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 (PDF, 137 KB) or visit the NDIS website.

How schools can support families

Schools have an important role to play in supporting families to engage with the NDIS.

There may be times when families ask for an NDIS-funded service provider to work with their child in the school. Principals have the authority to determine if and when NDIS-funded services can be provided during school hours and must ensure that the flow of the school day is not interrupted. An information package is available to support principals when working with families.

This video (3 min 37 secs) showcases how Wauchope Public School is working with families and NDIS-funded service providers to support students with an NDIS plan. Read the transcript for the Public Schools and the NDIS video.

More information on how schools can support families to understand and navigate the NDIS is in these fact sheets:

  1. Supporting families to understand and access the NDIS (PDF, 166 KB)
  2. Supporting families during the NDIS planning process (PDF, 146 KB)

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.

A parent/carer consent form is now available in various community languages to allow NSW Department of Education representatives to contact the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) on behalf of parents/carers.

NDIS supports, whether delivered within or outside a school setting, may enhance a student’s access to educational opportunities and support the achievement of individual learning goals. A one page flow-chart has been developed to assist schools to incorporate NDIS supports into planning for personalised learning and support.

NDIS Coordinators for NSW public schools are:

Nirimba Education Office

Ann Eckert

0436 858 083

Coffs Harbour Education Office

Rachel Pregnell

(02) 6656 6638

Campbelltown Education Office

Susanne Andrews

(02) 4633 2700

Dubbo Education Office

Wendy English

(02) 6200 5038

Warilla Education Office

Angela Hay

(02) 4267 6165

State Office

Tracey Winfer

0477 312 731

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 the following organisations:

  • Uniting provides services in the Hunter-New England,Nepean-Blue Mountains, Northern Sydney, Western Sydney, Southern NSW and the Illawarra-Shoalhaven regions.
  • Social Futures operates in Far West NSW, Northern NSW, Central Coast and Western NSW.
  • Settlement Services International operates in Sydney and South Western Sydney.
  • Blue Sky services the Mid North Coast.
  • Intereach operates in the Murrumbidgee.
  • La Trobe Community Health Services operates in South Eastern Sydney.

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 oblifed 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. A flow chart has been developed to assist schools to incorporate NDIS supports into planning for personalised learning and support.

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.

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