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NDIS and the provision of educational services

NDIS in South Australia

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the new Australia-wide scheme supporting people with disability. It will replace the current disability support system in South Australia.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is delivering the NDIS. The NDIA is responsible for assessing the eligibility of participants and working with them to develop support plans that meet their needs.

The transition to the NDIS in South Australia is nearing completion and is expected to be complete by 31 December, 2018.

Visit the NDIS website for more information on the transition to the NDIS in South Australia.

Educational support programs

The NDIS does not change education support programs for children with disability in South Australian public schools. The Department for Education will continue to ensure students with disability have the personalised support they need to access education on the same basis as other students.

The department continues to work closely with schools, the NDIA and the Department of Human Services (DHS) to make sure there is a smooth transition to the NDIS.

The NDIS in schools

The NDIS is responsible for funding activities associated with daily living while a student is at school. These services can include:

  • Early Childhood Early Intervention
  • transport to and from school
  • personal care at school (such as mobility, eating and help using the toilet)
  • post school transition.

Early childhood intervention services

Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) is a nationally consistent approach for supporting children aged 0-6 years who have a developmental delay or disability and their families or carers.

Through ECEI, children are assessed by a NDIS early childhood partner. Children are then supported in mainstream early childhood settings such as preschool and play group to develop the skills they need to take part in daily activities. Receiving support early in their development may reduce the need for longer term assistance.

Families benefit by receiving:

  • assessment and provision of short term specialist supports
  • access to a range of family-centred support services relevant to the family’s needs,
  • assistance to access the early childhood early intervention services
  • assistance to connect with other families who have similar needs and to build networks. 

Families of children aged 7 and above are supported by local area coordinators and funded through individual plans.

Visit the NDIS website for more information about the ECEI services providers registered in South Australia.


Transport Assistance for students with disability is  funded by the NDIS. Transport is regarded as an in-kind arrangement between the State and the NDIS. Refer to the in-kind student travel fact sheet.

The department is  a service provider for school transport. Students  are required to meet the NDIS ‘reasonable and necessary’ criteria to access the department's transport assistance program.

It is important that families connect with NDIS to establish eligibility before contacting the school or preschool to access this service.

Once assessed, the most appropriate form of transport assistance will be determined by the department (e.g. taxi, bus, or car allowance).

Visit the NDIS website for more information on accessing transport assistance for students and in-kind student transport for an explanation of In-kind funding arrangements.

Personal care

Personal care assistance at school is funded either through the NDIS or through the school’s reasonable adjustment obligations.

The NDIS will fund, personal care support where care is related to the student’s disability such as assistance with toileting, eating and mobility.

If a child has an existing NDIS plan with personal care as a support item prior to enrolling at school or preschool, these services will continue as per the current arrangement.

The NDIA and state governments are yet to determine how the management of personal care in an educational setting will work under the NDIS.

Post school transition

School Leaver Employment Support (SLES) is a reasonable and necessary NDIS funded support for students leaving school and who have a goal to work in open employment. SLES, an alternative to DES, complements but does not replace existing school supports and its objective is to fund supports for students to build skills and capacity within 2 years.

Students and their family/carer are encouraged to share information regarding school transition planning with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) during their NDIS planning meeting. Students who have already had a planning meeting for their final year of schooling may need to seek a plan review to discuss post school supports if not already considered.

Further information is available on the NDIS website: Changes to SLES in 2018.

NDIS in the community

Respite care program

Department for Education operates the Respite Care Program, a specialised disability care service for under 18s. The department is a provider for this service under the NDIS.

Visit SA.gov.au for further information on respite care.

Rural and remote strategy and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement strategy

The challenges facing people with disability in remote regions and Aboriginal communities are different to those in metropolitan areas.

The Rural and Remote Strategy and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Strategy have been established by the NDIA to work with communities to understand and identify their strengths, their diversity and how best to support people with a disability in those regions.

These two strategies aim to ensure:

  • ease of access to the NDIS
  • availability of appropriate and effective supports
  • collaboration with communities and partnerships
  • local needs, circumstances and conditions are addressed
  • support and strengthen the local capacity of rural and remote communities.

Regular meetings between people from the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands community, members of state government and local agencies and the NDIA are being held to develop an agreed approach for this community.

Visit the NDIS website for further information on the Rural and Remote Strategy and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Strategy.

NDIS service providers

NDIS service providers may only access school grounds if approved by the principal.

Approval depends on:

  • qualifications of the provider
  • ensuring relevant screening and training has been completed
  • the provider holding the correct insurance
  • receipt of details where limitations or restrictions have been placed on professional practice
  • ensuring there are available facilities
  • ensuring there is ‘line of sight’ with the student at all times
  • volume of requests
  • educational needs of the student.

Preschools and schools must provide a mandated amount of instructional time and have a duty of care for children and students. Families should consult their child’s school before arranging an externally funded (non-government) service provider.

Families with questions or concerns about a NDIS service provider should contact the NDIA.

Visit the NDIS website for a list of registered service providers in South Australia.

Registering for NDIS support

It is not too late to register for the NDIS. Please contact the NDIA or the Local Area Coordinator in your region about eligibility.

If your child has an existing inclusive education plan with reasonable adjustments, you should ask the school for this information before meeting with the NDIA. Schools do not need to undertake new assessments to support your NDIS application.


After a NDIS plan is established, privacy legislation prohibits the NDIA from sharing these details unless the participant agrees.

Families are not obliged to inform the school or preschool if their child is receiving NDIS support. However, speaking to the school about particular supports, such as therapeutic supports, can ensure that there is no duplication or gaps in the supports being provided.


National Disability Insurance Agency

If you believe your child has developmental delay or a disability or would like further information on the NDIS and NDIS service providers, please contact the NDIA or visit an NDIS office.

Department for Education, Disability Policy and Programs – National Projects Team

Phone: 8226 2235 or 8226 9852
Email: education.NationalProjects [at] sa.gov.au 
Website: www.education.sa.gov.au or Children with disability and special needs


You can find contact details for your child's preschool or school using our school finder.