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Interactive Factors Framework Guidance

Within educational psychology practice, we identify factors which may have an impact on a child’s wellbeing and ability to access learning. These factors (and how they interact) are considered in order to gain a wider view of the child or young person’s experience and to develop potential next steps. One type of framework that is frequently used, when considering this wider holistic perspective, is an Interactive Factors Framework (or IFF). The IFF encourages practitioners to explore variables at the levels of biology, cognition, behaviour and environment. The framework is a working document, which will help you to collate information on a CYP. It can be added to over time to provide an up to date ‘pen picture’ of the young person that you are working with.

Within school, this framework can be used to record information gathered about a particular child or young person.

This information can include:

  • Any key information
  • Observations
  • The child or young person’s views
  • Information gained through parent/carer/social worker consultation
  • ‘In house’ assessments
  • External assessment reports: including Speech and Language Therapy Service Occupational Therapy Service, Joint Assessment Clinic, Advisory Teachers, Educational Psychology Service

When to use an IFF:

  • During initial information gathering, when a child or young person is first raised. Write down all of the information that you have in each of the relevant areas.
  • In the ‘assess’ phase of the graduated response. Also write down any areas of weakness or strength which have been identified through assessment.
  • As an ongoing record, over time. Add in new information as needed.
  • As the basis for discussion with class teachers or key workers. Use the filled in framework to think about the child’s strengths and areas for development. You may wish to link factors which you feel are related. An example follows: difficulty managing change and being distractible.
  • To identify needs in the ‘planning’ phase of the graduated response. Use your information to choose and prioritise areas for intervention. Example: count down to the end of activities and sensory activities after break times.
  • As the basis for consultation with specialists (Educational Psychologists or Advisory Teachers, for example). You can talk through your understanding of the child with professionals. They will use their professional knowledge to develop a working hypothesis and discuss next steps with you.
  • During the ‘review’ phase of the graduated response. The IFF should be used to reflect on impact of interventions and new information can be added. Consider whether progress has been made. Have you seen any changes in behaviour? It is also helpful as a framework for thinking about next steps or areas for exploration when interventions are not as successful as hoped for. Were the agreed strategies actioned? Did anything impact on the support provided? What did change?
  • To provide a record of assessment and intervention over time. Over time, your IFF can become a record of what is happening for the child that you are working with. When written effectively, it provides a child centred picture of the child in context. It also enables adults to remain reflective about and responsive to the child’s needs, which may change over time.
  • To support the application for an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment. When this approach is used effectively, it facilitates meaningful engagement on the assess, plan, do review cycle. It also provides the basis for communicating the child’s journey to other professionals.

Last updated 1 November 2021

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