Learning and support
Learning and support resources are available in every mainstream school to help any student experiencing difficulties in learning in a regular class, regardless of the cause.
This includes support for students with:
- learning difficulties
- mild intellectual disabilities
- language disorders
- behaviour needs
- autism spectrum disorders or mental health disorders (with lower level support needs).
Identifying learning and support needs
For some children, additional learning and support needs are identified from early childhood.
For other children, the need for extra support may not become clear until some way into their schooling.
Most students do not need a formal diagnosis of disability to receive extra support in regular classes. Every NSW public school has a learning and support team that works with students, parents and carers, classroom teachers and other professionals to identify students who need extra support – at any stage of a student's school life.
However, some students have complex support needs that require targeted assistance. This can be provided in regular classes through the Integration Funding Support program.
Learning and support resources
Every regular NSW public school has a learning and support resources package that gives the school a specialist teacher and an allocation of flexible funding as part of the school budget. .
Every school is different and changes over time, depending on the mix of students attending the school.
School principals are able to make informed decisions about how to best use their allocated resources to provide support where and when it is needed.
Schools' resources can be pooled across nearby schools to engage additional specialist teachers, to engage school learning and support officers and to develop support programs that will then be shared across those schools.
Allocations of specialist teachers and flexible funding are regularly reviewed according to the school's enrolment and the number of students with disability and additional learning and support needs attending a particular school.
A school's allocation of learning and support resources is calculated using data from three years of the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN).
The specialist teacher allocation is reviewed every three years and flexible funding is reviewed annually.
How learning and support works
Schools use their allocations of learning and support resources to personalise the learning for the individual needs of their students. Teaching and learning can be adjusted in many ways, based on every student's unique needs, to enable students with disability and additional learning and support needs to enjoy the same opportunities and choices in their education as their peers.
Adjustments are made in close consultation with students and their parents and carers and are regularly reviewed to assess their effectiveness and to identify any need for changes.
The first point of contact is the school's learning and support team. Learning and support teams include key personnel involved in supporting students with disability and additional and learning and support needs.
Staff can access two professional learning modules designed to develop and strengthen their understanding of the learning and support framework.
NSW Centre for Effective Reading
The NSW Centre for Effective Reading is a specialist service providing information about teaching, reading and supporting students with complex reading difficulties.