Step 2 – Make a decision
To decide whether to approve an NDIS funded therapist request, principals should use the information provided by the therapist and parent(s) in the Request Form and Parent Consent form (login required), to consider all factors set out in the ‘Key Considerations’ section above. These questions are designed to guide deliberations.
Individual circumstances of student
- Has the therapist outlined clear therapy outcomes and aims in the request form?
- Has the request been made in the best interests of the student, or for the benefit of another party (for example, the working hours of the therapist)?
- Will the student be able to access necessary therapy if the request is declined?
- Will there be any significant adverse effects on the student if the therapy request is declined?
Child Safe Standards and duty of care
- Does the therapist have a satisfactory Working with Children Check?
- Is the request for therapy to occur during or after school supervision hours?
If the request is for therapy to occur during school supervision hours:
- Can the school provide a safe and suitable location for the therapy to take place in which a staff member has a line of sight to the therapy (for example, a corner of the classroom or in an adjunct room with a glass window)?
- If the proposed therapy will take place in a room isolated from other students, does the school have capacity to allocate an alternative space and an additional staff member to be present to supervise the therapy?
Reportable Conduct Scheme
- Are all staff members aware of their reporting requirements under the Reportable Conduct Scheme if an NDIS funded therapist is permitted to enter onto school premises to deliver services to students?
Student access to the curriculum
- Is the therapy time-dependent? For example, is the therapy a support that must take place during school hours?
- Has consideration been given to the student’s access to the curriculum or other key benefits of the educational program if they are withdrawn to receive NDIS funded therapy?
- Will the needs of other students in the class and the programs being run by teachers in the school not be disrupted by the proposed therapy?
- Does the student’s learning program have flexibility to accommodate therapy during school hours?
Practical and administrative capacity
- Does the school have available space to accommodate the therapy?
- Is the school equipped to deal with additional administration that allowing therapy might entail (in particular specialist schools with more NDIS participants)?
- Can the NDIS funded therapist and the school work together to share information and support the student to meet their goals?
- Does the school have ‘reasonable adjustments’ in place to ensure the student is able to access their education on the same basis as their peers without a disability?
- How will school supports and reasonable adjustments all continue regardless of the decision made?
Charter of Human Rights
- Has consideration been given to relevant human rights in assessing and deciding the request?
School Council support
- Have you consulted with School Council regarding a licence for NDIS funded therapy being delivered to students on school grounds?
- Has the school’s Child Safe Standards Risk Register been updated accordingly?
The final decision should be made on a case-by-case basis, having regard to all relevant factors. However, to ensure decision making is transparent and consistent, principals should also consider how previous requests for NDIS funded therapy at the school have been treated.
If principals require further support or advice when considering requests for NDIS funded therapy to be provided on school grounds, they should contact their Senior Education Improvement Leader (SEIL) in the first instance, or if further advice is required contact the Inclusive Education Division at firstname.lastname@example.org
Communicating the decision
Regardless of the decision, principals must:
- document their consideration of the relevant factors listed on page 10, and keep a record of their decision and the Request Form (staff login required), on the relevant student’s file
- communicate the decision to the parent(s) and therapist, using the template letter to parents (staff login requried).
This template letter outlines reasons for the decision made by the principal. This is intended to promote transparency and consistency in decision making and increase communication between the school, parent(s) and practitioner so any potential negative communication can be minimised.
Schools should respond to any parent concerns and complaints regarding the decision in an effective and timely manner. To ensure that principals use a fair and proper process, it is important that you give parent(s) a chance to respond to your decision, and consider any additional information they provide.
The underlying premise of the Department’s complaints management policy is that parent concerns and complaints are best and most effectively managed at the school level. If the complaint remains unresolved after contact with the school, the complaint will be referred to the Department’s regional office. The Independent Office for School Dispute Resolution is the final step in the Department’s dispute resolution and complaints process. Refer to: Parent Complaints for more information.
If you require further information and support you can also contact your relevant Area team, including your Community Liaison Officer and SEIL.
If the principal decides to approve the therapy request, Step 3 enables the principal to implement appropriate arrangements necessary to mitigate any risks associated with this arrangement. This includes ensuring that the relevant consent forms are signed and a licensing agreement is entered into with the relevant therapist.
Reviewed 22 September 2021