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School operations

Student Support Groups

4  Membership

A Student Support Group consists of:

  • the parent/carer(s) of the student
  • a parent/carer(s)' advocate, where chosen by the parent/carer(s)
  • a teacher or teachers nominated as having lead responsibility for the student
  • the principal/principal nominee, to act as chairperson, and
  • the student, where appropriate

The SSG may invite input from any other person with knowledge of the student or with information relevant to the educational or social needs of the student (Consultants).

The number and choice of the consultants should be agreed to by all members of the SSG. The information provided by the consultants will be for the consideration of the group in decision making. Consultants do not have a role in the final decision making process of the SSG.

Where a student supported by an SSG is attending two schools (for example a mainstream and a specialist school) the SSG should be convened by the school where the student attends the majority of time. The principal/principal nominee of the other school should also be a member of the SSG.

Similarly, where a student is being assessed through the PSD’s Year 6-7 Review process, the secondary school in which the student anticipates enrolling should be invited to join the SSG.

4.1  Principal/Principal Nominee

When parent/carer(s) seek to enrol a child with a disability into a school, the principal/principal nominee should provide them with information about specific support available to facilitate the student’s participation in the school’s education program.

It is the responsibility of the principal/principal nominee to facilitate the collaborative processes of the SSG by offering support to all members and ensuring their participation. For this to occur, the principal/principal/nominee may enlist the support of an interpreter, advocate or other organisations providing support (where appropriate).

The principal/principal nominee shall convene and chair SSG meetings on a regular basis, at least once per term. The principal/principal nominee ensures that accurate records of the SSG meetings are kept and provided to all members.

4.2  Classroom Teacher/Year Level Coordinator

The classroom teacher will provide the SSG with current information regarding the student’s progress and assist in determining future educational goals.

It is the classroom teacher’s responsibility to ensure that the student has access to the school’s educational programs and implements the classroom content of IEPs. Other staff working with the student do so under the direction of a nominated classroom teacher.

4.3  Parents and Carers

Parent/carer(s) play a vital role in the SSG. They have a holistic understanding of the child and provide ongoing involvement in their education. Parent/carer(s) are often in the best position to provide information on the effectiveness and practicality of particular strategies and programs. They provide knowledge and experience of previous events that may influence programming decisions. Parent/carer(s) are able to contribute to the goals and strategies that will support the education of their child, including their transition to further education, training and employment.

4.4  Student

Where appropriate the student should be part of the program development process. In some cases, the student’s age or severity of disability may restrict direct participation. However, in all cases, the preferences and interests of the student, regardless of how they are expressed, should be actively considered when planning programs

4.5  Parent/Carer(s)’ Advocate

Parent/carer(s) may be accompanied and supported by an advocate to assist their full participation in planning and supporting the student’s program and in making decisions about the student.

The role of the parent/carer(s) ’ advocate in the SSG is a constructive, supportive and enabling one.

It may include:

  • encouraging the sharing of the parent/carer(s)’ knowledge, skills and perceptions about the student with the SSG
  • discussing any difficulties or uncertainties being experienced by the parent/carer(s) in participating in the SSG
  • assisting the development of a co-operative and collaborative working relationship between the parent/carer(s) and the school community
  • assisting the parent/carer(s) to understand Department of Education and Training procedures
  • linking the parent/carer(s) with relevant services and organisations

It is the right of the parent/carer(s) to have an advocate. If they wish, a parent/carer(s)' advocate may be a friend, supportive community member, a member of the family or formal advocate. The advocate is not to be in receipt of a fee.

See the Program for Students with Disabilities: operational guidelines for schools for a list of organisations that provide support to parent/carer(s).

4.6  Interpreter

Where necessary, an interpreter (in languages other than English including Auslan) should be present at the SSG meetings. Interpreters are not members of the SSG. The principal/principal nominee will assist in obtaining the services of an interpreter. For further information on accessing interpreting and translation services refer to Interpreting and Translation Services.

4.7  Consultants

The SSG should ensure that input is obtained from other personnel who have relevant expertise or information to:

  • assist in the establishment of teaching and learning goals for the student
  • provide support in the development of teaching and learning programs
  • help determine appropriate strategies to implement agreed teaching and learning programs

The Department of Education and Training provides Student Support Services (SSS) Officers, a group of professionals who provide support to students and schools. Their role is to enhance school capacity to improve student outcomes, provide continuity of care to all students, and may assist in the development of IEPs and the defining of appropriate curriculum support.

SSS Officers include:

  • psychologists
  • social workers
  • speech pathologists

Refer to Student Support Services for further information.

In addition, persons who could make a valuable contribution to the SSG include:

  • Department of Health and Human Services staff
  • inclusion/diverse learning needs teachers
  • learning area or year level coordinators
  • medical and paramedical practitioners treating the student
  • preschool teachers or advisers and early intervention staff
  • special education consultants
  • specialist school staff
  • student welfare coordinators
  • education support staff
  • primary welfare officers
  • careers practitioner/coordinator
  • teachers who have taught the student previously and other members of staff
  • visiting teachers — for visually, hearing and physically impaired students

Schools are advised to work closely together to make the best use of the available resources and expertise within the local area, for example, the establishment of ongoing links between mainstream and specialist schools 

Guidance chapter outlining Student Support Group membership and the role of each member

Reviewed 10 June 2020

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