Where to start

When to talk to your local school and how school staff can help you.

The department is committed to supporting you and making sure your child gets the best possible education.

We are well-prepared to support students with disability and additional learning and support needs, and our staff are ready to answer your questions. There is a place for every child at their local public school, and all children have the right to enrol in their local public school.

Your school's teachers will talk to you about your child’s strengths, needs and interests, and they can make adjustments to the way they teach in the classroom to help support your child’s learning.

What should I do first?

My child is younger than 4

If your child is younger than four and either has a diagnosed disability or you feel they have additional learning needs, contact your local public school.

They will put you in touch with your local student support services team, who you can also contact on 131 536. They can help you with:

  • What preschool options are available for your child.
  • Early intervention programs. These provide specialised support and services for infants and young children with disability and/or development delay.
  • The Kindergarten and primary school options in your area, and what resources are available for you in the community.
  • Requesting an exemption for your child, so they can start school when they are older than 6. They can explain the process to you, and tell you what you’ll need to do.

What are early intervention programs?

Early intervention programs are run by the NSW Department of Education and other government and non-government agencies. Early intervention programs provide services for children with disability from around the age of 3 years to school entry. These include educational programs that prepare children for transition to school.

My child is between 4 and 6

If your child is between 4 and 6 years old, you should contact your local public school. You can find out what your local public school is using the School Finder.

You can speak to the school’s principal, and request a meeting with the school’s learning and support team.

All children in NSW can enrol in their local public school. They will be able to help you if:

  • Your child has a diagnosis, and you want to talk about specific options for them.
  • Your child does not have a diagnosis, but you believe your child may need additional support at school
  • Your child has a physical disability, and you believe the school may need to make changes to the classrooms or playground.
  • You want to request an exemption for your child to start school later than 6 years of age. You will need to apply for this exemption before they turn 6.
If your child will need changes to the property such as installing ramps, adding railings or modifying bathroom then it is better to speak to them as early as possible.

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