Specialist allied health scheme
What is the specialist allied health service provider scheme?
The Department has established a prequalification scheme for specialist allied health service providers. The scheme supports schools that may need to engage specialist allied health services to ensure learning adjustments are appropriate and effective for students. The scheme aims to support schools in meeting these needs and reduce the associated administrative burden by providing easier processes for the engagement and management of these providers.
Prequalification of allied health providers means that the department has put successful providers through a procurement process which has reviewed:
- Their experience, qualifications and training
- Their business credentials, insurances and adherence to probity requirements
- The services they deliver and how they deliver them
- The areas of the State that they can service
To reduce the burden on schools when engaging service providers, several tools and resources have been created:
- a searchable database of prequalified service providers that school staff can use to identify and compare services to best meet their school’s needs
- a simplified order form for schools to use when engaging these providers
- resources and templates that may be useful to help establish collaborative relationships with these providers.
There are currently two ways in which allied health services may be delivered on school premises:
1. School initiated and funded services for small groups, whole of class/school and staff professional development:
Direct engagement of an allied health provider, paid for by the school from their budget. These services will largely be linked to learning outcomes. Schools can use these services to meet the specific and individual needs of students with or without disability that affect what they need to do at school.
Schools may engage these services to support identified groups of students or to provide professional development to their staff.
2. Parent/carer funded services for individual students: A parent/carer may request permission from the Principal to allow their allied health provider to deliver services during school hours to their child. In most cases this service will be funded out of the student’s NDIS (National Disability Insurance scheme) plan. NDIS funding does not fund group programs or services of any kind. This scheme does not apply to these scenarios.
The services that a school may decide to have an allied health provider deliver are not meant to replace the therapies and supports that individual students should be receiving via their NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) package to meet their functional needs. However, schools may use this scheme engage providers for the support of individual students if they believe these services are essential and are not being funded through the NDIS. This is at the school’s discretion.
Engaging a service provider via this scheme is not compulsory.
How are services paid for?
Schools will purchase specialised allied health services using their budgets . Spending will be at the discretion of the principal or their delegated decision maker.
The Department will remain available to support schools and suppliers to monitor and evaluate the outcomes and performance of the services.
The Schools for Specific Purposes (SSP) Supplementary Funding was implemented by the Staffing Methodology Review (SMR) Program in 2020 to support additional staff resourcing needs within SSPs.
The purpose of the flexible funding allocation is to provide and evaluate interim additional resourcing to inform the future Staffing Methodology Review entitlement solution.
The goal is to make a difference to student outcomes by enabling principals to allocate additional resourcing to best suit the needs of their individual students and their schools.
SSP principals will be able to use this additional funding to engage providers in the Scheme.
Allied health supports in schools
Allied health services sit outside of traditional medical, dental or nursing services and the service providers often work in multidisciplinary teams to provide specialist supports. The allied health services included within this Scheme are:
- Occupational therapy
- Speech pathology
- Exercise physiology
- Behaviour support.
There are a range of services that can be delivered under the umbrella of specialist allied health services as part of this Scheme, including:
- Conducting therapeutic, behaviour, risk, assistive technology, or environmental assessments
- Developing and implementing support plans, in collaboration with school staff, parents and carers, and other service providers working with students
- Delivering structured support programs to students
- Training school staff to support learning, safety and wellbeing at school.
For more details on these services, please review these fact sheets.
- Occupational Therapy - (Printable OT fact sheet PDF 555Kb)
- Physiotherapy - (Printable Physiotherapy fact sheet PDF 439Kb)
- Speech Pathology - (Printable Speech Pathology fact sheet PDF 919Kb)
- Exercise Physiology - (Printable Exercise Physiology fact sheet PDF 342Kb)
- Specialist Behaviour Supports - (Printable Specialist Behaviour Supports fact sheet PDF 530Kb)
There are five key phases during any engagement with a service provider.
1) Search: School staff can search a database of allied health service providers by category – location or service – and access details on all relevant suppliers included in the scheme. Staff can then review the suppliers based on what their school’s needs are, before making contact.
2) Brief: School staff will need to provide a brief to the provider(s) that they are interested in engaging. This brief will be used by the supplier to understand the needs and formulate a response. It should outline as much detail as possible. A brief template has been created that is recommended for use when briefing a provider.
3) Engage: Once school staff have received proposals from the providers and have made a decision on which approach to take, the provider can be engaged via a 2 page Order Form. Schools may like to reference or attach the brief that was provided and agreed on between provider and school.
Order Form: Ensure all fields are completed. When creating a Purchase Order, please also include the text "Specialist Allied Health Services scheme" in the “short text” field.
The order form has been created by the Department’s Legal Services Directorate. The order form sits under a more detailed agreement, the Human Services Agreement, which each provider has signed with the Department. This ensures a simple process for schools who will then be protected by the terms of the full contract. Please contact us with any questions via firstname.lastname@example.org
4) Collaborate: This is the phase in which the agreed work and services will be delivered. How this phase should run needs to be decided on by both the school and the service provider and ideally should start with a kick off meeting that defines how both parties will work together.
This kick off template can be used to establish a set of shared expectations and ways of working via a kick off meeting.
Staff will need to ensure that the Working with Children Check Status of individuals visiting their school are reviewed in eCPC and that an induction is provided for any visitors who have never been to that site before. Further details can be found in the School User Guide.
Note that the department has checked identity documents and reviewed Working with Children Checks (WWCCs) for all providers included in the Scheme in eCPC. However a search in eCPC is still required for confirmation of their WWCC status.
5) Monitor: during the collaboration with the service provider and at the end of their engagement, the Department will require the service provider to submit details on what has been delivered. This data will allow us to evaluate the scheme and inform future decisions.
We ask that, if possible, schools also provide us feedback on their experiences so that we can understand the outcomes being achieved, manage the quality and ensure the Department is able to iterate and improve the scheme. We have provided a list of questions that can be answered in the Schools User Guide.
Please see the regional areas as specified within the scheme.
The regions as defined by this scheme are:
Capital Region - Queanbeyan, Snowy Mountains, South Coast, Goulburn-Mulwaree, Young-Yass
Central Coast - Gosford and Wyong
Central West - Bathurst, Lachlan Valley, Lithgow-Mudgee and Orange
Coffs Harbour – Grafton - Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour
Far West and Orana - Bourke-Cobar-Coonamble, Broken Hill and Far West and Dubbo
Hunter Valley excl. Newcastle - Lower Hunter, Maitland, Port Stephens and Upper Hunter
Illawarra - Dapto-Port Kembla, Kiama-Shellharbour and Wollongong
Mid-North Coast - Great Lakes, Kempsey-Nambucca, Port Macquarie and Taree-Gloucester
Murray - Albury, Lower Murray and Upper Murray
New England and North West - Armidale, Inverell-Tenterfield, Moree-Narrabri and Tamworth-Gunnedah
Newcastle and Lake Macquarie
Richmond – Tweed - Richmond Valley and Tweed Valley
Riverina - Griffith-Murrumbidgee, Tumut-Tumbarumba and Wagga Wagga
Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven
Sydney - Baulkham Hills and Hawkesbury, Blacktown, City and Inner South, Eastern Suburbs, Inner South West, Inner West, North Sydney and Hornsby, Northern Beaches, Outer South West, Outer West and Blue Mountains, Parramatta, Ryde, South West and Sutherland