Reasonable adjustments


We have a legal requirement to provide reasonable adjustments, where necessary, for students with disability, to ensure they are able to participate in education and training on the same basis as students without disability.

An adjustment is a measure or action taken to assist a student with a disability to participate on the same basis as other students—Disability Standards for Education 2005 (DSE).

On the same basis means that while all students will access age-equivalent content, their focus and the way they access it might vary, depending upon their strengths, interests, goals and needs.

Reasonable adjustments are developed in consultation with the student, their parents or carers, and relevant school staff. Reasonable adjustments apply to all types of learning, including learning at school, and on excursions and camps.

Reasonable adjustments are flexible and take into account the changing needs of the student. They balance the interests of all parties.

The process for making a reasonable adjustment outlined in DSE involves:

  • consultation with the student (if possible), and their parents or carers
  • consideration of whether an adjustment is necessary to enable the student to participate on the same basis as other students
  • if an adjustment is necessary, identification of a reasonable adjustment or adjustments
  • making the reasonable adjustment.

Schools work closely with parents or carers, the regions and the department to carefully consider what is a reasonable or unreasonable adjustment. All possible solutions are examined and relevant professionals or other parties may be consulted. The student's needs, and the best way to meet them while balancing the needs of others, are given the highest priority.

An adjustment is reasonable if it:

  • supports a student to participate on the same basis as other students
  • takes into account the student's learning needs
  • balances the interests, including safety, of all concerned (students and staff).

The online resource Disability Standards for Education: A practical guide for individuals, families and communities provides information about the obligations that education providers have to comply with the DSE and the provision of reasonable adjustments.

Schools draw on the supports that are available in the region and central office to clarify issues regarding an adjustment.

It should be noted that adjustments:

  • may benefit all/other students, but are essential for the identified student to access and participate in the intended curriculum
  • need to be specific and targeted to the identified impairment and the individual student
  • include the range, breadth, frequency and complexity of adjustments that are required.

Reasonable adjustments can include a range of strategies. Adjustments reflect the identified individual needs of the student, and assist the student to access and participate in the class program. Teachers can provide instructional and/or access adjustments.

Instructional adjustments are those that change how a student is taught, or may change the content of the program. For example, the student may be provided with an outline of what is to be learnt, with a focus on key concepts. Instructional adjustments (DOC, 693KB) provide a comprehensive but not exhaustive list of instructional adjustments that may be used by a teacher.

Access adjustments include those that change the way a student accesses the program but does not change the content of the program. For example, a student with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may use word-processing instead of handwriting. Access adjustments (DOC, 700KB) provide a comprehensive but not exhaustive list of access adjustments that may be used by a teacher.

Planning for Personalised Learning and Support: A National Resource (PDF, 725KB) provides guidance for schools and families in developing individualised planning and processes to support the development, implementation and recording of reasonable adjustments.

The DSE also require education providers to put in place strategies and programs to prevent harassment and victimisation. They must ensure that staff and students know it is not lawful to harass or victimise students with disability, or students who have associates with disability, or their carer, assistant, assistance animal and/or disability aid. An education provider must take reasonable steps to ensure that staff and students know what to do if harassment or victimisation occurs.

Further information

Last updated 27 November 2018