katherine zagotsis
Highly Accomplished Teacher. AAC Communication Partner & Advocate. Mum of one. Accidental Leader. Reflectionist, Mentor and life-long learner.

Engaging Now! 7.4

Demonstrating 4.5

NEP Meeting: switching roles and adapting to unexpected changes

May 12, 2018 | Focus Areas: | | | | | | | | | 2 COMMENTS

Last Thursday I held a Negotiated Education Plan (NEP) meeting to discuss the progress and future goals for one of my students, P. These plans are required for students who have Autism Spectrum Disorder, Global Developmental Delay, Intellectual Disability, Physical Disability, Sensory Disability-hearing or vision and speech/language disability.  As I work at a Special School, every child has one of these plans. This was the final NEP I had to do, having already completed the same process with the rest of the families in the class in Term 1. I had booked an interpreter and completed the personal details of the paperwork in the previous term. From experience, I know that filling in things like age, date of birth and student I.D numbers can take time away from other more meaningful conversations. My Pre-Service Teacher, Giulia had also asked me if she could sit in on this meeting. As it was held quite late, I was initially hesitant to allow her to do so and expressed my concern about adding to her workload. She was insistent that she would be fine and didn’t want to pass up a learning opportunity, which I thought showed a high level of professionalism. I was aware that I would have at least two extra adults attending the NEP.

Last Thursday I had also spent the day at Adelaide Convention Centre, learning all about the STEM 500 program, which you can read about here. My site is about half an hour away from the city, so I left the training early to get back in time, which was a logistical challenge in itself. I got back with 10 minutes to spare, greeted the parent, J. who was early and had a very brief chat with Giulia who was already in the meeting room, who said that J. was waiting for someone. Who?! Kicking myself that I didn’t have the paperwork in my bag, I raced back to the classroom to get it and took a minute to breathe. Walking back to the office, there was a man standing next to J. who introduced himself as a NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) support worker. Okay. Why are you here? It’s fine, you’re a professional. I shook his hand and then invited both of them into the room. The NDIS worker seemed eager to start, so I began early, but explained that I was still waiting for the interpreter. Having spent the last 6 hours sitting and listening to presenters, I then had to switch roles to leading the conversation. I began by introducing Giulia and clarifying that J. was comfortable with her sitting in, to which they agreed. I then began speaking directly with J. about P, finding to my surprise that their spoken English was a lot better than I had been told. (This is a parent that I rarely see dut to their work commitments ). I thought about my previous target to use the translate feature of Skype to help to build a stronger professional relationship and decided it was no longer relevant. The interpreter arrived on time, ten minutes later and I excused myself to greet him as there was no-one in the office at that stage. As the meeting progressed, I found it was only a few words that J. needed to be clarified. When it got to the written goals I’d set however, I observed J. turn to the interpreter and ask him to translate, which made me think about the notes I send home in the diary in English. Are they meaningful? Or is it a little overwhelming?

The NDIS worker then shared the goals that had been set as part of P’s plan. I had spent part of Giulia’s lead in days explaining how the NEP process worked, how the SMARTAR goals I write are based on the Australian Curriculum and a little on how I assess. Because of this, she was able to contribute a lot to the discussion, which she has written about here. We were able to clarify which goals were still relevant and which ones could be updated. He also asked about therapists, after school care and toileting. A lot of these questions were focused on financial concerns, including:

“If you were provided with recommendations from a speech therapist, would you implement them?”

”Yes, if the plan was reasonable and appropriate for the child, then yes I would.

“See, that’s the problem with the NDIS.”

I redirected the conversation back to J. I didn’t say this, but my priority as a classroom teacher is going to be curriculum. I checked in with J. by asking him if he was happy and did he have any questions. He responded by smiling and nodding his head. I have had meetings with parents previously where I’ve had to make changes, but in this case I was able P’s goals as they were, with the intention to review them at the next NEP meeting in Term 3.

As I was completing the paperwork, I showed Giulia each section to review as we went: the NEP itself, which is an organisational and legislative requirement, the academic goals and Positive Behaviour Support plan. I was also keeping an eye on the time, which is not something I usually do, but I knew that if we went over an hour, then the interpreting services would charge overtime. As it was, I closed the meeting earlier than I would have usually as I could feel myself losing concentration. As we were finishing, the NDIS support worker asked me if I had a card, to which I replied no, but wrote my name and email address down for him instead. I thanked everyone for their time and after they had left, placed all of the paperwork in my pigeonhole ready to be signed by someone from leadership.


  • Explore ICT to translate written notes. How accurate is Google translate and how am I going to know when I don’t speak Mandarin? What else is there? How am I going to do this respectfully and is it worth doing when I have access to others who can pass on information verbally?
  • Consider creating business cards for myself.

2 responses to “NEP Meeting: switching roles and adapting to unexpected changes”

  1. Very interesting to see your point of view as the person directing the meeting in comparison to mine as an observer. I thought you did a great job of being really clear and concise with your suggestions and feedback. Also appreciate how you took the time to show and explain parts of the process for me to learn from!

  2. I love the insight this post gives to the process of updating the NEP with the support of outside agencies and all whilst mentoring a student teacher! Great stuff… Here are some thoughts on some of the FAs I can see in here 🙂

    We could argue that you’re working with your colleagues to provide appropriate and contextually relevant opportunities for parents/carers here as you’ve organised for a translator and your PST to be involved. So bump that up!

    Is there evidence of HA 2.3 here? I can read how G is managing to easily talk about curriculum, assessment and reporting. You did that. Maybe, if you add a sentence int here about how you’ve been working with her on that. Or link to one of her posts where she talks about it?.

    H.A. 3.2 If you are able to talk a little more about what might have changed or stayed the same in relation to how this conversation effects planning going forward?

    In this same vain.. if you add something in here about how you’ve modelled your practice for G so that she was able to include then articulate her strategies in the meeting.. you could have HA 4.1
    HA 4.4 – Does this count as “system,curriculum and legislative requirements to ensure
    student well being and safety”? That’s what I see here 🙂

    You’re definitely giving G some support to 7.2 so that’s H.A. You might just need to use some of the wording in that FA to bring that home.

    What about Prof 7.2? This is an organisational and administrative requirement

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