Guidelines have been launched to strengthen the support provided to NSW independent schools in the enrolment of students with disability.

AISNSW Chief Executive Dr Geoff Newcombe AM said the Guidelines for Enrolling and Supporting Students with Disability provide a clear framework to assist NSW independent schools in meeting their legal obligations and responsibilities when enrolling and supporting students with disability.

“Increasingly, schools are seeking assistance with understanding the relevant legislative requirements. 

"The guidelines are designed to support the inclusive ethos of independent schools as they seek to maximise and improve the educational outcomes and wellbeing of all students including those with disability,” Dr Newcombe said.

The Guidelines for Enrolling and Supporting Students with Disability were developed by the AISNSW Student Services team in conjunction with Minter Ellison Partner, Jennifer Patterson.

They include collaborative planning tools and templates for use by independent schools, and address some of the difficult questions that arise during the enrolment process.

The collaborative planning process within the guidelines can also be used generally to address the individual needs of students who may require: 

  • additional planning 
  • support and adjustments related to behavioural/social emotional development
  • mental health difficulties
  • issues arising out of gender identity and gender expression
  • school refusal 
  • out of home care.

Strengthening support for NSW independent schools and students

The Student Services team at AISNSW works with independent schools to refine their policies, processes and practices to effectively teach and support all students, including students with disability.

“AISNSW is committed to strengthening the comprehensive services and support available to schools,” Dr Newcombe said.

The launch of the guidelines was held during the AISNSW’s inaugural Anti-Discrimination Legislation Executive Masterclass: Enrolling and Supporting Students with Additional Needs.

During the event, expert human rights lawyer Kate Eastman SC and Minter Ellison Partner Jennifer Patterson addressed about 130 school leaders and staff on the complexities of student enrolment and the disability legislation.

Policies around handling personal information and good communication is key, Ms Eastman said.

“Anti-discrimination laws are about talks and adjustments that try as far as possible to use the metaphor of achieving a level playing field for the kids with disabilities, to get them up to the level where you can have that quality of outcome.”

The Student Services team at AISNSW has consultants with expertise in special education, literacy and numeracy. For further information please call 9299 2845 or visit AISNSW website.