Disability Standards for Education

Australian students with disability should enjoy the same opportunities and choices in their education as students without disability.

All Australian education providers have obligations to students with disability and additional learning and support needs.

Under the Disability Standards for Education (2005) all principals and teachers have legal obligations to ensure that every student is able to participate in the curriculum on the same basis as their peers through rigorous, meaningful and dignified learning. The Disability Standards are Australian law under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1992.

This does not mean every student should have the same experiences.

On the same basis means that students with disability should have the same opportunities and choices in their education as students without disability.

This may be achieved by making reasonable adjustments to suit each individual student's education needs and may include any reasonable adjustments to the learning program or to the school's physical environment – and the provision of additional support – to assist each student fulfil his or her potential.

The Standards apply to all areas of education and training – preschools, schools, vocation education and TAFE, universities and adult and community education, as well as to organisations that develop and accredit curricula and courses. They apply to government and non-government schools.

The Standards cover all aspects of education and training:

  • enrolment
  • participation
  • curriculum development, accreditation and delivery
  • student support services
  • elimination of harassment and victimisation.

Key aspects of the Standards require schools and other education providers to:

  • treat students with disability on the same basis as students without disability
  • make reasonable adjustments to student's learning program and/or learning environment.
  • consult with the student or their parents and carers on the reasonable adjustments that will be provided.

Professional learning

A package of e-learning lessons on the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA), with a focus on the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (the Standards), has been developed to provide professional learning for teachers. These lessons are now a compulsory element of professional learning for principals, DELs and school executive staff as part of changes implemented under the department’s Disability Strategy in 2020. The course is highly recommended for all teaching staff in NSW public schools, and a valuable resource for corporate employees.

The Standards support every student with disability to access and participate in education on the same basis as students without disability. The obligations of education providers under the DDA and the Standards apply to all principals, teachers and other employees in all school settings.

Information for principals on accessing the training (Word 62KB)

Frequently asked questions - Disability Standards for Education training (Word 63KB)

Training materials

Introduction to training - Disability Standards for Education (PPT 6523KB)

Embedding inclusive education practices in schools - Disability Standards for Education (PPT 7087KB)

Further advice and support: disabilitylearning@det.nsw.edu.au or phone (02) 7814 3813

The relevance of this training

This training is highly relevant to the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data - School Students with Disability (NCCD). The Disability Standards for Education underpin this important work for schools. All schools are required to participate in the national data collection annually from 2015. These e-learning lessons support schools' ability to understand their obligations as they prepare their data for the national collection. Decisions for the collection of data are based on evidence of adjustments for the student whose learning is impacted by disability, after consultation with the student, their parents and carers.

Part One (lessons 1 to 3) and Part Two (lessons 4 to 8)

Teachers and executive staff should complete Part 1 lessons online before Part 2. Each lesson is available in a range of modules that address the same teaching standards and content with different examples and scenarios. Completing one module in Part One fulfils the course requirements and completing one module in Part Two fulfils the Part 2 course requirements.

Available modules Part 1 (Lessons 1 to 3) Part 2 (Lessons 4 to 8)
Choose one module that
best suits your role or need

Complete Part 1 first. 1.5 hours

Complete Part 1 first. 3 hours

Education Leaders Part One (Lessons 1-3) Part Two (Lessons 4-8)
Early Childhood prior to school Part One (Lessons 1-3) Part Two (Lessons 4-8)
Early childhood school Part One (Lessons 1-3) Part Two (Lessons 4-8)
Primary Schools Part One (Lessons 1-3) Part Two (Lessons 4-8)
Junior Secondary Schools Part One (Lessons 1-3) Part Two (Lessons 4-8)
Senior Secondary Schools Part One (Lessons 1-3) Part Two (Lessons 4-8)
Education Assistants including SASS staff and School Learning Support Part One (Lesson 1-3) Part Two (Lessons 4-6) 2 hours

Disability Standards for Education: A parent and community resource

An e-learning web resource; A practical guide for individuals, families and communities is also freely available. Schools may share the link for this resource with their local community.


  • Teaching and learning


  • Access and equity
  • Disability
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Professional development

Business Unit:

  • Inclusion and Wellbeing
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