Planning ahead helps every child enjoy a smooth transition to school.
For a child with disability and additional learning and support needs parents or carers should meet with their local school principal and the school learning and support team well ahead of time.
Every school has a learning and support team of education professionals. The team works collaboratively with students, parents and carers, and other agencies where appropriate to meet the learning and support needs of each student.
When to start
It is recommended that parents and carers contact their local school to discuss their child's needs by:
- term 2 of the year before starting school for a child with disability and additional learning and support needs
- term 2 of two years before starting school for a child needing help with access or mobility, e.g. for wheelchair access or if other significant changes to the school environment may be required.
Transition to school
For the first meeting at the school, parents or carers should take:
- any relevant information – medical reports, any reports provided by therapists or other agencies, organisations or health personnel
- details of any resources or equipment that are used or required for day to day activities.
By taking into account the insights and information parents and carers can offer, schools can make well informed decisions about each child's individual learning and support needs. Schools work with parents and carers to develop a set of planned activities to help make starting school a success.
Local School Services teams are available to provide advice about the transition to school for children with disability and additional learning and support needs. Local teams can be contacted on 131 536 and calls can be made from anywhere in NSW.
Schools work in close consultation with a range of early childhood services that can provide valuable information. Parent and carers may also be referred to our schools via other organisations .
Enrolment arrangements for students with disability and additional learning and support needs are the same as for all students. For information about enrolment, parents and carers can visit their local public primary school. More information is available on primary school enrolment.
Students with a confirmed disability may be enrolled in any one of the following:
- regular classes (subject to standard enrolment procedures)
- support classes in regular schools (subject to placement panel procedures)
- special schools (subject to placement panel procedures)
The school principal, in consultation with the school's Learning and Support Team, will assist you to find the right schooling option for your child, taking into account your choice, your child's specific additional learning and support needs and proximity to local specialist services.
Where a child is enrolled in a support class or a special school this is done through a process known as a placement panel.
Use the School Finder to find your local school or a support class in regular or special schools.
In addition to special classes and special schools, the following services are available in all public schools:
- students who experience difficulties in basic areas of learning and behaviour are supported through learning and support in their local school.
- the integration funding support program is a targeted support program for eligible school aged students with confirmed disabilities enrolled in a regular class and attending on a full time basis.
- itinerant support teachers provide support for students with hearing and/or vision impairment and their teachers.
In addition, local School Services staff provide support to schools.
Use the School Finder to find the local primary school.
Guides for parents and carers
Download our Getting ready for school (PDF 424KB) brochure – a guide for parents and carers of a child with disability.
Read our starting school guides, checklists and organisers.
Assisted School Travel Program
Find out more about how free specialised transport to and from schools can be provided to eligible students with disability.