Department of Education

Statewide support services

Statewide support services

NDIS and schools

NDIS and schools

Personalised planning for students with disability and the Australian Curriculum

The National Disability Strategy 2010 - 2020 included a commitment by the Council of Australian Governments to "Ensure the Early Years Learning Framework, Australian Curriculum and national assessment processes incorporate the needs of students with disability within an inclusive education framework."

This commitment was echoed in the development of the Australian Curriculum by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) which sought to ensure that all learning areas, general capabilities and cross curriculum priorities would incorporate the diverse needs of students with disability. To ensure that this occurred ACARA created the Students with Disability Advisory Group made up of representatives from government and non-government school education jurisdictions, academics, and education peak bodies to provide advice to ensure the Australian Curriculum is a curriculum for all young Australians.

The Australian Curriculum has a focus on the importance of personalising learning for all students within the classroom, including those with disability. Through the work of ACARA, with the support of the Students with Disability Advisory Group, advice and details on personalised learning and making individual adjustments within the Australian Curriculum is now available. This includes a wide range of examples and illustrations of personalised learning.

Personalised planning and the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD)

The phased implementation of the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD) from 2013 to 2015 has the potential to significantly influence individual planning processes in all jurisdictions. Through the data collection process schools identify students with disability, the levels of support including types of adjustments provided, and collect evidence about the nature of the support and adjustments provided.

The NCCD reinforces the existing obligations that schools have towards students under the Disability Discrimination Act (1992)  and the Disability Standards for Education 2005, embedding the obligation to plan for and provide adjustments that are tailored to meet the assessed education needs of the individual student.

The collection of evidence for the NCCD includes four general areas:

  • the assessed identified needs of the student
  • reasonable adjustments provided to the student to address their individual needs
  • monitoring and review of the adjustments provided to the student
  • consultation and collaboration.

The NCCD thus includes a number of provisions that directly link to the obligations of schools under the Standards to conduct personalised planning for students with disability, and the NCCD can support personalised planning processes and vice versa. The elements of personalised learning and support are: consultation and collaboration, including that with parents and carers as well as collaboration between teachers and other professionals; assessed individual need of the student; adjustments or support provided to the student; impact of the adjustment or support.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and personalised learning and support planning

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will have an influence on future personalised planning processes for students with disability. The NDIS is already underway in trial sites in seven states and territories, all of which include school aged students. The NDIS will progressively roll out until full national coverage is achieved in July 2019. During 2015 and 2016 two trials of the NDIS will be evaluated, the WA NDIS trial in the Lower South West and Cockburn/Kwinana and the Commonwealth NDIS Perth Hills trial in the local government areas of Swan, Kalamunda and Mundaring. Where the term NDIS is used on this website; it refers to either approach.

Individualised, person centred planning is an integral part of the NDIS. All NDIS eligible school aged students with disability will have an individually negotiated NDIS plan which will determine their package of support provided. Whilst this plan will not include school education (or fund mainstream supports at school) it is likely that matters relating to the interface between home, community and school will be considered as part of the plan development. For example, if a student includes employment in their NDIS goals and future planning, education is an important part of progress towards this goal. In turn a student’s individual education plan at school should reflect these priorities.

In addition, increased choice and control for people with disability and their families, which is an important part of the NDIS model, is likely to lead to increased expectations and involvement in other aspects of their lives, such as school education.

Although the NDIS will fund a range of specialised supports for school-aged children with a disability, the purpose of the scheme is not to duplicate or take over the responsibilities of the Department of Education. Schools will continue to provide ‘reasonable adjustment’ for students with disability to enable them to access the curriculum on an equal basis with their peers.

The NDIS will fund allied health and other therapy supports that relate to a participant’s disability and are for the purposes of increasing functional capacity. These could be delivered in schools or other education facilities and can include speech therapy for general communication, physiotherapy, occupational therapy for play, and psychological support for emotional or behavioural disorders.

The student's educational goals are developed within the school setting through an individual educational plan. Therapy planning should be consistent and directly related to the outcomes established in the student's educational program.

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Trial Project 1 – WA NDIS Integrated Planning, Coordination and Intervention Project

The Department of Education and the Disability Services Commission are working collaboratively on a trial project that aims to promote more holistic, integrated planning between the home environment and the school environment for children with disability.

All children found eligible for the NDIS will access supports and services via the WA NDIS plan. This plan contains objectives, strategies and details of resources. Within the school system, educational programs for students with disability are also driven by personalised learning and support planning.

The trial project will evaluate a joined up approach in planning and interventions between the home and the school. The primary goal is to create an integrated and seamless approach that support the child’s development and aligns interventions in the home and community with the child’s personalised learning and support plan and the classroom program.


The project will also examine strategies for increasing the level of access to specialist services and support for schools and within classrooms.

The Telethon Kids Institute will conduct an evaluation of the project and explore options for best practice.

Trial Project 2 - NDIS Perth Hills Secondary Transition Project

The Department of Education and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) are working collaboratively on a trial project that aims to integrate the transition from educational settings to the workplace, supported by support coordination for secondary students with complex needs. The project started in 2015 with six schools providing revised NDIS planning for thirteen students with high needs. Students, parents and teachers attended workshops provided by a leading Disability Employment Service provider.

With the expansion of the NDIS trial to Bayswater, Bassendean, Chittering, Toodyay, York and Northam the project has been extended and all students who are NDIS participants in schools (secondary and education support) in the trial site in year 10 and above are included. Participants will now be able to access a personalised package of up to 150 hours of support from a disability employment provider.

The personalised package will include the following:

  • Post-school employment options included in NDIS plans
  • Training and mentoring of service providers in customised employment
  • Engaging schools and families
  • Exploring ideas to create a collaborative approach
NDIS and schools

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