Where and how your child can learn at high school

There are a range of services and programs available to support your child in NSW public high schools.

Our main aim is to make sure your child can go to your local public high school wherever possible.

You have an important role when it comes to deciding where your child will learn.

You are always welcome to discuss your child’s education, specific needs and support options with staff at your local school.

Mainstream classes

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 students can be supported in mainstream classes without a confirmation of disability or the need for a formal application process. Targeted or additional specialist support, however, does require a separate application process.

Support at high school

Every high school has a school learning and support team of education professionals. The team works collaboratively with you and your child, and other agencies where appropriate to meet the learning and support needs of each student.

All students can be supported from Years 7 to 12. Additional learning and support needs of some students may emerge at high school. Support planning can be initiated at any stage of a student's school life and any time during the school year.

The first step is to contact the school learning and support team or the school principal.

School learning and support team

At high school, school learning and support teams may involve different personnel at different times depending on your child’s changing needs. The team may include the careers teacher, the year adviser and specialist teachers with expertise in supporting students with additional needs.

The school learning and support team assists teachers by personalising learning and support for your child according to their individual needs. This may involve help with subject choices and deciding on a program of study that meets your child’s individual needs and future goals and aspirations.

Adjustments to learning and teaching

Many students with disability will meet curriculum requirements by participating in learning based on the mainstream syllabus content and expected outcomes. Some students may require adjustments or may access syllabus outcomes from an earlier stage. A small number of students may access Life Skills outcomes in one or more courses. Decisions about curriculum options for students with disability are made collaboratively as part of the NSW Education Standards Authority’s (NESA) Collaborative Curriculum Planning process

Some students may require additional support including adjustments to teaching, learning and assessments. Adjustments should be discussed and agreed with the student, parents and carers, and the school's learning and support team.

Extra support

If your child has a disability, and meets the department’s eligibility criteria, extra support may be provided in mainstream classrooms through Integration Funding Support.

To do this, an Access request application will be completed by your local school. If the application is successful it may mean the school has access to additional teachers or School learning support officers (SLSOs). It may also mean that your child’s classroom teacher is given more time for professional learning and to plan adjustments for your child.

Vision or hearing support

If your child is blind or has low vision, or is deaf or hard of hearing, an application can be organised and submitted by your local school to apply for an Itinerant Support teacher Hearing or Vision.

Support classes

Support classes are located in some mainstream high schools, central schools and Schools for Specific Purposes (SSPs) across NSW.

Support classes have fewer students and provide a specialist setting where your child can learn with other students who require similar adjustments.

They support students with diverse needs including those with intellectual disability, mental illness, autism, physical disability or sensory disability, and students with behaviour disorders.

Your local school will discuss what specialist supports your child is eligible for, and will complete the application with you if this is the most appropriate option for your child.

This option is available when:

  • Your child has complex support needs and meets the department's eligibility criteria.
  • An access request application is completed by the school in collaboration with you and signed by you. A placement panel considers this application and makes a recommendation.


  • Teaching and learning


  • Additional needs
  • High school
  • Primary school

Business Unit:

  • Inclusion and Wellbeing
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