Policy last updated

15 June 2020


  • Schools

February 2020



This policy sets out how schools access Student Support Services and how this service works as part of the department’s multi-disciplinary Area team supporting schools and students.



Student Support Services (SSS) teams are comprised of professionals including:

  • psychologists
  • speech pathologists
  • social workers.

They support schools in assisting children and young people facing barriers to learning to achieve their educational and developmental potential.

SSS staff work as part of an integrated health and wellbeing team within each area, focusing on providing:

  • workforce capability building for school staff
  • group based and individual support
  • the provision of specialised services.

Area teams use the department's Student Support Services Handbook (PDF)External Link (also available in the Resources tab) to support local delivery arrangements. The Handbook supports principals and the department's areas and SSS team members to implement the delivery model for SSS.

The Handbook offers guidance to SSS team members regarding working in area teams, working in portfolios and responding to area and SSS priorities. For schools, the Handbook defines the case referral approach and how schools can engage with the work of the SSS.

Relevant legislation

SSS contacts

Your assigned Area SSS Branch Manager or SSS Key Contact Officer for information listed on the Regional Maps contact listExternal Link (staff login required).



Student Support Services (SSS) assist children and young people faced with learning barriers to achieve their educational and developmental potential. They provide strategies and specialised support at individual, group, school and area levels.

This guidance contains the following chapters:

  1. The role of SSS
  2. Services provided by SSS
  3. Other professional support available
  4. SSS key contact
  5. Accessing SSS
  6. Referral support

1. The role of Student Support Services

1. The role of Student Support Services

Student Support Services (SSS) comprise a broad range of professionals including psychologists, speech pathologists and social workers.

They work as part of a multidisciplinary area team to support schools in the provision of integrated health and wellbeing, providing group-based and individual support, workforce capacity building and the provision of specialised services.

SSS are embedded in area-based multi-disciplinary teams to:

  • support the delivery of quality universal services for all students, with extra effort directed to ensuring education and health and wellbeing services are accessible to, and inclusive of, the most vulnerable and disadvantaged
  • target the delivery of individual support services to those who require specialised expertise, assessment and intervention in order to overcome barriers to learning, develop the capability of schools to design health, learning, development and wellbeing strategies that focus on improving education and health and wellbeing outcomes
  • collaborate with multidisciplinary professional practice teams and build partnerships with community services to meet the needs of schools and students and their health, wellbeing and learning goals
  • respond to critical incidents involving students, staff and school communities.

2. Services provided by Student Support Services

2. Services provided by student support services


Speech pathologists

Social workers

  • Support schools to develop reasonable adjustments
  • Offer support to students, families and schools through involvement in individual, group and family work
  • Provide support at critical incidents in schools where appropriate

Schools may also have access to other allied health officers such as occupational therapists or school nurses. They may be employed by the school, area or region.

3. Other professional support available

3. Other professional support available

Schools may also get support from board certified behaviour analysts and the Visiting Teacher Service, summarised below.

Board certified behaviour analysts

  • Coach school staff and develop processes to respond to behaviours of concern
  • Carry out direct behavioural assessments such as Functional Behaviour Assessment intervention on individual students

Visiting Teacher Service

  • Offer specialist guidance to teachers and schools in supporting engagement and participation of students with disabilities
  • Work in the areas of physical disability and health care needs, hearing and vision loss

Refer to Visiting Teacher ServiceExternal Link for more information.

4. Student Support Services key contact

4. Student Support Services key contact

Every school has a Student Support Services (SSS) key contact to assist schools in making appropriate referrals to SSS for:

  • consultations
  • capability building for staff
  • student wellbeing issues.

This person will be an allied health professional who is part of the SSS team.

For a list of current SSS Key Contacts, refer to the Student Support Services Handbook (PDF)External Link . Schools can also identify their SSS Key Contact through the Regional maps contacts listExternal Link (staff login required) page.

5. Accessing Student Support Services

5. Accessing Student Support Services

The Student Support Services (SSS) referral process (PDF)External Link identifies students with the greatest needs and matches these with the expertise of SSS members.

The SSS referral process involves 3 steps.

1. Pre-referral


  • Check the Student Online Case System (SOCS)External Link for previous referrals related to the student
  • Review previous recommendations or school-based actions
  • Collect relevant information regarding the student, for example, Individual Education Plans (IEPs) (refer to template IEPs in the Resources tab) and teacher observations

SSS and school

The SSS Key Contact and school work together to:

  • Discuss concerns and plans made to date, for example Individual Education Plans (IEPs) or Behaviour Support Plans (BSPs)
  • Identify strategies to provide immediate support to the student
  • Identify whether referral is appropriate and the types of service required. This may include a referral to SSS, visiting teacher serviceExternal Link or another departmental or external service such as mental health
  • Identify sections of the Student Information Form relevant to the student

2. Referral


  • Complete only the relevant sections of the Student Information Form. Refer to the SSS Handbook (PDF)External Link for examples of how to use the form
  • Get consent from the student’s parent/carer(s)
  • Submit referral and consent on SOCS


  • Hold SSS team intake meeting
  • Advise school of the intake outcome, assigned SSS and service delivery timeline

Cases are prioritised against SSS statewide priorities, Area plans and discussion with schools.

If the intake decision is that a service other than SSS is more appropriate, this will be discussed with the school and advice on referral processes is given.

3. Service delivery

SSS and school

  • Establish aims for the service delivery and support to the student
  • Provision and regular review of service with all stakeholders
  • Decide how to determine when the service has met the needs of the student and communicate with all stakeholders that the service is ending

6. Referral support

6. Referral support

If you need help or have questions about the Student Support Services (SSS) referral process you can:

  • talk to your SSS Key Contact Officer
  • discuss further concerns with the SSS Branch Manager or Senior Education Improvement Leader (SEIL)
  • provide feedback via your regional SSS Principal Advisory Group.

For more information and the parental consent form, refer to the SSS Handbook (PDF)External Link .



Referral process

Referral flowchart and fact sheetExternal Link — this provides schools with a simplified process diagram to assist schools to access student support services (SSS)

Consent flowchartExternal Link (staff login required)

Student Online Case System (SOCS)

SOCS linkExternal Link (staff login required)

Student Support Services Handbook

SSS HandbookExternal Link

Visiting Teacher Services

Visiting Teacher Service — overviewExternal Link

SSS key contacts (internal use only)

Regional maps content listExternal Link (staff login required) — schools can search for their schools and identify the key SSS contact for their school or area

SSS and other allied health professionals

Template Individual Education Plans

Other resources

Reviewed 02 April 2020