How to build a learning plan template from scratch

This is the last in a series of help guides focusing on Insight's new learning plan feature. The first guide covers the basics of setting up, completing, and downloading a plan based on the default template. The second guide in the series shows how to make changes to the comment boxes and target columns. The third guide goes into more detail, showing how you can insert placeholders into the template to add extra information to the plan. And in this final guide, we will show you how you can pull all of these skills together to build your own template from scratch.

To ensure your downloaded learning plans are formatted correctly, Insight requires that the template contains specific Table Styles. Have a look at our guide to adding these styles before proceeding, as it may be easier to start with the Insight template which already includes them. If you are starting from scratch, note that you can delete the entire contents of the default template and the required tables styles will be preserved.

If you have experience of building parent report templates in Insight, or have used mail merge in Microsoft Office apps, then the steps outlined below will be familiar to you.

Design your template in Word

In the previous guides, we showed you how to download and edit Insight's default template. In this guide, we are going to miss this step and go straight to Word to design a form that best matches our requirements. Chances are you already have one, and that will be the best place to start.

Here's an example we can work on:

We now need to identify various components of the plan template:

  • Headings: the fixed text you want to appear on every plan. The school name and all the text in bold that appears above each table are examples, as is the text in cells in the tables e.g. Name and DOB, which defines the content of those cells.
  • Comment boxes: information that is not already stored in Insight and that will require a free text field. The fields 'what am I good at?' and 'parent view' are examples of comment boxes.
  • Targets: which part of the plan could be handled by Insight's learning plan target feature? Obviously, in this example, it's the table titled 'My Targets'. There is a specific placeholder for this, and column heading need to be defined as per template.
  • Assessments: which part of the learning plan could be handled by Insight's learning plan assessment feature? Obviously, in this case, it's the table titled 'My Assessments'. There is a specific placeholder for assessments.
  • Additional placeholders: the other bits of pupil information you want to add to the report that are stored in Insight. Commonly, this will be information about the pupil that transfers from your MIS. In the above example, these include: name, DOB, age, attendance, and SEND information.

Here's the template again, with the various components identified. Any text that acts as a heading (i.e. fixed text) is underlined for purposes of identification.

The good news is that any text identified as a heading (underlined in the template above) can stay as it is. No further action is required. Now let's go through the remaining steps to complete our template.

Remember: any change to the font in your template will be reflected in your final, downloaded plan.

Add the additional placeholders

This is a quick task. The first table in the example template will contain pupil details (e.g. name and age) and these require you to copy and paste the relevant placeholders from the provided list, as explained in the previous help guide.

Return to the Learning Plan Template admin area in Insight (click Admin>Learning Plan Templates) then click the New Template button. Don't select a template you have edited/created previously because the following steps will affect any changes you have made.

Keep the Learning Plan Admin area open in the background so you can easily switch between the relevant part of Insight and your Word template.

Now scroll down to the list of placeholders and copy and paste the relevant ones into your template. We'll start by copying the Full Name placeholder by clicking on the link.

Paste that into the template as follows:

Then copy and paste the other placeholders we need. The template now looks like this:

Comment boxes

The next stage is to set up the comment boxes. In our example template there are 9 boxes: 6 are above the targets section; 3 are below. This is important to the structure of our template. Return to the learning plan admin area in Insight, click the Edit Comment Boxes button, and make the necessary changes to the default comment boxes (as outlined in this help guide) to match the new template. Rename the comment boxes, add new ones as required, and click Save Changes.

You will note that the names of the comment boxes have now changed and each has a placeholder in the list. Copy and paste all of these placeholders into relevant areas of your template.

Our example template now has placeholders for pupil details and for comments.


The next step is to define the target columns and insert the placeholder into the template. Our template has 6 columns in the target area: outcome, need, action, resources, provision, and progress. To set these, again we need to go to the learning plan admin area in Insight. This time, click on the Edit Target Columns and make the necessary changes to default settings.

We do not need to create target columns for provision and progress because Insight adds these automatically. A provision column will allow you to select the relevant provision from the list you've created in Insight; a review column will allow you to state whether or not the pupil has met the target.

Click Save Changes. This will create a single placeholder, which you can copy and paste into the template.

This single placeholder contains all the information for all the columns, which means we can delete the table in our template and simply paste the target placeholder below the relevant heading i.e.

Before deleting the table, select it, click on Table Design tab in Word, expand the Table Styles options, and select New Table Style. Name the new table style LearningPlanTargets, select the All Borders option, and click OK. This will ensure that the targets are presented in a table with gridlines. Once you have completed those steps, you can delete the table.


As explained in the first help guide, you can select any assessment data stored in Insight and add it to the pupil's plan by clicking the Add Assessment button in the learning plan tab of the pupil page. As with all other information you want to present in the downloaded learning plan, assessments have their own placeholder. Similar to the targets placeholder, a single assessments placeholder contains all the relevant information for all the assessment data you are including in the plan; there is not a separate placeholder for each piece of assessment data. This makes things easy: just copy the single placeholder into the desired location on the template.

As with targets, we don't need the table for assessments in the template. We can delete that and simply paste the assessments placeholder beneath 'My Assessments' heading. Insight will place all the selected assessment data along with any comments in that location.

Before deleting the table, select it, click on Table Design tab in Word, expand the Table Styles options, and select New Table Style. Name the new table style LearningPlanAssessments, select the All Borders option, and click OK. This will ensure that the assessments are presented in a table with gridlines. Once you have completed those steps, you can delete the table.

Uploading the new template into Insight

Our learning plan template is now complete with all placeholders inserted, which means we can upload it into Insight. First, make sure you save the Word template. Then click on the Upload Word Template button in the learning plan admin area in Insight, select the Word file, and upload it. You should see a tick if it uploads successfully.

Now scroll up to the top of the screen in the learning plan admin area, click the Rename button and give the new template a meaningful name.

The template will now be listed in Admin alongside any other templates you have created.

Viewing the new template in the pupil page

Click on the pupils button and select a pupil that doesn't already have a plan. Then click on the Learning Plan tab and you should see the new template listed in the dropdown menu.

Select the new template and add some information, as shown in the first help guide in this series. You should see that the various fields have the correct names, as defined in the template.

Now click the download button at the top of learning plan tab to view the final learning plan.

The layout of the plan should reflect the format of the template. It can then be saved, printed and emailed, as required.

We hope this help guide has been useful. Please get in touch if you have any comments or questions.

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