Schools for specific purposes (SSPs)

In some cases you or your local school might suggest your child would benefit from attending a School for Specific Purposes (SSPs).

“I go to school in an SSP. All of the children at my school have additional needs and disabilities. We have a teacher and a school learning and support officer (SLSO). Our learning is personalised and adjustments are made to meet our needs. Our class is smaller.

My local school helped my family to apply for me to go into this class. My family couldn’t enrol me directly. My family can apply for me to move into a mainstream class or a support class at a mainstream school at any stage of my learning.”

SSPs are schools that support eligible students with a diagnosed intellectual or physical disability, autism, mental health considerations, sensory processing disorder or behaviour disorders.

SSPs provide intensive levels of support in a specialised setting and a range of support services, depending on the needs of the students. They also have smaller class sizes due to the student's higher needs, and they support students from Kindergarten to Year 12.

Where there is the capacity, a student with significant support needs can enrol at four years of age and repeat their kindergarten year.

SSPs review the placement of each of their students annually or when required. These reviews consider all aspects of a student's personalised learning and support, including whether or not the current placement is best meeting their learning and support needs.

Many SSPs also maintain active links with other nearby schools and their local communities. If your child was to attend an SSP, they may have access to support classes in mainstream schools or mainstream classes, and they would be supported to participate in community activities and training.

Image: SSPs provide intensive levels of support in a specialised setting and a range of support services, depending on the needs of the students.

How can my child enrol in a SSP?

You can’t enrol your child directly into a SSP but your local school can help you with this process.

The school will work with you to determine if your child is eligible and if this type of support will meet their needs.

This option is available when:

  • Your child has significant support needs and meets the department's disability criteria.
  • This type of support will meet their needs.
  • An application is completed in consultation with you. This is usually arranged by the learning and support team at the school your child is enrolled in.
  • A local support class panel considers it and makes a recommendation.

This application is called an ‘access request’.


Other schools for specific purposes

Other schools for specific purposes provide intensive levels of support for students who have disruptions to their education due to ill health or injury, complex learning difficulties or significant mental health needs.

Hospital schools

Hospital schools provide educational services for students who are inpatients in some hospitals in NSW. Hospital schools provide an emotionally supportive environment and assist students to return to school after hospitalisation with as little disruption as possible.

Tutorial centres and programs

Tutorial centres and programs cater for students who have been identified as requiring intensive behavioural and educational support. Tutorial centres and programs generally cater for students in years 5 to 12.

Suspension centres

Suspension centres cater for students who are on long suspension (5-20 days) and have been identified by their school as likely to benefit from a structured program to assist their successful return to schooling as soon as possible.


  • Teaching and learning


  • Additional needs

Business Unit:

  • Student Support and Specialist Programs
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