Education Institute

Students with disabilities and additional learning needs

  • The RCH Education Institute supports students with additional needs while they are in hospital. RCH teachers will work with each student and their school or kindergarten to develop or continue an Individual Education Plan (IEP) that outlines clear educational goals for the student and acknowledges and celebrates their progress. 

    Rights and responsibilities

    The Disability Discrimination Act says it’s against the law to discriminate against someone because of their disability. 

    The Disability Standards for Education explain what these laws mean for students with a disability. The standards say students with a disability have the same right to take part in their education as students without a disability.

    All education providers must meet the Disability Standards for Education. Your child has the right to take part in all education courses or programs on the same basis as their peers. Your child may need some reasonable adjustments to make sure they can take part.

    School Funding 

    Program for Students with Disabilities 

    The Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD) gives government schools extra funding to help them support students with disability and high needs. 

    Schools use the funding in different ways, depending on the needs of each child.

    There are seven categories of eligibility criteria:

    • physical disability
    • visual impairment
    • hearing impairment
    • severe behaviour disorder
    • intellectual disability
    • Autism Spectrum Disorder
    • severe language difficulties with critical educational needs.

    If you think your child’s school could apply for one of the seven categories of the PSD, talk to the school principal. When you meet, bring copies of your child’s medical reports and assessments along with you. 

    The Department of Education and Training website provides detailed information about PSD Funding in Schools  

    If your child is an NDIS participant this will not affect any PSD funding they get at school to support their education.

    Disability Inclusion 

    The Disability Inclusion program introduces a tiered funding model for students with disability with additional funding for schools to help students with disability take part in their education on the same basis as their peers.

    The tiered funding model and Disability Inclusion Profile are being introduced through a staged roll-out over five-years from 2021 to 2025 and will eventually replace the Program for Students with Disbilities (PSD)

    Disability Inclusion Profile

    The profile is a strengths-based process to help schools and families identify:

    • the student's strengths and needs
    • the educational adjustments schools can make to help students with disability.

    Key people who understand the student’s education and support needs will complete the profile together. This includes:

    • the student
    • their family
    • school staff and others, as appropriate.

    A newly created facilitator role will help schools and families work together through the new approach.

    Consult your school or the Department of Education website for more information about the roll out of the new Disability Inclusion program as your school may have already transitioned to this model. 

    Kindergarten funding

    Kindergarten Inclusion Support Program 

    The Kindergarten Inclusion Support (KIS) program is designed to equip kindergartens and early childhood educators with the resources they need to provide a program that is inclusive of all children, including those with complex medical needs or disability.  

    The KIS program supports early childhood educators to respond to the individual abilities, need and interests of children enrolled in their early years program. 

    Extra assistance from the KIS disability and complex medical needs programs may include:

    • specialist training and consultancy for early childhood educators 
    • minor building modifications
    • additional staffing support.

    Early Childhood Approach 

    The early childhood approach helps children younger than 6 with developmental delay or children younger than 9 with a disability and their families to access the right support when they need it.

    Children younger than 6 do not need a diagnosis to get support through the early childhood approach where there are concerns about their development.

    Visit the NDIS early childhood approach website to find out more about this funding. 

    Student Support Groups (SSGs)

    A Student Support Group gives you the opportunity to work with your child’s school to make decisions about their education and check their progress. 

    The group includes:

    • you – as your child’s parent or carer
    • the teacher or teachers who have responsibility for your child
    • the school principal or a nominee – for example, the assistant principal.

    It can also include:

    • any other people who work with your child, as agreed by the group – for example a social worker or medical professional
    • your support person or advocate – if you choose to use one
    • your child – if appropriate.

    Individual Education Plans (IEPs)

    Teachers use individual Education Plans (IEPs) to help plan for and address your child’s learning needs. They’re used if your child requires support or assistance accessing their education on the same level as their peers.

    Your child’s plan can be reviewed at least once a term, or as needed.

    Reasonable adjustments 

    To make sure your child has the same learning opportunities as children without disability, an education provider must make reasonable adjustments.

    Reasonable adjustments may include changes to the way your child is supported in their learning, changes to the kindergarten or school environment and providing additional supports.

    Visiting teachers 

    If your child has a physical disability, vision impairment or hearing impairment, visiting teachers can work with teachers to address your child’s learning needs.

    A visiting teacher can:

    • help teachers understand how best to support your child
    • supply documents such as reports for funding applications
    • give advice to teachers on your child’s progress
    • help your child use assistive equipment – for example, text to speech software or screen readers
    • help the school create an Individual Education Plan.

    Student Support Services (SSS)

    Student Support Services include psychologists, speech pathologists, social workers and other allied health professionals such as occupational therapists or youth workers.

    Speak to your school principal or wellbeing coordinator to discuss making a referral to these school based services. 

    Links and resources 

    Disability Inclusion in Victorian Government Schools 
    Policies, advice and information for schools, parents and carers.

    Catholic Education Melbourne - students with diverse learning needs 
    Information about support services in Catholic Schools for students with diverse learning needs.

    Independent Schools Australia (ISA) - Students with Disability 
    Information about funding and support in private and independent education settings.

    Disability Discrimination Act - Guide to Getting an Education 
    Information about how the Disability Discrimination Act applies to all schools and education settings.

    Association for Children with a Disabilty (ACD) Australia
    Information, support and resources for parents and carers of children with a disability.