What is an IPRC?
The Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) is a school board committee that decides whether your child is exceptional and requires special education programs and services. They also decide the Placement within the school and the decision is reviewed annually.
- I = Identification – Decide whether your child is “exceptional”
- P = Placement – Decide on the best placement for your child
- R = Review – Each year Review whether the Identification and Placement is still appropriate
- C = Committee – The Principal (or designate) and two other school board staff
Why should you have your child identified as “exceptional’ through the IPRC Process?
When the school board committee determines the student is “exceptional” and in need of special education programs and services decision of the IPRC is an official recognition that the child is in need of additional supports from the school board. As part of the IPRC process the school board must:
- Invite you to the IPRC meeting to participate in the discussions
- Provide you with a Parent Guide about the IPRC process
- Inform you of your right, or the right of a student over age 16, to appeal the decision of Identification or Placement.
In addition, the school board must develop an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for the student within 30 school days.
The IPRC process usually begins after your child’s school has been supporting your child for some time and when it is clear that the student needs additional supports. The school team may have already met with the parents and decided that the student needs:
- Accommodations (such as specialized equipment or computer software);
- Modifications (changes to the grade level curriculum, reduced learning expectations, or curriculum from a different grade);
- Alternative program (learning expectations, not in the Ontario curriculum, such as reading Braille of behaviour skills), or;
- Placement that provides the support they need
The school team meeting could have decided the student needs an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or a referral to the IPRC. The IPRC process is determined by Regulation 181/98 of the Education Act. The Regulation includes a description of the IPRC process, the roles and responsibilities of the school, the rights of the parent/guardian to request an IPRC and appeal the decisions of identification and placement. To find out more about the IPRC, you can check the Ministry of Education article, Highlights of Regulation 181/98.
Tips for Preparing for the initial IPRC or Annual Review
For students with physical disabilities, the strengths and needs of the child may have been identified as an infant or preschooler. In these cases, the IPRC process may occur in kindergarten, especially if the student requires significant changes to the classroom environment or program. For most other students with physical disabilities, it will occur when it becomes clear that the student needs accommodation, modifications or alternative plans.
Schools and classroom teachers are constantly assessing students and their progress. When concerns are identified the first step may be a meeting between the parent and the teacher. If help is needed, from other school staff, a school team meeting may be held and the parent will be invited to attend. A school team meeting may lead to referrals for further assessments, the development of an Individual Education Plan or consideration for an Identification, Placement and Review Committee.
Under Regulation 181/98, parents and/or guardians must be invited to the IPRC and it is recommended that they make every effort to attend. The discussion at the IPRC should not be surprising to the family as there should have been many meetings and conversations with the family before the IPRC. The school may call the Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) or requested by the parent. In either case, there should have been school team meetings and discussion with the family about the student’s strength and needs well before the IPRC is held.
Before the IPRC:
- Attend any prior meetings about your child at the school or with the teacher
- Respond to the invitation to the IPRC and, if you can’t attend, ask for a change of time or date
- Ask the school for information on the IPRC role and obtain a copy of the school board Parent Guide
- If you need more information about the IPRC, check the Ministry of Education Website or contact an association like Easter Seals Ontario for additional resources about the IPRC process and your role
- Look at the proposed exceptionality and placement on the invitation to the IPRC and consider whether you agree with the proposal
- Check the school board’s website to review the definition of the exceptionality and the placement options
- Review all of the information you have about your child, including assessment and teacher reports
- Request copies of any new assessments or reports that will be used in the IPRC
- Find out who is going to represent the school board on the IPRC committee. Usually, there are three people, including the principal or designate
- If there will be people you don’t know, ask about their role in your child’s school life
- Organize the materials you would like to take to the meeting including any reports including the most recent Individual Education Plan (IEP) or previous IPRC Statement of Decision (if you have them)
At the IPRC:
- Take someone with you to the meeting, usually your spouse or partner, or a friend or relative that can take notes and provide you with support
- At the start of the meeting, ask for introductions for everyone at the meeting
- Come to the meeting with an open mind, ready to listen to the opinions and ideas of the school staff
- Be clear about your concerns and be specific in your requests and responses
- Share your thoughts in a clear and organized way
- Share any reports or information that provide information about your child and their strengths and needs
- Be realistic about your expectations and requests
- At the end of the meeting, you will be asked to sign the Statement of Decision for the identification of exceptionality and the placement. You should only sign the form if you are satisfied with the decisions
Following Your IPRC Meeting
Requesting another meeting or appealing the IPRC Decision:
- If you are unsure about the committee decisions, ask for a few days to think about the meeting before signing the form
- If you are dissatisfied with the committee decisions, you can request another session, or let the principal know you will be filing an appeal
- A request for another meeting must be made in writing within 15 days of the IPRC meeting (as per Regulation 181/98)
- A notice of appeal must be sent in writing to the Principal within 30 days of the IPRC meeting, or 15 days of the second meeting (as per Regulation 1818/98)
- While the decision of the IPRC is under appeal, the board can’t change the placement of your child
- The process for an IPRC Appeal and the timelines that must be followed carefully. For more information on the Appeal Process, check Part VI, Appeals From Committee Decisions, Section 26 – 31 of the IPRC Regulation 181/98
After the IPRC:
- Keep all of your notes from the IPRC, and the Statement of Decision in your records
- The Individual Education Plan (IEP) for the student will be developed following the IPRC decision
- Parents/guardians are to be involved in the development of the IEP
- The IEP will build on the decisions of the IPRC and the student strengths and needs identified in the IPRC decision
- For tips on how to participate in the IEP process see the Tip Sheet on Developing an IEP