Support Planner:  Goals


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Clear shared goals enable achievement and cooperation

If a student is identified as a 'frequent flyer' or in need of substantial support and on-going monitoring

1. They should be receiving everyday support

2. They should have a main goal

3. The goal should be positive

3. Everyone (staff, student, family) should be able to understand the goal

5. It should be useful to all concerned in measuring progress

Stating goals

Goals are about outcomes:

  • things the student will be able to do, that will
  • contribute to his/her success and well-being now and in the future.


Consider using goals like

  •  "J to manage difficult situations successfully " focuses on achieving success and well-being rather than "Control temper" which focuses on reducing  failure. A subtle but important difference. 
  • Similarly "J to cooperate promptly with proper instructions & requests" is more specific and might be better than "Modify behaviour". It also indicates a measure of progress (how promptly J cooperates.

Monitoring ISPs

Some ISPs are monitored daily and recorded weekly. In most cases this monitoring should be undertaken in relation to the goal. For example, if the goal is about attendance ("At school, on time and ready for work") then these are the three things being measured. The record might be


Fri 26/6     W=332A3   Often arrived late but much better organised most days

Working WITH students ON achieving the goal

Many students don't really understand what the school is trying to do and how. Perhaps the best way to rectify such situations is to work ON the goal WITH the student (and family...)

  • setting the goal
  • finding ways it can be achieved
  • monitoring progress


 It works best when the teacher can lead the conversation as coach with discussion points  like:

    - what makes situations difficult, when and where

    - what success means in different situations

    - whose success and well-being is important

    - when difficult situations have been difficult but managed (success to be celebrated), 

    - recognition of some success in the midst of some 'failure'...

    - what was the difference (and how this can be useful in future)

    - changing the balance between success and failure as a measure of progress

    - when it is OK even important to be angry

    - ...

A paradox

If you are good at trouble shooting and keeping the peace then you may be poor at goal setting!! 


Our preferences and hopes often make it difficult to identify the goal:

  • 'trouble shooting' teachers tend to go straight to opposing the problem ("Stop aggressive behaviour") 
  • 'therapist teachers' tend to go to the treatment ("Arrange anger management") 

When the shared goal is really "Full participation in all classes" it opens the door to collaborative troubleshooting, 'therapy', planning, celebration....   But it all takes practice.

Formulating goals

It can be helpful to use an approach like:

"If  J's problems were magically removed overnight, what difference would we notice tomorrow? "


Make a list of your answers and choose the most significant item that you can achieve next.


Worth thinking about? I think so. Consider the boy at one Launceston primary who initially was a 'frequent flyer' (10 -15 incidents per week). Eight weeks later he had not been involved in an incident for two weeks. The reason: the school and the student had been setting weekly goals and monitoring progress. Consider the return on the time and energy invested.


Another version of broken windows.!!

Two Goals

Note that there are two places in the Planner where you can specify a goal for student:


Firstly, in main Student Record (as above): this goal is intended to be the main current focus for

  • supporting the student
  • monitoring progress
  • shaping the main efforts and responses of the school, the student and the student's family.

That is, this goal is the main talking point.

Example: the main goal may be "Full participation in all classes"

Secondly, in an Agreement: this secondary goal may be the same or it may be more specific

Example: the goal of the agreement may be "Arrive at school on time everyday" or "Manage medication as prescribed". 

The agreement will spell out who will do what in achieving this specific goal.



Ivan Webb Pty Ltd 2001 onwards