Nationally Consistent Collection of Data

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability?

The Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (the national data collection) is an annual collection that counts the number of school students receiving adjustments because of disability and the level of educational adjustment they are currently receiving.

The national data collection counts students who have been identified by a school team as receiving an adjustment to address a disability under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (the DDA). The DDA can be viewed or downloaded from the ComLaw website

Why has the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability been introduced?

Until now there has been a lack of nationally comparable data about school students with disability. The national data collection ensures that, for the first time, information about students with disability is transparent, consistent and reliable at a national level.

Better information about school students with disability will help parents, carers, teachers, principals and education authorities to support these students to participate in schooling on the same basis as other students. The national data collection aims to, over time, lead to nationally consistent, high quality data that will enable schools, education authorities and governments to gain a more complete understanding of students who are receiving adjustments because of disability in schools in Australia, and how to best support them.

The national data collection captures high level data on the good work occurring in schools to support students receiving adjustments because of disability, as well as providing an excellent range of resources to assist schools to reflect on their practice and learn from others.

Over time, participation in the national data collection will help to embed in schools' everyday practice their obligations under the DDA and the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (the Standards). The DDA and the Standards are available via the ComLaw website  

Isn't data on school students with disability collected now?

Although some data is currently collected, the method varies across states and territories.

A nationally consistent approach to collecting data will provide evidence on:

  • the number of school students receiving an adjustment due to disability
  • where they are located
  • the level of reasonable adjustment they receive
  • the broad type of disability.

What information is collected through the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability?

Every year, schools collect the following information for each student receiving an adjustment due to disability:

  • the student's level of education (i.e. primary or secondary)
  • the student's level of adjustment
  • the student's broad type of disability.

If a student has multiple disabilities, the school team, using their professional judgement, selects the broad category of disability that has the greatest impact on his/her access to education and for which adjustments are being provided.

Some students who meet the definition of disability under the DDA and whose needs are met through quality differentiated teaching practice, may also be counted in the national data collection. For more information about quality differentiated teaching practice, see: The Data Collection Steps

Data is collected within each school and any identifying characteristics (such as student names) are not submitted as part of the collection process. The information collected by schools is provided to governments to inform policy and program improvement for students with disability.

How will this data be used?

The information provided through the national data collection will give governments greater insight into the number of students receiving adjustments because of disability in Australian schools, where they are located and what reasonable adjustments they are receiving.

The data will inform work at a school and systems/sectoral level. It will help to ensure that better support for students who are receiving adjustments because of disability becomes routine in the day-to-day practice of schools through:

  • strengthening understanding of schools' legislative obligations in relation to students who are receiving adjustments because of disability
  • focussing attention on the individual adjustments required to support students with disability to participate in learning on the same basis as other students, and enabling schools to better reflect on the needs of these students and to support them more effectively
  • facilitating a more collaborative and coordinated approach to supporting students who are receiving adjustments because of disability, including through encouraging improvements in documentation at the school level
  • strengthening communication between schools, parents/carers and the broader community about the needs of students who are receiving adjustments because of disability.

The data provides an evidence base of the numbers and distribution of students who are receiving adjustments because of disability. This evidence base will inform policy development and planning at federal, state and local levels to support schools in implementing quality learning and support practices.

Is the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability compulsory?

Yes. All education ministers agreed to full implementation of the national data collection from 2015. This means that all schools must collect information annually on the number of students receiving adjustments because of disability and the levels of adjustment they receive.

Information about the arrangements that may apply to your school in relation to this data collection is available from your child's school principal and the relevant education authority.

When does the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability take place each year?

The national data collection is conducted in August each year. 

What is a 'reasonable adjustment'?

An adjustment is a measure or action taken to help a student with disability access and participate in education on the same basis as other students. Adjustments can be made across the whole school setting (e.g. ramps into buildings), in the classroom (such as adapting teaching strategies) and at an individual student level (such as extra tuition for a student with learning difficulties).

For the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (the Standards), an adjustment is reasonable in relation to a student with disability if it balances the interests of all parties affected.

Schools are required to make reasonable adjustments for students with disability under the Standards. You can view or download the Standards via the ComLaw website

What are the benefits of the national data collection for my child?

The aim of the national data collection is to have high quality, consistent and robust information about Australian school students receiving adjustments because of disability.

The information provided through the national data collection will enable schools, education authorities and governments to gain a more complete understanding of students who are receiving adjustments because of disability in schools in Australia, and how to best support them. Ensuring that students with disability have access to quality schooling on the same basis as their peers is a key outcome of the national data collection.

The national data collection is also an opportunity for schools to review their learning and support systems and processes, helping to ensure they focus on the core practices that can deliver the best possible learning outcomes for all their students.

Will my child's privacy be protected?

Protecting the privacy and confidentiality of all children and their families is essential and is an explicit focus of the national data collection.

As part of the national data collection, the information provided to the Australian Government will not identify individual students. Personal details, student names or any other identifying information will not be included in data sent to the local education authority or to the Australian Government.

For further information about privacy, see: Notices

Where can I get further information about the Disability Standards for Education 2005 and what it means for me and my child?

An e-learning resource has been developed to help individuals, families and communities understand the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Disability Standards for Education 2005. This resource is available at no cost, see: Disability Standards for Education     

Where can I get more information on the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability?

In the first instance, you should contact your child's school to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

Additional information about the national data collection, including resources for parents and carers, is available on the Australian Government Department of Education and Training website. See: Data on school students with disability