The purpose of this policy is to explain how schools can support students who receive National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funded therapy.
- Schools are encouraged to support students and their parents/carers in exercising a level of choice and control with their NDIS supports at school where it is safe and practical to do so.
- The department has produced guidelines for Victorian government schools related to requests for the delivery of funded therapy in schools.
- Ultimately, the decision to allow funded therapists to conduct therapy on school grounds rests with the principal.
- The therapies funded by the NDIS are related to the student’s functional whole-of-life support needs, and not for educational purposes. The responsibility for therapy for educational attainment remains with the education system. On this basis, schools should continue to employ therapists and access therapy from to provide educational supports.
The NDIS provides Australians under the age of 65 who have a permanent and significant disability with the reasonable and necessary supports to participate in the community and achieve their goals.
Funding is based on individual needs and allocated to the person (with their family, carer or advocate) who can choose who they will purchase services from and when, where and how they receive services. Eligibility is focused on lifelong, functional impairment.
Funded supports may include:
- help with household tasks and personal care
- vehicle and home modifications
- mobility equipment and assistive technology
- transport to be involved in community, social and employment activities
- therapies related to the disability
- assistance with coordination of NDIS supports.
The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) administers the NDIS. The NDIA makes decisions about whether someone is eligible to become an NDIS participant and, if so, how much funding they will receive.
School-age participants may receive funding for non-educational therapy through the NDIS. The department has developed guidelines for principals (on the ) on whether this therapy may be delivered at schools.
Local area coordinators and early childhood partners
Local area coordinators (LACs) support participants to create and work towards their goals, build capacity to make their own decisions and choices and access the supports they need to live the life they choose. They help participants to create a plan which is provided to the NDIA for approval.
Early childhood (EC) partners are qualified organisations with strong community connections, local knowledge and expertise who work with participants who are under the age of 9, and their parents/carers to build their NDIS plans and support them to identify their goals and aspirations.
LAC and EC partner responsibilities include:
- working with children and their parents/carers to identify options to achieve their goals by drawing on informal, mainstream and community supports as well as reasonable and necessary supports funded by the NDIS
- undertaking NDIS plan reassessments.
NDIS eligibility and department-funded programs
Schools remain responsible for personalising learning and support for students with disability that primarily relate to their educational attainment. This includes providing access to department funded and .
How schools can help students access the NDIS
Some important actions schools can take to assist families include:
- providing to parents and carers of students with disability who are not NDIS participants
- providing parents and carers with copies of student records and reports to assist them in submitting access documentation to the NDIA. Relevant information that schools hold may include:
Although the provision of these existing school documents is recommended, please note that schools are not required to arrange new assessments or provide evidence of disability to support a student’s access to the NDIS.
Early childhood approach
The early childhood approach is how the NDIS supports children younger than 6 with developmental delay or children younger than 9 with disability and their families to access the right support when they need it.
The early childhood approach was developed based on evidence-based research with the help of leading experts in early childhood intervention.
The approach supports best practice in early childhood intervention because it helps the child and family to build their capacity and supports greater inclusion in community and everyday settings, meaning each child will be provided with opportunities to grow and learn.
Changing the age to include children younger than 9 ensures children and their parents/carers are supported by an EC partner during and after they transition to primary school.
Children who are currently NDIS participants turning 7 after 1 July 2023, will remain with their EC partner until they turn 9, if they require support up to this age.
Children younger than 9 with a permanent disability, who are new to the NDIS from 1 July 2023, will be supported by an EC partner.
NDIS participants aged 9 and over are supported by a local area coordinator (LAC).
The NDIS and funded therapy for students
The NDIS provides choice and control for children with disability and their parents/carers on how disability services and supports are delivered.
As a result, school principals may receive requests from parents/carers to allow NDIS funded therapists to:
- observe a student in the classroom or in the school environment
- attend a meeting to monitor and tailor the support provided to the student.
These requests can generally be accommodated by schools and complement holistic student planning and support processes. Schools must develop their own school level policies and procedures to effectively screen, manage and supervise all visitors and should refer to these resources. For more information, refer to the
Note: an NDIS funded therapist observing a student in the classroom or in the school environment should only observe a particular child and with that child’s parental/carer consent. The observer should:
- only make written notes focusing solely on the relevant child
- protect the privacy of other students in the class by not recording anything that in any way could identify them
- not make any audio or video recordings of the class.
Funded therapy on school grounds
Principals may also receive requests for NDIS funded therapists to deliver therapy on school grounds or virtually during school hours.
The department is committed to supporting NDIS participants and their families to optimise the benefits offered by the NDIS. Consistent with this commitment, Victorian government schools are encouraged to accommodate students and their parents/carers exercising choice and control in relation to NDIS supports.
On this basis, requests for NDIS funded therapy to be delivered at school or virtually during school hours should be approved unless the specific circumstances raise practical, legal and/or educational issues that make the approval of the request unfeasible or unreasonable.
When deciding whether to approve a request for NDIS funded therapy in schools, principals may consider a variety of factors including:
- individual circumstances of the student
- student access to the curriculum
- Child Safe Standards and duty of care including the ability of school staff to supervise the student while the NDIS funded therapy is being provided
- practical and administrative capacity
- anti-discrimination obligations.
Ultimately, the decision rests with the school principal.
The NDIS may fund a range of specialised supports for school-aged children with a disability. However, the NDIS does not:
- replace or duplicate the responsibilities of the education system
- fund therapy for the purpose of enabling a student to access their education.
In accordance with relevant anti-discrimination laws:
- schools remain responsible for providing ‘reasonable adjustments’ to ensure that students with disability can access education on the same basis as their peers
- schools are legally obliged to provide these reasonable adjustments, regardless of whether a student is also receiving NDIS support.
There is no legal obligation on principals to approve a request for NDIS funded therapy. This is because NDIS funded therapy is generally not required to enable the student to access their education.
For general information about the NDIS:
For specific queries about the NDIS and your school, please contact your regional office.
Reviewed 17 January 2024