Program for Students with Disabilities guidelines

The Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD) provides funding to assist schools to support eligible students with disability and high needs who attend government schools.

The funding is provided directly to schools through the Student Resource Package.

Eligibility for PSD

See PSD operational guidelines (docx - 821.41kb) for full details before submitting an application

Students must meet the eligibility criteria for one of seven categories.

The Disability Standards for Education 2005 apply to all students with disability, regardless of eligibility under the Program for Students with Disabilities, and it is essential that effective educational planning and support be undertaken for every student with disability.

A student support group (SSG) is mandatory for students in the PSD, and strongly encouraged for any students with additional learning needs.

PSD categories

There are seven categories of eligibility criteria:

Physical disability
  1. a significant physical disability and/or
  2. a significant health impairment, and
  3. requires regular paramedical support.
Visual impairment
  1. visual acuity less than 6/60 with corrected vision, or
  2. that visual fields are reduced to a measured arc of less than 10 degrees.
Hearing impairment
  1. a bilateral sensory-neural hearing loss that is moderate/severe/profound, and
  2. the child needs intervention or assistance to communicate.
Severe behaviour disorder
  1. displays disturbed behaviour to a point where special support in a withdrawal group or special class/unit is required, and
  2. displays behaviour so deviant and with such frequency and severity that they require regular psychological or psychiatric treatment, and
  3. severe behaviour that cannot be accounted for by  intellectual disability, sensory (vision, hearing), physical and/or health issues, autism spectrum disorder or severe language disorder, and
  4. a history and evidence of an ongoing problem with an expectation of continuation during the school years.
Intellectual disability
  1. sub-average general intellectual functioning demonstrated which is demonstrated by a full-scale score of two standard deviations or more below the mean score on a standardised individual test of general intelligence, and
  2. significant deficits in adaptive behaviour established by a composite score of two standard deviations or more below the mean on an approved standardised test of adaptive behaviour, and
  3. a history and evidence of an ongoing problem with an expectation of continuation during the school years.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
  1. a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, and
  2. significant deficits in adaptive behaviour established at a composite score of two standard deviations or more below the mean on an approved standardised test of adaptive behaviours, and
  3. significant deficits in language skills established by a comprehensive speech pathology assessment demonstrating a composite score of two standard deviations or more below the mean.
Severe language difficulties with critical educational needs
  1. a score of three or more standard deviations below the mean for the child’s age in expressive and/or receptive language skills on two of the recommended tests, and
  2. the severity of the disorder cannot be accounted for by hearing impairment, social emotional factors, low intellectual functioning or cultural factors, and
  3. a history and evidence of an on-going problem with the expectation of continuation during school years, and
  4. a non-verbal score not lower than one standard deviation below the mean on one comprehensive intellectual test, with a significant (p‹0.05) difference between verbal (VCI) and non-verbal (VSI/PRI) functioning (VCI‹VSI/PRI), and
  5. demonstrated critical educational needs equating to Program for Students with Disabilities funding levels three and above as determined by the validated results of the Educational Needs Questionnaire.

Students who need assessment for the categories of intellectual disability and severe language disorder with critical educational needs must be referred for assessment, to Assessments Australia, the Department’s assessment service provider.

Types of applications

There are three types of PSD applications:

  1. new applications – for students who are not currently in the PSD
  2. Year 6-7 reviews - for students already in the PSD who are:
    • enrolled in mainstream schools in Year 6
    • enrolled in specialist schools who are turning 12 between 1 May and 30 April.
  3. Reappraisals – if the school believes the student’s educational needs have increased, the school can submit a reappraisal.

Timelines

Schools are responsible for submitting PSD applications. One application can be made per year.

New applications for students currently enrolled close in July each year. New applications for new students close in February each year.

For current dates, see the operational guidelines for schools below.

Operational guidelines and forms

  • Program for Students with Disabilities - Operational guidelines for schools 2020 (docx - 823kb)
  • Application summary form (docx - 94.5kb)
  • Student learning and support statement - Goals and strategies form (docx - 53kb)
  • The guidelines provide schools with:

    • summary of the application process (page 10)
    • timelines for the application process (see section 3)
    • information on how to make an application for the PSD, including online registration and required documents (see section 4)
    • links to support materials and templates (see Appendices)
    • key contact numbers and websites (see Appendix H).

    For students turning 19 or older and completing a senior secondary course in 2019

    For students supported by the PSD who are turning 19 or older and completing a senior secondary course in 2019, schools must use this guidance: