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					Going to school


One of the biggest                         Government specialist schools
decisions you will make                    There are over 90 government
                                                                                          School options
as a parent is where your                  specialist schools across Victoria
                                           for students with a disability.                •   Government schools
child goes to school
                                                                                          •   Government specialist schools
                                           Specialist schools have criteria which
                                                                                          •   Independent and Catholic schools
As for kindergarten, it is important to    must be met before you can enrol.
                                                                                          •   Dual enrolment
start planning and getting organised       Students who live within the school’s
                                                                                          •   Home schooling
for school well in advance.                designated transport area are eligible
                                                                                          •   Distance education
                                           for travel support to the school.
Give yourself plenty of time to
investigate school options for your        Independent and Catholic schools
child before they are due to start.                                                  Distance education
                                           There are many independent and
                                                                                     In Victoria, students from prep to
As well as visiting and enrolling          Catholic schools throughout Victoria
                                                                                     Year 6 can access distance education
in a school, there are funding             as well as a small number of specialist
                                                                                     if they meet the eligibility criteria
applications to be completed for           independent and Catholic schools.
                                                                                     in one of four categories: Distance,
eligible children, school orientation
                                           If you are likely to send your child to   Medical, School referral, and Traveller.
sessions to attend, and preparing
                                           an independent school, keep in mind
your child for the school year ahead.                                                Some students may also be eligible
                                           that there may be a long waiting list.
                                                                                     for Assistance for Isolated Children
School starting age                                                                  which helps families with a primary
                                           Dual enrolment
Students must be at least five years                                                 or secondary student who is unable
                                           Some children enrol at both a local       to attend an appropriate State
of age by 30 April of the year they
                                           primary school and a nearby specialist    school on a daily basis because of
start primary school. Attendance
                                           school and spend part of the week at      geographic isolation or because the
at school is compulsory for all
                                           each. This is known as dual enrolment.    student has a disability or special
children from the age of six years.
                                           Some parents choose dual enrolment        health-related or education need.
School options                             so that their child can benefit from
                                                                                     Choosing a school
There are many things to consider          the different experiences and
                                           resources that mainstream and             School open days and tours will
when deciding on a school. In addition
                                           specialist schools have to offer.         give you a general feel for a school
to your child’s specific needs, you may
                                                                                     and some idea of the facilities.
also want to think about travel time,
                                           Home schooling
finances, whether you want all your                                                  You will get a sense of whether the
children to go to the same school,         In Victoria, home schooling is a          school is right for your child from
and before and after school care.          recognised alternative to attending       the welcome you receive, how staff
                                           school. Some parents choose home          interact with parents and children,
Government schools                         schooling because it provides an          the approach of the principal and
All children of school age in              individually tailored environment.        the responses to your questions.
Victoria have the right to go to           If you choose home schooling, you         Make an appointment with the principal
their local primary school.                will assume overall responsibility        to discuss how the school can support
Many children with a disability go to      for the planning, implementation          your child. You may also want to talk
government primary schools and there       and assessment of your child.             to the kindergarten teacher about
is support available to facilitate this.   You must also register your child         how to share important information
                                           with the Victorian Registration           about your child with the school.
                                           and Qualifications Authority.
“Funding is essential to provide the support that
my child needs at school, but just as important
is a positive approach, which flows from the
principal through to all staff and students.“




Support for children                       Funding for students
                                           with a disability
with a disability at school                                                               For more information
                                           There are specific funding programs
There is a range of support for
                                           for students with a disability in              ‘Welcome to school booklet’
children with a disability at school.
                                           school. The level of funding available         Department of Education and
Student Support Group                      varies between government,                     Early Childhood Development
                                           Catholic and independent schools.              www.education.vic.gov.au
A Student Support Group (SSG)
is a co-operative partnership              Ask the school what funding is
                                                                                          Schools Online - a listing of all
between the parent/carer, school           available and how to apply.
                                                                                          Victorian government schools
representatives and professionals          It is up to the Student Support                and links to Catholic and
to ensure co-ordinated support for         Group to plan how these                        Independent schools
your child’s educational needs.            funds are used and to make                     www.education.vic.gov.au/
The Department of Education and            recommendations to the principal.              schoolsonline
Early Childhood Development
have developed guidelines for              Language Support Program                       Program for Students with Disabilities
Student Support Groups. You                In government schools, the Language            Department of Education and
should familiarise yourself with the       Support Program supports schools               Early Childhood Development
guidelines so that you understand          and teachers to improve the oral               www.sofweb.vic.edu.au/
the educational planning processes.        language skills of students with               wellbeing/disabil/index.htm
                                           a severe language disorder.
Individual Learning Plan                                                                  Catholic Education Office
                                           It aims to create a link between               www.ceo.melb.catholic.edu.au
The Student Support Group                  classroom programs and the intensive
should develop an Individual               speech and language programs                   Association of Independent Schools
Learning Plan that identifies              provided by speech pathologists.               www.ais.vic.edu.au
your child’s learning needs.
Members of the group should                Commonwealth Special                           Association for Children
agree on your child’s learning             Education Program                              with a Disability
goals and any changes that need            The Commonwealth Special                       Phone 9818 2000 or
to be made to the curriculum.              Education Program is a one-off grant           1800 654 013 (rural callers)
                                           for children who are unable to attend          www.acd.org.au
The Student Support Group
                                           school due to a severe disability. It
should meet regularly to monitor
                                           is used to supplement the cost of
and evaluate your child’s
                                           accessing home-based educational
Individual Learning Plan.
                                           programs and assist with strategies
                                           to help children get back to school.
Student Support Services
In government schools, there is            Ask for more information
support available from Student
                                           This is only a summary of information        Association for Children with a Disability
Support Services Officers such as
                                           about support for children with a
guidance officers, psychologists, social                                            This series of Kindergarten Inclusion Tip Sheets was
                                           disability at school. Ask the schools    developed by the Association for Children with a Disability
workers, visiting teachers (for students                                            in partnership with the Victorian Government’s Office for
                                           you are interested in for more
with visual, hearing and physical                                                   Children and Early Childhood Development.
                                           information about their eligibility
impairments), speech pathologists
                                           criteria, processes and resources.
and curriculum consultants.

				
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