The purpose of this policy is to assist Victorian government schools to support students with disabilities and diverse learning needs.
- Schools must establish a Student Support Group (SSG) for students supported by the Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD).
- 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 diverse learning needs, including, but not limited to, students supported by the PSD
- in OoHC
- who are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
- with a behaviour support plan
- from refugee or migrant backgrounds
- on youth justice orders or having transitioned from the youth justice system
- who are identified as young carers.
Schools must establish an SSG:
- for students supported by the PSD
- 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.
Role of a student support group
An SSG is responsible for developing and implementing an Individual Education Plan (IEP). This plan should:
- be developed in consultation with members of the SSG and the student where appropriate
- outline a meaningful educational program with high expectations for the student
- be age appropriate, holistic in its approach, support cultural needs and safety, and be flexible and future oriented
- consider key long-term goals that reflect learning outcomes in social, academic and life skills development
- establish short-term goals that will lead sequentially to the achievement of long-term goals
- ensure that the goals are SMART goals:
- Relevant and
- clearly articulate individual and shared responsibilities
- be a strength-based model with a focus on the student’s potential to achieve good educational, social and behavioural outcomes
- be supported and informed by other relevant plans such as a cultural plan or
- aim to retain the student at school
- provide guidance for the SSG
- contain a record of important decisions and actions
- be reviewed regularly in accordance with the timeline as agreed by all members of the SSG (or at least once per term).
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
- 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, and for students on the PSD at least once a term.
Enough time should be allowed for members to prepare for the meeting. Meetings should be arranged at a time that is convenient for all members. Sample agendas are available in the Resources tab.
Reviewed 18 June 2021