scheduled meeting, you may:
  • Contact the school Principal to arrange an alternative date or time
  • Inform the school Principal know you will not be attending
As soon as possible after the meeting, the Principal will forward to you, for your consideration and signature, the IPRC's written statement of decision noting the decision about identification and placement and any recommendations regarding special education programs and services.

What happens at an IPRC meeting?

  • The chair introduces everyone and explains the purpose of the meeting
  • The IPRC will review all available information about your child
The committee will:
  • Consider an educational assessment of your child
  • Consider, subject to the provisions of the Health Care Consent Act, 1996, a health or psychological assessment of your child conducted by a qualified practitioner, if they feel that such an assessment is required to make a correct identification or placement decision
  • Interview your child with your consent if your child is less than 16 years of age, if they feel it would be useful to do so
  • Consider any information that you submit about your child or that your child submits if he or she is 16 years of age or older.
  • Discuss any proposal that has been made about a special education program or special education services for the child
  • Make its decision after all the information has been presented and considered
You are encouraged to ask questions and join in the discussion.

What will the IPRC consider in making its placement decision?

Before the IPRC can consider placing your child in a special education class, it must consider whether placement in a regular class with appropriate special education services will:
  • Meet your child's needs
  • Be consistent with your preferences
If, after considering all of the information presented to it, the IPRC is satisfied that placement in a regular class will meet your child's needs and that such a decision is consistent with your preferences, the committee will decide in favour of placement in a regular class with appropriate special education services. If the committee decides that your child should be placed in a special education class, it must state the reasons for that decision in its written statement of decision.

What will the IPRC's written statement of decision include?

The IPRC's written statement of decision will state:
  • Whether the IPRC has identified the your child as exceptional
  • Where the IPRC has identified your child as exceptional
  • The categories and definitions of any exceptionalities identified, as defined by the Ministry of Education
  • The IPRC's description of your child's strength and needs
  • The IPRC's placement decision
  • The IPRC's recommendations regarding a special education program and special education services
  • Where the IPRC has decided that your child should be placed in a special education class, and the reasons for that decision

What happens after the IPRC has made its decision?

If you agree with the IPRC decision, you will be asked to indicate, by signing your name, that you agree with the identification and placement decisions made by the IPRC. The statement of decision may be signed at the IPRC meeting or taken home and returned.

If the IPRC has identified your child as an exceptional pupil and if you agree with the IPRC identification and placement decisions, the Board will promptly notify the Principal of the school at which the special education program is to be provided of the need to develop an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for your child.

Once a student has been placed in a special education program, can the placement be reviewed?

A review IPRC meeting will be held at least once in each school year, unless the Principal of the school at which the special education program is being provided receives written notice from you dispensing with the annual review.

You may request a review IPRC meeting any time after your child has been in a special education program for 3 months.

What does a review IPRC consider and decide?

With your written permission, the IPRC conducting the review will consider the progress your child has made in relation to the IEP. It will consider the same type of information that was originally considered by the IPRC, and any new information.

After review, the IPRC will decide whether the placement should continue or if a different decision should now be made.

What can parents do if they disagree with the IPRC decision?

If you do not agree with either the identification or the placement decision made by the IPRC, you may:
  • Within 15 days of receipt of the decision, request that the IPRC hold a second meeting to discuss your concerns, or
  • Within 30 days of receipt of the decision, file a notice of appeal with the Director of Education & Secretary/Treasurer of the Board
If you do not agree with the decision after the second meeting, you may file a notice of appeal within 15 days of your receipt of the decision. If you do not consent to the IPRC decision but you do not appeal it, the Board will instruct the principal to implement the IPRC decision.

How do I appeal an IPRC decision?

If you disagree with the IPRC's identification of your child as exceptional or with the placement decision of the IPRC, you may, within 30 days of the receipt of the original decision or within 15 days of receipt of the decision from the second meeting described above, give written notification of your intention to appeal the decision to the Director of Education & Secretary/Treasurer.

The notice of appeal must:
  • Indicate the decision with which you disagree
  • Include a statement that sets out your reasons for disagreeing

What happens in the appeal process?

The appeal process involves the following steps:
  • The Board will establish a special education appeal board to hear your appeal. The appeal board will be composed of three persons who have no prior knowledge of the matter under appeal, one of whom is to be selected by you
  • The chair of the appeal board will arrange a meeting to take place at a convenient time and place, but no later than 30 days after he or she has been selected (unless you and Board provide written consent to a later date)
  • The appeal board will receive the material reviewed by the IPRC and may interview any persons who may be able to contribute information about the matter under appeal.
You and your child, if he or she is 16 years old or over, are entitled to be present at and participate in all discussions.

The appeal board must take its recommendation within three days of the meeting ending. It may:
  • Agree with the IPRC and recommend that the decision be implemented
  • Disagree with the IPRC and make a recommendation to the board about your child's identification or placement or both
The appeal board will report its recommendations in writing, to you and to the school Board, providing the reasons for its recommendations.

Within 30 days of receiving the appeal board's written statement, the school Board will decide what action it will take with respect to the recommendations. Boards are not required to follow the appeal board recommendations

You may accept the decision of the school Board or appeal to a Special Education Tribunal. You may request a hearing by writing to the secretary of the Special Education Tribunal. Information about making an application to the tribunal will be included with the appeal board's decision.

What special education programs and services are provided by the Board?

Each school Board in Ontario has a Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) that is made up of Trustees and representatives of local associations.

If your child has been identified by the IPRC as a exceptional student, the following placement options are provided by the Board.
  • A regular class with indirect support. The student is placed in a regular class for the entire day, and the teacher receives specialized consultative services.
  • A regular class with resource assistance. The student is placed in the regular class for most or all of the day and receives specialized instruction from a qualified special education teacher, individually or in a small group, within the regular classroom.
  • A regular class with withdrawal assistance. The student is placed in the regular class and receives instruction outside of the classroom from a qualified special education teacher for less than 50 per cent of the school day.
  • A special education class with partial integration. The student is placed in a special education class for at least 50 per cent of the school day, but is integrated with a regular class for at least one instructional period daily.
  • A special education class full time. The student is place by the IPRC in a special education class for the entire school day.
Other options exist to meet the student's needs. For example, a need may exist to apply for admission to:
  • A provincial school for students who are blind, deaf, or deaf-blind, or a provincial demonstration school for students who have severe learning disabilities
  • A facility that provides the necessary care or treatment appropriate to the student's condition

What organizations are available to assist parents?

Many organizations are available to provide information and support to parents of exceptional students.

Ministry of Education

Community Resources - Peterborough

Community Resources - City of Kawartha Lakes

Community Resources - Northumberland County

Community Resources - Clarington and Durham Region

Provincial Offices

Provincial Schools

Schools for the Deaf

School for the Blind and Deaf

French-Language School for the Deaf and Demonstration School for French-Speaking Students with Severe Learning Disabilities, Including Learning Disabilities Associated with ADHD