Student support groups for children with additional needs

Our site also has specific information about different disabilities.

If your child has a disability or additional needs, a student support group can help them get the right support at school.

A student support group gives you the opportunity to work with your child’s school to make decisions about their education and check their progress.

The group includes:

  • you – as your child’s parent or carer
  • the teacher or teachers who have responsibility for your child
  • the school principal or a nominee – for example, the assistant principal.

It can also include:

  • any other people who work with your child, as agreed by the group – for example a social worker or medical professional
  • your support person or advocate – if you choose to use one
  • your child – if appropriate.

Your child can attend student support group meetings, but there may be times when this is not appropriate. Even if they do not attend, your child’s preferences can be considered when the group makes decisions.

How a student support group is set up

It’s the principal’s responsibility to set up and run the student support group. This may be delegated to another staff member.

If your child has a disability or additional needs and does not have a student support group, ask the school to organise one.

All students in the Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD) must be supported by a student support group. It is strongly encouraged that any student with additional needs has a student support group.

Student support group meetings

For students in the PSD, student support group meetings take place at least once every school term. The principal or their nominee organises the meetings.

At the meetings, you may work with the rest of the group to:

  • consider your child’s learning needs and views
  • make an individual education plan for your child
  • plan reasonable adjustments to support your child's participation
  • plan your child’s personal or medical care at school
  • plan transitions – for example, from primary to secondary school
  • check your child's progress.

Using an advocate or support person

You have the right to bring an advocate or support person to a student support group meeting.

An advocate may be a friend, supportive community member, a family member or a formal advocate. The advocate cannot be paid for this.

An advocate or support person can explain the terminology used by the school and help you express your point of view. They cannot make decisions for you.

Guidelines and advice

The student support group guidelines (docx - 555.72kb) include templates you can use for student support group meetings.

The Association for Children with a Disability gives advice about attending student support meetings.

If you’re unhappy with a student support group

If you have any concerns about a student support group, speak to the school’s principal first.

Contact the school’s regional office if you’re unhappy with how the principal dealt with your concern. The regional disabilities coordinator can advise you about educational support for your child.