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Students with Disability

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The Education Directorate is committed to effectively supporting students with disability in ACT public schools, actively engaging with parents and carers to provide inclusive, accessible and high quality education for all students.

Across Australia, all schools are required to make reasonable adjustments for students with disability at the time of their enrolment and during the course of their education, ensuring they have the support they need to successfully access and participate in the school curriculum, programs and activities on the same basis as their peers.

Our schools will:

  • consult with parents and carers to understand their child's education needs and the adjustments required to support the student
  • make the reasonable adjustments that are necessary to enable a student with disability to take part in education on the same basis as other students
  • assist students and families to feel safe and supported in the education environment.

Adjustments may be made in the areas of curriculum, environment and/or teaching methods, and will vary according to the needs of individual students.

All students in the ACT are able to enrol and attend their local Priority Enrolment Area (PEA) school, or can apply to access a range of programs for students who meet the ACT Student Disability Criteria.

Programs and Supports

Support is provided to eligible students from preschool through to year 12:

(See ACT Student Disability Criteria (305 kb))

  • All ACT public schools support eligible students through the Inclusion Support Program (ISP) from kindergarten to year 12, through which reasonable adjustments are made to meet the needs of students at a local school.
  • Hearing and Vision support is available for students from preschool to year 12. Specialist trained staff work with the child’s school and other involved services to support the student’s access to the curriculum.
  • Small group programs are provided at a range of public schools across the ACT for students from kindergarten to year 12.

Learning Support Centres (LSC)

LSCs are classes for students with a significant learning delay, a mild intellectual disability or who meet the ACT Student Disability Criteria for Autism. They are located in primary schools, high schools and colleges.

Learning Support Units (LSU)

LSUs are small classes located in primary schools, high schools and colleges. Students must meet the ACT Student Disability Criteria for Intellectual Disability or Autism to be placed in these programs.

Learning Support Units Autism (LSUA)

LSU-As are small classes located in primary and high schools. Students must meet the ACT Student Disability criteria for Autism.

  • P-10 School Disability Program (Harrison, Amaroo, Kingsford Smith, Namadgi and Caroline Chisholm)

Schools provide a range of flexible programs and supports to meet the needs of students eligible to access LSU and LSUA programs from the time of their enrolment through to their transition to year 11.

  • Specialist schools provide educational programs for students with high and complex needs who have a moderate to profound intellectual disability or Autism. There are primary schools and high schools on the north and south sides of Canberra.
  • The Support at Preschool (SAP) program works with schools to support the inclusion of children with developmental delay and disability in their preschool year.

For information on Student Engagement Disability Programs offered by ACT public schools in 2018 see Student Engagement Disability Programs 2018   (166kb)

Student Centred Appraisal of Need

When a student is eligible for Disability Education support, their needs will be assessed in a Student Centred Appraisal of Need (The Appraisal). The Appraisal meetings determine the extent of the student's needs in a variety of areas including communication, mobility, personal care and safety, social development and curriculum. Parents and carers are an important part of the meetings, which are guided by a trained moderator.

Please read the Student Centred Appraisal of Need: Booklet for Parents, Carers and Staff  (328 kb) for detailed information which will assist you in preparing for the meetings.

An Individual Learning Plan (ILP) is developed for all students who access Disability Education support. The plan is developed within the school in collaboration with families and other support staff. It refers to the areas of need identified in the Appraisal meeting. The plan links your child's needs to the curriculum, with input from parents, carers and families; teachers; and other people who may support your child.

Placement into Disability Programs

School teams, including the school psychologist, work with parents and carers to understand and support the student’s educational needs and the interventions necessary to support their learning and engagement. The school psychologist will support parents to consider the range of programs and supports the student is eligible for.

The school psychologist with parent consent completes the Disability Education Program Application (DEPA) when applying for ISP, LSC, LSU, LSUA and P-10 School Disability Programs.

Completed DEPAs are reviewed by Disability Education and an offer of placement is made to parents when there is capacity within a small group program.

Applications for Disability Programs are accepted throughout the school year, with placement offers made when there is availability (vacancies).

Inclusion Support Program (ISP)

Parents requesting ISP support enrol their child directly through the online enrolment process (below) and the school that offers the child’s enrolment will receive the ISP resourcing.

Enrolling in a Public School

Enrolment in Specialist School

Parents enrol directly via the online enrolment process (above) with the specialist school in the area where they live.

Transfers from Independent, Catholic, Interstate and Overseas Schools

Parents are required to contact Disability Education on 6205 6925 or to discuss the range of programs and supports available in ACT public schools and to complete the eligibility process. Parents will be asked to provide evidence including assessment reports to confirm their child’s eligibility. An offer of placement can only be made when a family has an ACT residential address.

Central Placement Panel

Central Placement Panel (CPP) is conducted annually to process applications from parents and carers requesting placement for their child in a small group program (LSC, LSU, LSUA, P-10 Disability Program) for the following year. CPP is primarily for those students entering kindergarten, years seven and eleven the following year as well as those new to ACT public schools or looking to access a different program. The school psychologist at the child’s current school works with parents and carers to complete the necessary application.

While parent/carer preferences are taken into consideration, CPP decisions and offers of placements are primarily guided by the:

  • Number of places available in each program
  • Location of the program in relation to student’s home address
  • Educational support needs of the student.

CPP 2018

In 2018 CPP will take place late term two, with parents being advised of their child’s placement for 2019 by the end of July 2018.This ensures parents, the sending and receiving schools and other involved professionals have time to plan a successful and well supported transition to the new placement.

Appeals and Concerns

Parents and carers should in the first instance talk with their child’s school when they have concerns about the educational program, their learning and development. The class teacher, school executive and school psychologist are all involved in ensuring students with disability are supported and able to access the curriculum. The school may also access additional supports through the Network Student Engagement Team (NSET) to assist the child’s participation, engagement and learning.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and School Education

The NDIS is a new way of supporting people with disability and can include funding for individual supports. The NDIS is administered by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). For information about the NDIS and school education:

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

ACT Education Directorate Disability Education Section

Disability Education:

For information about Disability Education programs, placement or the Appraisal process:

Phone: (02) 6205 6925

Concerns and Complaints:

ACT Public Schools Liaison Unit
Phone: (02) 6205 5429

Disability Education legislation and policies

Australian Government

Disability Standards for Education 2005
Disability Discrimination Act 1992
Privacy Act 1988

ACT Government

Human Rights Act 2004
Education Act 2004
Discrimination Act 1991

ACT Education Directorate

Enrollment in ACT Public Schools 2011
Students with a Disability: Meeting their Educational Needs 2008