Student support groups

A student support group (SSG) is a partnership between schools, parents, the student and relevant agencies.  The group works together to plan and support the educational, health, social, cultural and emotional wellbeing of students with diverse learning needs.  This may include students:

  • with a disability or additional learning needs
  • from Aboriginal backgrounds
  • from refugee or migrant backgrounds
  • on youth justice orders or having transitioned from the youth justice system.

Role of a student support group

A SSG is responsible for developing and implementing an individual education plan or personalised learning plan.  This plan should:

  • be developed in consultation with the student and the members of the SSG
  • outline a meaningful educational program with high expectations for the student
  • be age appropriate, holistic in its approach, support cultural needs and safety, and be flexible and future oriented
  • consider key long-term goals that reflect learning outcomes in social, academic and life skills development
  • establish short-term goals that will lead sequentially to the achievement of long-term goals
  • ensure that the goals are SMARTAR goals: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely, agreed and reviewed
  • clearly articulate individual and shared responsibilities
  • be a strength-based model with a focus on the student’s potential to achieve good educational, social and behavioural outcomes
  • be supported and informed by other relevant plans such as a cultural plan, behaviour support plan or a safety plan
  • aim to retain the student at school
  • provide guidance for the SSG
  • contain a record of important decisions and actions
  • be reviewed regularly in accordance with the timeline as agreed by all members of the SSG (or at least once per term).

Members and their roles

A student support group includes:

Principal

Principals are responsible for:

  • setting up student support groups
  • supporting members to take part
  • coordinating and chairing meetings
  • ensuring meetings are held at least once a term
  • ensuring notes of meetings are taken and provided to all members.
  • ensuring efficient and effective meeting arrangements are in place. Examples of a meeting agenda are available in the student support group - guidelines for schools and families

Teacher/Year Level Coordinator

Teachers/Year Level Coordinators are responsible for:

  • keeping the student support group updated on the student’s progress
  • assisting in determining future educational goals
  • ensuring that the student has access to school’s educational programs
  • implementing the classroom content of the individual education plan
  • coordinating other staff working with the student in the classroom.

Parents, guardians and carers

Parents, guardians and carers are responsible for:

  • providing a holistic view of their child
  • providing information on the effectiveness of past strategies and programs
  • contributing to the development and monitoring of the goals and strategies of their child’s teaching and learning program
  • choosing an advocate if required.

Student

It is important that the student plays an active and age-appropriate role in the student support group and contributes to the decisions and actions that are agreed, either in person or via a trusted adult, for example, their Learning Mentor.

Advocate

It is the right of parents to have an advocate. Advocates can help with:

  • sharing the parents’ knowledge about the student
  • discussing any difficulties the parent may have in the student support group
  • developing a cooperative relationship between parents and the school community
  • assisting parents to understand the Department’s procedures
  • linking parents with relevant services.

Advocates must not be paid for their help.

Interpreter

Where necessary an interpreter should be present at meetings to help with communication.

Consultant

Consultants may provide additional knowledge of the student’s teaching and learning needs.

Meetings

Meetings should be held on a regular basis, usually once a term.

Enough time should be allowed for members to prepare for the meeting. Meetings should be arranged at a time that is convenient for all members.  Sample agendas are available in the guidelines.

Full guidelines

An Easy English version of this topic has been written for parent/carer(s). See: