Here we outline the basic steps that the school will take, to apply for PSD funding to help them to support your child at school.
On this page:
- PSD Eligibility guidelines
- Application Student Support Group
- Educational Needs Questionnaire
- Student Learning and Support Statement – Goals and Strategies
- Documentation Checklist, application is signed and submitted
- PSD application dates and funding reviews
Schools may ask parents or carers for their input at various stages; however it is the responsibility of the school principal to prepare the PSD application.
“When you are looking at going to school, you will have to fill in an educational needs questionnaire. When we filled in the form, we were at the special school with the principal helping us. And it was with the thought that Daisy would be going to the specialist school.
In the safety bracket of the educational needs questionnaire, because Daisy was going to a specialist school, we put a ‘2’, because she was in an enclosed yard. Whereas she could have been a ‘4’, which is what she needed to be if she was at the mainstream school, because the gates are open. And we didn’t put that high enough, so when her score came back, and her level of funding was allocated, she didn’t have enough to go a mainstream school.
Once they have given you an amount, and you want it increased, it’s going to be an uphill battle. And so then, [because we decided on mainstream] what we had do was write a letter to the education department. – Sara
So when you’re filling out the educational needs questionnaire, I think you have to be aware that it’s looking at the child’s deficits, and not their strengths. You have to go into it with a fairly open mind, and be aware that maybe your situation is going to change.
You also need to be thinking about worst-case scenarios, [even though] you’re always wanting to portray your child in the best light. That’s just human nature as a parent.” – James
1. PSD Eligibility guidelines
Information is collected to assess whether your child’s needs meet the eligibility guidelines for the PSD.
You can find the evidence needed to support a PSD application (which varies by category) listed in the PSD Guidelines. Download the latest copy of the guidelines from the DET website.
This evidence might include reports from a psychologist, paediatrician, speech pathologist or other professional. If your family has been involved in an early childhood intervention services or with other professionals, you might already have the documents needed. Reports must be less than two years old, or for some categories, less than 12 months old. Assessment using the ABLES tools cannot be used as evidence for PSD eligibility.
Your child might need further assessment to support their application. If the application is under the categories of intellectual disability or severe language disorder with critical educational needs, and further assessment is required, your child must be assessed by the DET assessment service. This is provided at no cost to schools or families. The school should ensure your child is referred for this well before the July PSD application date.
2. Application Student Support Group
An Application Student Support Group is organised if it appears that your child will meet the eligibility guidelines. The Student Support Group includes the principal or their nominee, you, your child (unless they are very young or their disability restricts their direct participation), the classroom teacher, and a nominee from the DET regional office. It can include a therapist or other expert if needed to help the group understand your child’s educational needs. Parents or carers can also bring a support person to this meeting.
3. Educational Needs Questionnaire
This group examines the evidence for the PSD application and completes the Educational Needs Questionnaire, or ENQ. This is a series of questions about your child’s educational needs. The answers result in a set of numbers that represent the level of different types of support your child will require.
4. Student Learning and Support Statement – Goals and Strategies
The group transfers these numbers to the Application Summary Form, and writes the Student Learning and Support Statement – Goals and Strategies. This is the initial plan for your child’s educational program, and some thought should go into it. The ABLES online package of assessment tools, curricula, teaching strategies and resources is a useful resource in putting this document together.
5. Documentation Checklist, application is signed and submitted
The group collects all the documents outlined in the PSD Documentation Checklist (available as part of the PSD Guidelines, downloadable from the DET website) to address the eligibility guidelines for the PSD, and for the support level demonstrated by their ENQ. The application is signed and submitted online and in hard copy.
6. PSD application dates and funding reviews
Schools are responsible for submitting PSD applications; most are submitted by the annual round closing date in July of the year before funding is received. Applications can be submitted later if your child is starting prep the next year, or if their support needs change suddenly. One application can be made per year.
If your child’s school already receives PSD funding to help them support your child, the school can submit a ‘Reappraisal’ if they believe your child’s support needs have increased since the original application, and more resources are needed.
It is important to note that schools are required to provide reasonable adjustments to enable students with disabilities to access their schooling on the same basis as other students, and this requirement is not defined or limited by the additional resources they receive through the PSD. Schools are required to consider all resources available to them to ensure that all students are appropriately supported.
The transition from year 6 to year 7 (secondary school in mainstream settings) is regarded as a key point to re-examine the level and type of support needed. The resources for most students supported under the PSD are reviewed in year 6, or the equivalent in specialist schools.
PSD funding generally finishes in the year your child turns 18. However, there are generally a number of students in mainstream and specialist settings who have repeated a year of their schooling; thus they are likely to be finishing school in the year they turn 19. The school can apply for an extension of their PSD funding in this case, or if for another reason you or the school feels that your child would benefit from an additional year at school.
- If you are considering applying for an additional year of PSD funding, talk to your school principal and download a form from the DET website, or talk to the regional DET office.