Different kinds of support available in primary school
You will find a wide range of support options provided for your child in NSW public schools.
Your local public school is your first point of contact, and your voice is important.
You should discuss your wishes for your child’s education with your local school principal, as well as your child's specific needs and the different support options that are available.
You should always consider the support available in your local school, and you can talk with the school about how adjustments can be made to assist your child.
You can refer to Requesting support to find out more about contacting your local school and requesting different forms of support for your child.
Support for your child in mainstream classes
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 child’s teachers will talk to you about your child’s strengths and needs, and they can make adjustments to the way they teach in the classroom to help support your child’s learning.
Most students with disability are supported directly in their local school in mainstream classes.
Your local school can give your child support in mainstream classes through personalised planning and adjustments. Schools receive resources to support the learning and wellbeing of all students, including those with disability and additional learning and support needs.
All schools are resourced to be able to access a specialist teacher and an allocation of funding that the school can use flexibility to support their students.
Most NSW public schools have a learning and support team to work with you and your child, your child’s teachers and other professionals.
You can work with the school to:
- discuss your child’s strengths, interests and areas for development
- plan learning adjustments and supports
- monitor progress.
Additionally, if your child has complex health care needs, you can work with the school to help to set up a formalised health care plan.
Requesting physical changes to your child’s school
Your child’s school may be able to make changes to the physical environment to meet your child’s needs at any time during their schooling.
If possible, talk to your local public school before your child starts school about making sure the physical environment is accessible.
If you know or think the school may need to make changes to the building such as the bathrooms or ramps before your child arrives, then it would be ideal to contact the school two years before your child would be starting.
If your child needs additional support or specialist support provisions, your school will talk to you about the options for your child. They might suggest applying for Integration funding support (IFS) or a placement for your child in a support class in a mainstream school or a School for Specific Purposes (SSPs).
Some targeted and specialist programs or support services will require students to have a confirmed disability which meets the department’s disability criteria.
Integration Funding Support
If your child meets the Department’s disability criteria, extra support may be provided in mainstream classrooms through IFS. Your child’s school will need to discuss this option with you and in collaboration with you will lodge an access request for this additional funding.
The funding could be used to provide extra teaching staff or school learning support officers (also known as teachers aides), or it could mean your child’s classroom teacher is given more time for professional learning and to plan for your child.
IFS is only considered if the learning and support team decides that the school needs additional resources to provide adjustments to personalise learning and support for your child, or the most appropriate resource is extra teacher time and/or extra SLSO time.
Who are school learning and support officers (SLSOs)?
SLSOs, otherwise known as teacher’s aides, work under the direction and supervision of your child’s classroom teacher.
They provide assistance to the teacher for students with disability and additional learning and support needs at school.
Find out more about the different staff members who might be involved in supporting your child.
Itinerant support teachers
Itinerant support teachers hearing and vision work with students who have a confirmed sensory disability prior to school and in NSW public schools. They may visit your child at specific times throughout the week, and may work in partnership with your child’s class teacher.
Transition support teachers help teachers and high school students in mainstream schools and SSPs - as well as their parents and carers - with the process of moving from high school to adult life.
Other forms of support
Your child may also:
Support for your child in a specialised learning environment
For children with moderate to high needs, places in support classes in mainstream schools and Schools for Specific Purposes (SSPs) are determined by a panel who assess the needs of all children in the area. You cannot enrol your child directly into these classes, but your local school can lodge an access request to apply for a placement for your child.
Starting your child in a particular school setting does not mean they need to stay there. You can review your child's placement every year, or as needed. You can also decline a place if it's not what you want for your child.