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A new way of funding preschool and school students with disability

Students with disability are set to have easier access to the help they need with a new model for supporting mainstream students and preschoolers with a disability being introduced in 2019.

This new simplified model is based on a child’s needs, rather than disability diagnosis or label.

It reduces red tape and puts in place a new, more straightforward application and assessment process for preschoolers and school students with complex needs and who need extra support.

At the heart of the new model is the belief that every child has the right to a quality education.

The new arrangements will help to support children and students to belong to a preschool or school community, engage purposefully in learning and experience inclusion and academic success.

The new funding model was co-designed with parent groups, disability advocates, and school and preschool representatives. 

Eligibility criteria

Under the new model, eligibility criteria is aligned with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA), Disability Standards for Education 2005 and the Nationally Consistent data collection on school students with disability.

Children and students will be able to access funded support based on an assessment of need, rather than a disability diagnosis or label.

This approach recognises all disabilities and learning difficulties, including mental health, trauma, complex behaviours and health care needs and supports a fair and equitable allocation of funding across similar child/student cohorts.


Funding for preschool children with additional needs

All government preschools will automatically receive funding for children with disability or additional needs each year without the need formal assessments. This means that children will have the right supports in place more quickly.

Parents and preschool staff will together work through a personalised planning process to discuss how children can be best supported and what additional supports may be required.

Preschools will document the goals, types of adjustment and funding allocated in a child’s preschool profile. This information will travel with your child when they start school.

Preschool children with high support needs

Preschool children who are assessed as having high support needs in 2018 will be automatically funded at this level or above when they commence school in 2019.

This funding will reflect the type and frequency of interventions required and will be communicated with student support services and enrolling schools by the end of term 4, 2018.

Confirmation of funding for children transitioning from preschool to school in 2019?

Funding will be confirmed for all students with disability by the end of term 4, 2018. This information will be provided to enrolling schools and Student Support Services for communication to parents early in 2019.

Inclusive Preschool Program (IPP) and The Briars children enrolling in mainstream schools in 2019

To support a smooth transition, team managers in Student Support Services will contact enrolling schools to identify support needs and the level of adjustment required at the new school in 2019.

Consultations between staff in the current preschool, enrolling school and Student Support Services staff and parents will help inform funding allocations.

Children transitioning from the Preschool Support Program funding to a special option in 2019?

Children transitioning to a special option will be assessed on a case by case basis.

The assessment will take into account the additional resourcing already provided to the specialist setting and the individual needs of the child concerned.

School students

Students with learning difficulties who only need minor support

Increased funding will support improved learning outcomes for students who are not achieving at a similar level as their same aged peers in the areas of communication, reading and writing, vocabulary development, verbal concept development, reasoning and/or oral language.

This means schools can provide specific, evidence based interventions for these children. Schools may also use a small portion of these funds for short term, immediate curriculum or access needs.

Schools will communicate with parents if their child is receiving individual or group support. The type of support and the student’s learning outcomes will be included in an individual personalised plan.

Schools will also include information about this in their annual report.

Students with disability and or complex needs who require more targeted support

The model will significantly improve continuity and access to additional funding for these children will be simpler with a single application form which will be in place from term 3, 2019.

Parents and carers will have their views documented during the application process and the outcomes of the application, including the level of adjustment will be communicated to them as well as the school.

Funding will be accessible to all students who are eligible for funding, irrespective of the type of disability that they may have. An internal realignment will see the current 5 tier model expanded to a 9 tier model with schools no longer having to seek top up funding.

A child’s changing needs

A child’s needs can be reassessed at any time.

Their school will work with Student Support Services to identify the types of adjustments or interventions are needed to enable your child to achieve the goals in their personalised plan.

Once this occurs the school can apply to have a child’s level of funding reviewed to meet their changing needs.

Under the new model, the application process will be simpler with schools completing a single application.


IESP team

Education.IESP [at] sa.gov.au