Students with Disability

The Department of Education (DoE) through its Learners First Strategy 2017 (PDF, 470KB) is committed to enabling all students to achieve quality outcomes through their participation in an inclusive, high quality education system that is responsive to their needs through appropriate access and participation in the Australian Curriculum.

The DoE support our teachers and their school communities to understand and address the diverse learning needs of students. We enact the requirements of the Disability Standards for Education 2005 by implementing Learning Plans for students with disability so they have the same experiences and opportunities as their peers.

Students with disability are encouraged and supported to attend their local government school. Schools can assist students with a range of specialist services and resources. Each Learning Service in the state has a team of specialist staff such as social workers, school psychologists, speech and language pathologists and autism consultants.

There are four special schools across the state and four Early Childhood Intervention Services (ECIS) centres.

Autism Specific Programs – there are a number of diverse program options to assist the support needs of children and families. An Autism Specific class has been established at Lindisfarne North Primary School and Rose Bay High School in the South. In the North, Summerdale Primary School and Romaine Park Primary School operate Autism Support Classes, commencing in Term 3, 2017.

The DoE has a Frequently Asked Questions resource (PDF, 890KB) with more information on supporting all students with a focus on students with disability.

Funding Support for Students

In 2017-18, the DoE funding support for students with disability is $82.06 million. Schools use these additional resources broadly and flexibly to meet the varied teaching and learning needs of students.

A large component of this is individually targeted funding for students with disability aligned to meeting the needs defined within their Learning Plans. This includes schools having access to extra funding ranging from $5,000 to $36,000 per student each year to support teaching and learning programs to meet their learning needs.

Other funded support includes:

Teachers – 265.16 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE)

  • Support teachers
  • Register of Students with Severe Disability (SDR) teacher staffing
  • Special schools and Early Childhood Intervention Services (ECIS) teachers
  • Vision and deaf support teachers

Specialist staff – 151.55 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE)

  • School psychologists
  • Speech and language pathologists
  • Social workers
  • Autism consultants

Respectful Schools Support Team

  • one team based in each Learning Service consisting of a School Psychologist Behavioural (two staff in the North), a Behavioural Learning Leader (two staff in the North) and Teacher Learning Leaders (two staff in the South and North).
  • this team provides a focus on developing and embedding school wide positive behaviour approaches and building staff capacity regarding educational adjustments using the Australian Curriculum and building inclusive cultures and communities.

Professional Support for Students

Support teachers – are skilled teachers who support the school and classroom teacher to improve outcomes for students with disability and/or additional needs.

Speech and language pathologists – are qualified and skilled in assessing, diagnosing and managing speech, language and feeding disorders and difficulties. They work with students, parents, teachers and support staff to help students overcome development delays or disorders which affect their ability to communicate

Autism Consultants – are located in each Learning Service and provide individual consultations to schools in order to improve the educational outcomes of students who have or may have an Autism Spectrum Disorder and build capacity within schools. They provide a continuum of professional learning to school staff, communicate and work collaboratively with other agencies that provide services and support to young people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families and provide advice and support to families.

Physical Impairment Coordinators – are in each Learning Service area and provide support to schools, teachers and students (K–12) with high needs and disabilities. This includes students with physical, cognitive, sensory and social/emotional disabilities and reaches across the areas of ICT, manual handling, minor works and transport. The role includes coordinating professional learning for staff in the afore-mentioned areas as well as student and staff health issues.

Deaf and Hearing Impaired Service (DHI) – offers statewide specialist educational support for children from 0 to 18 years who have a hearing loss. DHI Service employs qualified Teachers of the Deaf, Auslan Interpreters, Teacher Assistants with signing skills and Deaf Tutors. These people work with schools and relevant agencies to support students with hearing loss and their families in home, school and community settings.

Vision Services – offers statewide specialist educational support for children from birth to 18 years of age diagnosed with structural vision impairment. Vision Services offers support from a specialist team of multidisciplinary educators, working across home, school and community settings. This support includes specialist vision teachers, orientation and mobility support and the provision of a range of assistive technologies and associated professional supports.

The Supporting Student Need webpage has more information on other services the Department provides to ensure learners have engaging learning opportunities in appropriate settings.