Q: What is an IPRC meeting?
An IPRC is a meeting of a committee to decide whether or not a child should be identified as having special needs or ”exceptionalities” that fall under one of Ontario’s Ministry of Education categories. The initials stand for Identification, Placement and Review Committee. The IPRC process, which can at times feel a bit intimidating, is intended to be a cooperative one between the school and parents. The goal of the committee meetings is to ensure that the student has the support and resources necessary to be successful and to reach his or her full potential.
An IPRC may be requested by either the parents or the school. But once parents have made a request in writing, an IPRC must be held. The school is required to give parents 10 days’ written notice of the actual time and place of any IPRC meeting regarding their child, and the time of the meeting should be convenient for both the parents and the school. Parents have a right to be present and participate in all IPRC discussions about their child and should try to attend every IPRC meeting. Parents are allowed to bring their own representative to an IPRC meeting, and that representative may speak on the parent’s behalf or be present to support the parent.
The IPRC meeting usually includes the student’s teacher and/or guidance counsellor, the principal, a psychologist, a school board representative and the parents. Using information from the staff and parents, the committee will recommend a placement for the student, and the parents will be asked to sign a document agreeing to the committee’s recommendations.
The chair of an IPRC must consider any information submitted to it by the parent (e.g., a doctor’s diagnosis, assessments conducted by other professionals). If possible, all parties should share relevant information about the student before the meeting takes place. After making its decision, the chair of the IPRC must provide a written statement of decision to the parent or parents. If everyone is in agreement, the statement of decision may be signed at the IPRC meeting and a copy given to the parent — but parents may also take the document home to review it before signing.
The statement of decision must include:
- whether the Committee has identified the pupil as exceptional;
- where the Committee has identified the pupil as exceptional, the decision must include:
- the Committee’s description of the pupil’s strengths and needs;
- the categories and definitions of exceptionalities identified;
- the Committee’s placement decision; and
- the Committee’s recommendations, if any, regarding special education programs and services.
A key element of the IPRC decision is the proper identification of the child’s learning needs. The Statement of Needs on the IPRC document should include all the areas for which special education support is required. There is no limit on the number of needs that may be included on the IPRC document.
For further information you may refer to the Ministry of Education document which many parents find to be a very useful resource:
“Special Education: A Guide for Educators”, available on-line at:
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How many parents can really understand the IEP for their children? Does it represent the right needs? Can we disagree with it based on medical assessments from qualified professionals?... Matt, you've asked a lot of good questions here! A few years ago, an expert parent provided People for Education with this article. Although it doesn't answer all of your questions, I think you will find it helpful. View the full discussion.