National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

About the NDIS

The NDIS is an Australia-wide scheme to support people aged 0 to 65 years with permanent and significant disability. In NSW, about 140,000 people with disability are expected to join the NDIS, including 40,000 children and young people.

Through the NDIS, people with disability will be able to access ‘reasonable and necessary’ supports to achieve their personal goals. Reasonable and necessary supports are those that help participants to live an ordinary life – that is, to build their skills and capabilities so they can engage in education, employment and community activities. The NDIS gives participants more choice and control over their disability supports and how those supports are provided.

The NDIS is managed by the National Disability Insurance Agency, or NDIA. The NDIA is responsible for determining eligibility for the scheme and for developing personalised support plans for participants. To learn more, read the department’s NDIS fact sheet for schools (DOC, 52 KB) or visit the NDIS website.

How schools can support families

Schools have an important role to play in supporting families to understand and navigate the NDIS. The department has produced three fact sheets to help schools support families who are engaging with the NDIS. The fact sheets provide school staff with basic information on how they can support students and their families at key stages of the NDIS pathway:

  1. Supporting families to understand and access the NDIS (PDF, 132 KB)
  2. Supporting families during the NDIS planning process (PDF, 133 KB)
  3. Supporting families as they implement their child’s NDIS plan (PDF, 119 KB)

These fact sheets can be used as A4 flyers or A3 posters. More NDIS fact sheets and resources are available below.

Advice and support for schools

The NDIS does not change the role of schools or their obligations to students with disability. NSW public schools will continue to meet the personalised learning and support needs of students with disability under the Disability Standards for Education 2005.

Families may approach schools with questions about the NDIS or for help to resolve issues with the scheme. NDIS Coordinators can provide advice and support to NSW public schools, help resolve NDIS-related issues, and deliver information sessions to school staff, parents and carers.

NDIS Coordinators for NSW public schools are:

Macquarie ParkFran Tinley(02) 9208 7680
TamworthTracey Winfer(02) 6656 6623
UltimoLinda Cormack(02) 4633 2700
Wagga Wagga (Dubbo)Wendy English(02) 6883 6314
Wagga Wagga (Wollongong)Galiema Gool(02) 4267 6165
State Office (02) 9266 8201

NDIS fact sheets and resources

Fact sheets

Presentations

Other NDIS resources

Frequently asked questions on the NDIS

Local Area Coordinators (LACs) are contracted by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to help people with disability access the NDIS. They will assist NDIS participants to develop their NDIS plan and navigate the variety of supports to achieve their goals.

LAC services in NSW are delivered by Uniting, St Vincent de Paul Society NSW and Social Futures.

  • Uniting provides services in the Nepean-Blue Mountains, Northern Sydney, Western Sydney, Southern NSW and the Illawarra-Shoalhaven regions.
  • St Vincent de Paul Society NSW services South Western Sydney, Central Coast, Hunter-New England, Sydney and South Eastern Sydney.
  • Social Futures operates in Far West NSW, Murrumbidgee, Mid North Coast, Northern NSW and Western NSW.

Contact information for LACs is available on the NDIS website.

The NDIS Planner works with a participant, their parents and carers, to develop, finalise and review their personal package of supports. The planner will do this by understanding a participant's goals and aspirations, and developing a plan of supports that are 'reasonable and necessary' to help achieve those goals.

A support coordinator is a funded support that aims to build the capacity of NDIS participants to implement supports in their individual NDIS plan. This may include supporting participants to identify providers and develop service agreements with preferred providers. Support coordinators may also help participants to access mainstream and other community services. They are not funded to provide transport, plan administration or management, advocacy or disability supports.

Staff in NSW public schools are not required to complete access request paperwork for the NDIS. Some schools, however, may wish to provide this assistance for individual families where it is considered a priority by the school.

Schools can provide parents and carers with existing information held at school to assist their NDIS application and planning, should they request it. Examples include personalised learning plans and school-based assessments of a student's educational needs. In many cases, parents will already have this information. Schools are not expected to complete new assessments, produce new reports, or prepare letters of support for this process.

Assessment reports held by the school arising from personal counselling sessions may be subject to privacy obligations. Schools can provide parents with final counselling reports to assist in the NDIS planning process, but should not release proformas or other working documents that form the basis for the final report. Final counselling reports may only be provided directly to the NDIA with the parent's consent. Guidelines for the release of information to parents and associated documents and forms can be found on the department's website.

No. It is up to parents and carers to make a decision on whether to contact the NDIS.

If a school believes a student may be eligible for support from the NDIS, the school can encourage that student’s parent or carer to contact the NDIS directly. This may be through their local NDIS office or Local Area Coordinator.

People are not obliged to seek NDIS support. Where a NSW public school is concerned that a child’s educational outcomes may be adversely impacted by not engaging with the NDIS, the principal may discuss the matter with the child's parents or carers, or seek advice from a NDIS Local Area Coordinator.

Where school staff believe that not engaging with the NDIS may create a child wellbeing or child protection concern, they should report this to their principal. Principals of NSW public schools can use various tools (e.g. the online Mandatory Reporter Guide), their professional judgement, or seek advice from the department’s Child Wellbeing Unit to inform decisions about child protection concerns.

Schools can provide families with copies of existing information held at the school, where requested, to help families prepare for NDIS planning discussions. Schools are not expected to undertake ‘new’ assessments, produce new reports or prepare letters of support for this purpose.

Anyone can participate in an NDIS planning meeting if invited by, and with the consent of, the participant or their family.

The participation of school staff in NDIS planning is at the discretion of the principal. There may be some students, particularly those with complex educational and functional needs, who may benefit from some involvement by the school in the NDIS planning process. This may include providing information to parents and carers to assist with the planning process and sharing information with the NDIA planner, with parent consent.

NDIS Planners and Local Area Coordinators may come to a school to meet with staff, where operationally convenient, if this is seen as an efficient way to inform the planning process.

Schools retain all of their existing obligations to students under the Education Act 1990 and their specific obligations to all students with disability under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Disability Standards for Education 2005.

Schools will remain responsible for providing reasonable adjustments (through personalised learning and support) for students with disability, in consultation with students and their parents or carers, to enable them to fully participate in education.

The NDIS is responsible for the supports children and young people need in any setting that specifically address functional needs as a result of their disability. These can include specialised aids and equipment, such as hearing aids and wheelchairs, and allied health therapies.

There will be some overlap in responsibility between the NDIS and schools for providing functional disability supports to students with disability, particularly with respect to personal care. Governments are still deciding how to manage this overlap of responsibilities. Until this is agreed, there are no changes to the way schools fund or provide personalised learning and support.

No. Support classes and School Learning Support Officers are part of the department's targeted educational provision for students with disability. NDIS funds cannot be used for these purposes.

No. Schools have an obligation to provide reasonable adjustments to students with disability, including supporting students to participate in excursions. Additional support for students during school excursions, including through School Learning Support Officers, are part of the department’s targeted educational provision for students with disability.

Students eligible for an NDIS package may also be suitable for School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES). SLES is designed to provide a range of supports to participants for up to two years to assist them to become work ready. SLES will help participants develop the skills needed to successfully gain and maintain employment. Supports may include work experience, job skills training, travel training, communication skills, and activities to help a participant identify their vocational interests and skills.

School staff can find out more about SLES from their learning and support team, local support teacher transition (STT) or their local NDIS Local Area Coordinator. More information about SLES is also available on the NDIS website.

Return to top of page