Student support services

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The law and DET policy support your child’s right to get the support they need from general or specialised support services.

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Your child can have access to support services provided to all students, including student welfare and career advice services. They should also be able to get the specialised services that they need to participate in education on the same basis as their classmates, such as personal or medical support at school, access to therapists or other specialists to support their participation, or support from an education support worker (aide).

Under the Disability Standards for Education, schools and educational authorities are legally required to:

  • ensure that your child can use general student support services at the school without discrimination
  • provide or arrange for the provision of specialist support services necessary for your child’s participation in the educational activities for which they are enrolled
  • consult with you and your child about the provision of this support
  • make reasonable adjustments in light of that consultation, unless doing so would impose an ‘unjustifiable hardship’ on the school
  • repeat the process of consultation and adjustment over time to meet your child’s changing needs.

The Disability Standards for Education suggest that schools assist students to obtain this support by:

  • informing staff and families about the support services available
  • providing specialist services directly , or making arrangements with external service providers such as speech therapists, physiotherapists, personal or attendant carers, where this is required to meet a student’s particular needs
  • providing equipment such as communication devices and adaptive technology if needed
  • providing support staff with the necessary skills and training, such as note-takers, educational support workers, personal care/disability support workers and AUSLAN interpreters.

The right support to assist your child

The best way to ensure that your child gets the right support to meet their particular needs is to talk with your child’s teacher and other staff. Discussions about your child’s educational programs and support primarily happens in your child’s Student Support Group, and is documented in your child’s Individual Learning Plan.

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No requirement of parent contribution

Victorian law requires that Victorian government schools must provide students with ‘instruction in the standard curriculum program’ free of charge. Free instruction includes all of the following, where they are associated with the school’s standard curriculum program:

  • the provision of learning and teaching activities
  • instructional supports
  • materials and resources
  • administration and facilities.

Schools have flexibility within their budget to provide reasonable and necessary adjustments for all students, including students with disabilities. The costs associated with the administration and coordination of the standard curriculum program is considered to be part of free instruction and must not be passed onto parents.

The Program for Students with a Disability (and its equivalent in the Catholic and independent schools systems) provides supplementary funding to schools with defined populations of students with disabilities who have moderate to severe needs, within the eligibility criteria.

Victorian law provides that a parent of a student with a disability or impairment is not required to contribute to the cost of the provision of additional support for the education of that student. Some schools are open to parents or carers requests that work with a private therapist, for example, be incorporated into their child’s school day, for example, but such a contribution should never be asked or required of you.

  • For more information visit the DET website and search under ‘parent payments’.

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