The purpose of this policy is to assist Victorian government schools to support students with disability and diverse learning needs.
- Schools must establish a Student Support Group (SSG) for students supported by the Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD) or Disability Inclusion.
- Schools must establish an SSG for every child and young person in out-of-home care (OoHC).
- An SSG is strongly encouraged for any student with diverse learning needs.
- Schools must provide support for students at risk of attendance or behaviour related issues. An SSG may assist a school providing appropriate and effective support.
An SSG is a partnership between schools, parents/carers, the student and relevant agencies. The group works together to plan and support the educational, health, social, cultural and emotional wellbeing of students with diverse learning needs. This may include students:
- with a disability or additional learning needs, including, but not limited to, students supported by the PSD or Disability Inclusion
- in OoHC
- who are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
- with a
- from refugee or migrant backgrounds
- who attend two schools (for example, a mainstream and a specialist school)
- on youth justice orders or having transitioned from the youth justice system
- who are identified as young carers
- who are involved in the department’s Navigator Program.
Schools must establish an SSG:
- for students supported by the PSD or Disability Inclusion
- for every child and young person in OoHC.
Schools must provide support for students at risk of attendance or behaviour related issues. An SSG may assist a school in providing appropriate and effective support.
An SSG is strongly encouraged for any student with diverse learning needs, including those with Autism.
Students with dual enrolment
For students with disability who attend two Victorian government schools (generally a specialist school and a mainstream school), the SSG can be used to confirm arrangements and responsibilities for each school.
Arrangements and responsibilities in relation to the dual enrolment must be documented in some form (whether through SSG minutes or other standalone documents) and that documentation must be made available to staff working with the student at each school. It is important for schools to ensure communication mechanisms are in place (e.g. a key contact person at each school) so that information is regularly and promptly shared between the student’s two schools in relation to the student’s wellbeing, learning, attendance, engagement and any duty of care or other issues that might arise.
Role of a student support group
An SSG is responsible for developing and implementing an Individual Education Plan (IEP). An IEP:
- outlines clear educational goals for the student
- encourages to allow the student to engage and take part in their own learning
- is strengths-based with a focus on the student’s potential to achieve positive educational outcomes
- is age appropriate, holistic in its approach, supports cultural needs and safety, and is flexible and future orientated
- includes short-term goals that will lead to the achievement of long-term goals
- is developed in consultation with the student (where appropriate) and their parent/carer/guardian.
- should be used (along with SSG minutes and documentation demonstrating student progress against agreed IEP goals) as supporting information for students participating in a
- communicates individual and shared responsibilities
- includes a record of important decisions, actions and student progress
- is supported and informed by other relevant plans such as a cultural plan or
- is reviewed regularly in accordance with the timeline as agreed by all members of the SSG (or at least once per term for students supported under individualised disability funding programs including the and and those in )
- acknowledges and celebrates the achievement of student progress.
Members and their roles
An SSG includes:
Principal/principal nominee(s) are responsible for:
- setting up SSGs
- supporting members to take part
- coordinating and chairing meetings
- ensuring meetings are held at least once a term in the case of students supported by the PSD or Disability Inclusion
- ensuring notes of meetings are taken and provided to all members.
- ensuring efficient and effective meeting arrangements are in place.
Teacher/Year Level Coordinator
Teachers/Year Level Coordinators are responsible for:
- keeping the SSG updated on the student’s progress
- assisting in determining future educational goals
- ensuring that the student has access to the school’s educational programs
- implementing the classroom content of the IEP
- coordinating other staff working with the student in the classroom.
Parent/carer(s) are responsible for:
- providing a holistic view of their child
- providing information on the effectiveness of past strategies and programs
- contributing to the development and monitoring of the goals and strategies of their child’s teaching and learning program
- choosing an advocate if required.
It is important that the student plays an active and age-appropriate role in the SSG and contributes to the decisions and actions that are agreed, either in person or via a trusted adult, for example, their Learning Mentor.
It is the right of parent/carer(s) to have an advocate. Advocates can help with:
- sharing the parent/carer(s)’ knowledge about the student
- discussing any difficulties the parent/carer(s)' may have in the SSG
- developing a cooperative relationship between parent/carer(s) and the school community
- assisting parent/carer(s) to understand the Department’s procedures
- linking parent/carer(s) with relevant services.
Advocates must not be paid for their help.
Where necessary an interpreter should be present at meetings to help with communication.
Consultants may provide additional knowledge of the student’s teaching and learning needs.
Meetings should be held on a regular basis, at least once a term for students supported by the PSD or Disability Inclusion.
Minutes should be taken which provide a summary of the meeting discussion and detail agreed actions and distributed to members of the SSG in a timely fashion.
Reviewed 10 October 2023