General information for students with disability

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Phones away for the day

From the start of the 2024 school year, students will be putting their mobile phones away and turning off smartwatch notifications during the school day—including break times.

Removing the distraction of mobile devices during the school day will help students to concentrate on learning, connect with their friends and teachers, and support their safety and wellbeing.

Some students with disability, or those with a medical condition, may require an exemption from this procedure such as students:

  • who use an application on their mobile phone to monitor and manage diabetes
  • with cardiac conditions who use their wearable device to monitor their heart rate during the school day
  • with disability or learning difficulties who use a mobile phone as an agreed reasonable adjustment to access learning
  • who use a mobile phone as an augmentative or alternative communication system or as an aide to access and participate in the school environment (for example, navigation or object/people identification applications).

Principals will make decisions about exemptions for students in their school.

Parents and carers should speak with the school about obtaining an exemption for their child. School staff will work with you and your child to identify the specific requirements for exemption, and processes for communicating this exemption to staff.

More information can be found on the phones away for the day online hub.

Enrolment options

Choosing the right school for your child is an important decision.

All children can enrol at their local state school. All students will be welcomed and reasonable adjustments made to enable your child to learn alongside their similar-aged peers and achieve their full potential. To enrol at your local state school you can contact the school principal. You can find your local state school on the department's schools directory. If you are not sure which Queensland state school to contact, your closest regional office can help. More information about enrolling your child at your local state school is also available online.

If your child has intellectual disability that, either alone or in combination with other disabilities, severely impacts their ability to learn, you may choose to enrol your child at your local state primary or secondary school.

To apply for enrolment at a Queensland state special school—set criteria apply, information can be found in the Queensland state special schools—parent/carer fact sheet (DOCX, 135KB). For further information regarding intellectual disability, please visit the intellectual disability page.

Reasonable adjustments

Under the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (Cwth), all Queensland state schools are required to make reasonable adjustments for students with disability to enable them to access and participate in education on the same basis as students without disability.

Reasonable adjustments are strategies or supports that help students with disability to attend school, learn, participate in school activities and support their wellbeing while at school. Reasonable adjustments can be made in the classroom, in the playground, to the school environment or when students are participating in special events such as excursions or camps. Reasonable adjustments help to reduce the barriers students may experience due to their disability.

Teachers make reasonable adjustments for an individual student, but these adjustments can benefit others too.

Reasonable adjustments are made based on the student's individual learning needs. This means that reasonable adjustments made for one student might be different for another, or different in one school to another.

Under the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (Cwth), schools are required to make reasonable adjustments for students with disability to enable them to participate in education on the same basis as other students.

Reasonable adjustments apply to students with disability (or their parents or other associates) and relate to:

  • applying and enrolling at a school
  • participating in relevant learning activities, courses and educational programs
  • using services and facilities.

There are a number of resources about the Disability Standards for Education 2005 that can help you and your child to understand your rights and obligations, including information about reasonable adjustments. There are easy read and alternate language versions of these resources.

The Disability Standards for Education: A practical guide for individuals, families and communities also provides more information about reasonable adjustments and the Disability Standards for Education 2005. You can hear about the standards by watching the Disability Standards for Education video.

How decisions are made about reasonable adjustments

Schools must consult parents about reasonable adjustments before they are made. Students are also consulted as much as possible, with the student's age and individual circumstances guiding how best to include them in consultation.

For more information about reasonable adjustments, visit the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on school students with disability (NCCD) website.

The Community Resource Unit Ltd (CRU) is supported by the department to provide information to families about inclusive education. A range of resources are available, including a fact sheet about advocacy and meetings (PDF, 761KB). This may help you to be prepared for meetings with your child's school. Resources are also available that can help you to create a vision for inclusive education.

School plans for reasonable adjustments

Schools document the reasonable adjustments that will be made for individual students with disability enrolled at their school. They may be presented in a personalised learning plan, an individual support plan or another type of plan developed by the school. Schools determine the best way to document the reasonable adjustments and supports they are providing according to their local context.

These plans assist schools to ensure that staff are aware of the reasonable adjustments being made to support your child's learning and participation needs.

Students with disability do not automatically require an individual curriculum plan (ICP). Most students with disability in Prep to Year 10 are assessed against the achievement standards for their enrolled year level, with reasonable adjustments. However, for some students with disability, an ICP may be required to enable assessment and reporting against a level different to their enrolled year level. This occurs when differentiated, focused and intensive teaching has been provided with rigour and has not met the needs of the student.

A decision to provide an ICP is a collaborative process and may include input from a range of stakeholders involved in the student's education.

An ICP is agreed between you and your child's school. More information about individual curriculum plans can be found in the P–12 curriculum, assessment and reporting framework.

The school will discuss plans with you before they are finalised and will share it with you and your child. You can contact your child's school if you need more information about a plan for your child.

Types of reasonable adjustments

Reasonable adjustments are different in each school and for each student according to their different strengths and needs. The reasonable adjustments will be made to support your child to attend, learn and participate in school activities. They may be required in the classroom, the playground, the school environment or during school excursions and camps.

Examples of adjustments could include:

  • teaching in a different way, for example, using diagrams and charts
  • providing extra learning to address areas of difficulty, for example, small group learning
  • using different resources and materials, for example, larger print, reference material, Braille
  • using different approaches to assessment
  • involving a teacher aide to support the classroom teacher at some times
  • using assistive technology, for example, speech to text tool, slope board
  • using different approaches to assessment
  • teaching a different year level in an age-appropriate way and developing an Individual Curriculum Plan
  • providing personal care supports, for example, to facilitate health or daily living needs
  • arranging the classroom or other learning environments so that all students can access what they need and move around the environment
  • making changes to areas of the school environment such as playgrounds or eating areas
  • providing a quiet area for students that responds to sensory issues or to support emotional regulation
  • using different strategies to ensure that all students are safe in emergency situations such as fire alarms
  • providing additional supports to students during school or out-of-school activities.

There are a range of podcasts on the NCCD website that outline the types of adjustments that could be made to respond to a range of conditions, disorders or disabilities, including Autism, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Down syndrome, Dyslexia, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and Tourette syndrome.

Hear about some of the ways schools across Queensland are supporting students with disability to succeed.

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Resources provided to help schools make reasonable adjustments

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Schools can access a wide range of resources and supports to assist them to make reasonable adjustments. School staff will talk with you about your child's learning goals and the supports available to help your child to be successful at school.

Resources are provided to support all students with disability as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. These resources are provided as a total pool to the school and not to individual students. This allows the principal to use resources flexibly across the school for all students.

All schools receive an allocation of teachers and teacher aides for every student. Additional teachers and teacher aides are provided to schools to make reasonable adjustments for all students with disability through the new students with disability – reasonable adjustments resourcing model. This new model provides additional teachers and teacher aides based on the level of reasonable adjustments a student needs to access and participate in education on the same basis as their peers.

State and non-state schools can also access services from non-government organisations funded by the department through the:

To find out more about the supports available for your child, visit the appropriate disability-specific page.

The Community Resource Unit Ltd (CRU) is supported by the department to provide information to families about inclusive education. A range of resources are available, including a fact sheet about advocacy and meetings (PDF, 761KB). This may help you when consulting with your child's school about support services. Other fact sheets and resources are also available that can help you to create a vision for inclusive education.

Early childhood and getting ready for school

Starting Kindy and school is an exciting time for children and families. Support is available for children with disability (which may or may not be diagnosed) before they start school. This includes support at Kindy, through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and through Early Childhood Development Programs (ECDPs).

Kindergarten (Kindy)

Going to Kindy provides opportunities for your child to learn through play, make friends and prepare for the transition to Prep. Your child can go to Kindy in the year they turn four before 30 June. More information about going to Kindy can be found on the Queensland Government and Early Childhood Education and Care websites.

All children in Queensland are eligible and encouraged to attend an approved Kindy in the year before school. Your child may be able to access 15 hours a week of free or low cost Kindy. More information about this can be found on the Queensland Government's website.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

Your child may be eligible for help through the NDIS and their Early Childhood Partners if they have a disability or developmental delay. The NDIS Early Childhood Early Intervention (NDIS ECEI) pathway is for children from birth to 6 years to help them build the skills they need for daily living and achieve the best possible outcomes throughout their life. This fact sheet provides more information about how you can access the NDIS.

Early Childhood Development Programs (ECDPs)

ECDPs support children's early learning and development as they transition to school. ECDP staff can work with your child's Kindy, early childhood provider, NDIS ECEI partner, other NDIS providers, families and the future school to give them a great start to school. More information is available on the ECDP fact sheet for parents.

You can contact the local regional office or refer to the ECDP locations map if you need more information about accessing an ECDP.

ECDP resources:

A combination of ECDP, Kindy and NDIS ECEI supports can help your child have a great start to school.

More information and resources:

Starting and finishing school

Starting and finishing school is an exciting time for all children and young people. Support is available for children and young people at all stages of learning.

Schools plan transition programs that can be tailored to support the individual needs of your child. You and your child can talk to the school principal (or other staff member) of the future or current school about the supports needed for them to succeed. For example, your child may need to start their transition earlier or may need some reasonable adjustments to ensure that they are able to participate and engage in transition activities.

The following information outlines some important ways that you can help your child during these transition times.

Starting school

As parents and carers you play an important role in helping your child feel positive about starting school. Transitioning to Prep is an ongoing process in which children may feel a combination of emotions. Some days children may feel happy and confident. At other times, they may appear sad, anxious, tired or overwhelmed. These are all typical responses as children adjust to new physical and social environments, with new sets of routines and expectations.

You can talk to your child's early childhood program provider (e.g. kindergarten, ECDP) about completing a transition plan that will be shared with your child's prospective school.

Hear about how Wynnum Early Development Childhood Program (ECDP) worked with Wondall Heights State School to transition students to Preptranscript.

The following resources, information and links may be helpful for you to support your child's successful transition to school:

Starting secondary school

Starting secondary school is an exciting time. It is a more complex schooling environment that involves more classroom teachers and new routines. Transition to secondary school provides opportunities for students, parents/carers and schools to work together and develop productive relationships.

The transition to secondary school for students with disability: ideas for parents/carers fact sheet may be helpful in supporting you and your young person during the transition phase. It provides a sample approach to plan for the transition to junior secondary.

Other useful resources

Hear about how Whitfield State School worked with Trinity Bay State High School to transition students to secondary schooltranscript.

Starting senior secondary and finishing school

The senior phase of learning provides students with the opportunity to develop the skills, knowledge and abilities they will need to finish school, be active and informed citizens, continue their learning journey and be engaged in the community.

The school will talk to you and your young person about planning future pathways into the senior phase of learning and post-school. This planning will be personalised to meet the individual needs of your young person and may include:

  • starting the Senior Education and Training (SET) plan earlier than other students
  • exploring a wide range of options for future pathways (e.g. education, training and employment)—this could include visits to university and career expos and working with school staff to explore options
  • sampling employment during the senior years, e.g. work experience, volunteering
  • working with a broad team of specialists, community organisations or National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) providers.

It is important that the student and parents/carers are involved in the planning process and that the student's goals, abilities, interests and strengths are considered. The plan may need to be reviewed regularly.

A range of resources are available for school staff, students and parents relating to SET planning:

There are many things to consider when planning for life after school. Careful planning and preparation helps ensure a smooth transition into employment, further education, vocational training and life in the community.

Your young person may be a participant of the NDIS. You can work closely with the NDIS to plan for life after school and explore available options for support, such as access to school leaver employment supports (SLES) under the NDIS. Read more information about the NDIS.

The transition to post-school fact sheet gives students and parents/carers important information to support them to plan for life after school.

Resources are available for students and parents relating to career planning on the Your Career website. This includes a range of information for school leavers and the school leavers information kit.

If you need more information about planning for post-school options, contact the school principal (or other nominated staff member).

Hear about how some Queensland state schools supported students in the senior phase of learning.

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How parents and carers can be involved

Working with parents is one of the very important ways schools can support students with disability.

You can talk to your child's teacher about how you can be involved in your child's learning and how they can keep you updated on your child's progress.

There may be times when you need to talk to your child's school and teacher about their needs. Staff at your child's school will consult with you about the supports that can be provided to help your child to learn and participate in education. Consultation with students is also important, with the student's age and individual circumstances guiding how best to include them in consultation.

Our parent and community engagement for parents fact sheet provides information to schools to help them provide you with information and consult you about your child's learning.

Being involved in other school activities such as the parents association or volunteering at school are important ways parents play an active part in the school community. More information about how you can become involved and participate is provided on the parent participation page.

The department has also engaged the Community Resource Unit Ltd (CRU) to provide support to parents of students with disability to work with their child's school. More information about the Families for Inclusive Education Project (including fact sheets, webinars, resources and workshops) can be found on the CRU website.

Information about supporting all children and young people to participate and be engaged at school can be found on the Queensland Government's Spark their Future website.

Hear about how these Queensland state schools are working together to support students with disability.

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Community supports and the NDIS

Some students with disability may need or receive services and support outside of school through community organisations or through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

National Disability Insurance Scheme

You can find out about your child's eligibility for the NDIS by contacting either an Early Childhood Partner for children aged 0 to 6 years or a local area coordinator for older children.

Information about the NDIS and schools is available on the department's NDIS fact sheet.

The NDIS does not provide supports for children while at school. Schools provide supports to students with disability to access and participate in education.

To help you to make an access request for the NDIS, your child's school can provide copies of any current and relevant plans and reports. This may include your child's Education Adjustment Program report, therapy report, personalised learning plan, individual curriculum plan or health management plan. A disability support summary that provides a snapshot of the disability supports that are provided to your child at school is also available. You can contact your child's school to request this information.

You can share information with your child's school about their NDIS plan and provide consent for school staff to work together with NDIS providers to ensure that your child is supported in a consistent way at school and at home.

If there are circumstances where you need supports in your child's NDIS plan to be delivered at school during school time, you will need to make a request to your school in writing.

More information about NDIS provider access to schools, including a parent fact sheet and parent request form, is available at:

School transport assistance for students with disability

The Queensland Government is continuing to deliver school transport assistance for students with disability under an agreement with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). Students who are NDIS participants and access school transport assistance may see in the notes section of their NDIS plan that this service is being delivered by the Queensland Government.

Further information on how to access school transport assistance is available.

School leaver assistance

The NDIS offers supports, such as the school leaver employment supports (SLES), for eligible students who are finishing school. SLES provides a range of post school supports for up to 2 years to assist young school leavers to become work ready.

For further information visit the SLES NDIS website.

Contacting the NDIA

For more information, contact the NDIA by calling 1800 800 110 or by filling out the online contact form. For people with hearing or speech loss, call TTY on 1800 555 677. For speak and listen, call 1800 555 727. For people who need help with English, call TIS on 131 450.

Find out more at the NDIS in Queensland website, view the Queensland NDIS events calendar, or sign up to the NDIS e-blast.

Community organisations

There are many organisations that can help children and young people with disability and provide advice and support to parents and families.

Disability Online—Australia's Disability Hub provides an alphabetical list of a number of national disability associations and services.

Some links to community organisations have been provided on the disability-specific pages.

Further information about community support services available for your child and for yourself is also available on the department's learning@home website in the inclusion section.

Making an enquiry or complaint

If you have concerns about your child's education, the first step is to discuss these with your child's teacher or the school principal.

In some situations, it can take time to identify and provide the most appropriate supports for your child. It is important to continue working with your child's teachers and other staff to solve issues.

If you still have concerns after talking to the school principal you can raise them with your regional office.

You can also make a complaint in writing, by phone or email.

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Last updated 27 May 2024