For posts on bullying, visit The Learn to be Buddies Series Blog.
All images and posts written by and copyright to Amanda Clements (nee Gray) 2009-2012 unless otherwise indicated.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Support Services: What can we put on our wish list?

As this year comes to an end and we start thinking about the next school year (in Australia, at least), it is important to know what support services are available in our school systems. The first thing to understand is the laws and Standards that set the guidelines for supports in schools.

For countries other than Australia

If you are from the US you will need to know about the Individuals with a Disability Act and Section 504 … and maybe more. I have not worked with these, so will not discuss them here. However, you might want to do some reading starting at the site.

If you are from the UK, you might want to start find out about Special Education Needs support by visiting this site:

For Australia
The Commonwealth Disability Standards for Education 2005

Part 7 of these Standards is called the Standards for student support services. Here are some of its main points.

Where do the support services come from?

- Students with disabilities should be able to access support services within the school or Education Department available to students without a disability without discrimination. So it the school is has supports such as a mentoring system, or peer support, peer tutoring or career advisor, children with disabilities should be able to access these services in the same way as all children in the school.

- If a student with a disability needs a specialised support service to ensure that they can participate in learning or other school-based activities, and it exists within the Department of Education, then the Standards state that the “provider must take reasonable steps to ensure that the student has access to the service (but may arrange for it to be provided by another person or agency).” (p19)

- If a specialised support service is needed, and it does not exist within the Department or school, the “the provider must take reasonable steps to facilitate the provision of the service to the student by another person or agency.”

Who decides on what is necessary?

Part 7 identifies that the process of deciding on the nature of the support services needed for the child should include consultation with the student or an associate of the student.

An associate, according to Part 1.4 (p6), is:

“(a) a spouse of the person; and

“(b) another person who is living with the person on a genuine domestic basis; and

“(c) a relative of the person; and

“(d) a carer of the person; and

“(e) another person who is in a business, sporting or recreational relationship with the person.”

So, in the school situation, the Learning Support Team (who I will discuss in another post) should jointly make this decision. And parents and their child (if the child is over the age of 11) should be part of that Learning Support Team.

What services should be supplied?

- specialised equipment: which can mean anything from mobility aids to technology such as that seen on the spectronicsinoz website.

- appropriately trained staff: which usually means teachers’ aides and support teachers.

Part 7 also stipulates that staff should be aware of available support services and be provided with information about these so they can assist students to access these, including through collaboration with “specialised service providers” such as social workers, speech therapists and so on.

In the next few posts I will look at writing more about the roles of teachers’ aides, support teachers, and what might be “reasonable” in the context of funding structures and current resources.



About This Blog

You are welcome to browse as you like... but please remember that everything here is copyrighted. To receive printable copies of articles that you can hand out to others, subscribe to the Learn to be Buddies newsletter at

Copyright Amanda Gray 2009-11

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP