Students with Additional Needs

All Catholic students in the Diocese of Lismore have an equal right to an appropriate and inclusive education in a parish school.

Students with disabilities in are enrolled in their local parish school. Like all students the primary responsibility for their education rests with the classroom teachers. Teachers of students with disabilities may receive assistance through a range of options including:

  • Access to school based Additional Needs Teachers
  • Access to Catholic Schools Office Additional Needs Officers
  • Teacher Assistant support.

Depending on needs and abilities some students may work on the Australian Curriculum in NSW with nil or minor adjustments. Some students may require substantive adjustments and modified curriculum. Students spend the majority or the whole of their time in regular classes with varying levels of support.

Enrolment of a student with Additional Needs

Regardless of ability or disability, every student enrols in parish schools according to the local parish enrolment process.

Parents complete an application form that is particular to the given school and are requested to provide:

  • Documentation verifying the student’s special needs/disability
  • Support material from other agencies
  • Current specialised program (if applicable).

Acceptance of enrolment is subject to standard school enrolment criteria.

The Process

After application for enrolment has been made, the Principal will invite the parents/legal guardian for an interview to discuss more fully the needs of the child and the educational provision available at the school.

Discussion with the parents and the Catholic Schools Office will occur wherever possible. If a place is available, parents will be contacted and a placement will be offered.

FAQ for parents of a student with Additional Needs

What resources are there in school to support my child?
There are many ways of supporting students with disabilities in our parish schools. If necessary, adjustments will be made through the curriculum, the classroom environment, teaching materials and the school environment. Professional development is available for staff. A school may receive a grant to support the students learning depending on their needs in accessing the curriculum.

How will the school be able to meet my child’s educational needs?
Including a student with a disability is a whole school responsibility not just that of an individual class teacher or additional needs teacher. Every student will be able to participate in all aspects of school with adjustments being made to the curriculum and the environment.

Relevant school staff will discuss your child’s educational needs with you and discuss any adjustments that may be needed to assist your child. The adjustments could be in relation to learning, or to facilities or services. Your child would also have an Individual Education Plan (IEP). These plans are developed and implemented with your input.
A child’s educational need can be met in schools by:

  • The development of Individual Education Plans and Transition Plans
  • Adjustments being made to curriculum, environment, materials
  • Collaboration between agencies working with the student
  • Accessing existing support within the school
  • Allocating resources required, specialised equipment, teaching assistants.

What Catholic school can my child go to?
Enrolment in a Catholic school is dependent on availability but you can enrol your child at the parish school of your choice. Early enrolment is important.

Will my child be safe and cared for at school?
Every child has the right to feel safe at school. Once your child is enrolled in a parish school a meeting will take place to consider the needs of your child and any concerns that parents may have. The discussion may be about health issues, medication, transition, curriculum, social issues and any other concern that affects the education of the child. Effective communication between families and school staff is important for the continuing well-being of the student. Students with a health or medical condition will have an action plan that will have been developed collaboratively with family and educators. All staff in Catholic schools hasËœWorking with Children” clearances.

How will the school be able to meet my child’s educational needs?
Your child’s educational needs with be met through the Australian Curriculum in NSW and the students IEP. The IEP may focus on aspects of school outside of the Australian Curriculum in NSW; for example, in career education, work skills, leisure and recreation and independent living.

What help is available from external agencies?
Where appropriate, access to a therapy service to provide advice on adjustments is encouraged. Therapists provide support by working the teacher to help ensure that your child receives the best access to the school curriculum.