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Ipswich Special School and NDIS providers
As part of Ipswich Special School’s commitment to support our students, as well as meet our obligations under our Department of Education policies and procedures, we have created this document to provide advice to school staff, parents and NDIS providers about how we agree to work together. The information has been developed as a point in time document based on the school’s procedures and our current Departmental advice, and will be updated as the school needs and Departmental advice changes.
The Department of Education has advice on their website to indicate the advice to schools, parents and providers. The website stipulates the following information about school services:
 
Department Policy on NDIS Delivery
Delivery of school services
The NDIS will not replace the supports schools and other mainstream services provide. Reasonable adjustments that state schools make for students with disability under the Disability Standards for Education 2005 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 will continue regardless of a student’s NDIS eligibility. Regions and schools will continue to provide support and services for students with disability such as special education programs, assistive technology, specialist and support teachers, therapists, nurses, guidance officers and teacher aides.
Schools will continue to make reasonable adjustments, including provide personal care support, for all students regardless of their NDIS eligibility. There may be some instances where there is an overlap between the supports provided by the NDIS and the support provided by schools. Where this occurs schools should contact their regional Principal Education Officer Student Services for advice.
The Department of Education funds the Non School Organisations (NSO) Program to support schools to make reasonable adjustments for students with disability.
NSOs provide a range of services including direct student support such as therapy services, consultation and professional advice to school staff, and specialised equipment and resources for loan and trial purposes at school. Schools requiring assistance for any students verified with disability should contact NSOs to request their services. Student referral forms are available on each organisation's website.
It is expected that some NSOs will also become NDIS providers. The NDIS and NSO are two distinct services. NDIS funding is generally to respond to a student's needs for support in the home and community, whereas NSO funding is to provide reasonable adjustments to support a student's access to school curriculum.
Some NSOs may request permission to provide NDIS funded services to students during school hours. When responding to these requests principals should take into account the obligations and circumstances listed in the 'Collaboration and sharing information' section above noting that each request should be considered on a case by case basis in consultation with the parent of the child.
The State of Queensland (Department of Education and Training), 2015, https://oneportal.deta.qld.gov.au/Students/LearningandDisabilitySupport/NDIS/Pages/Resources.aspx Accessed 16 April 2018
 
Department Policy on Collaboration and Sharing in Schools
The website also has the following advice for schools around collaboration and sharing information with NDIS service providers:
Collaboration and sharing information
Parents may wish to share information about their child's NDIS plan, reviews or other adjustments with their child’s teacher, other relevant school staff or departmental specialist staff to support their child's learning at home and at school. This may include asking school staff to meet with an NDIS funded service provider to share information and support a collaborative approach for the child’s education and development.
Principals should consider requests from a parent for an NDIS funded service to be delivered on school grounds during the school day on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the parent. The principal's duty of care obligations, including the safety, privacy and educational needs and priorities of all students, must be considered in any decision to allow external services, such as therapy provision, to be provided to students during school hours on school grounds. The Principal Education Officer - Student Services in each region can be contacted to support principals in this decision-making.
 
School Guidelines
With this advice in mind, our school has developed the following guidelines for working with NDIS providers in our school to support students.
·        We are a school, and as such, we follow our Departmental policies. Our core business is providing an education for students using the Australian Curriculum for students who are in Years Prep-10, and the Guideline for Individual Learning (GIL) for students who are in Years 11-12, and individually developed programs for students who access our Early Childhood Developmental Program (ECDP) and negotiated programs if students who may have applied for an extension year following Year 12. Core learning time is a priority at all times to ensure the students are receiving their entitlement to an education “on the same basis” as other students according to the Disability Standards for Education 2005.
·        NDIS funding is for the provision of services outside of school. It is preferred that all options outside of school time are explored for the provision of therapies to students. As a school though we are aware that it is not always possible for this to happen, and we also value the richness that can come from collaboration of stakeholders. If parents or guardians request, we are open to negotiation about collaboration and sharing of information, but this must be outside of student’s core learning time and NDIS providers wanting to work with student in our school must negotiate first with the Principal or Deputy Principal. Contact can be made by emailing NDISREQUESTS@ipswichspecs.eq.edu.au
·        Privacy is an essential aspect of our School’s responsibility to our students and families. Should parents or guardians request NDIS providers collaborate with the school, we will require a document signed by the parent or guardian indicating the request and the names of the therapists or providers with whom we are given permission to collaborate with. As stipulated in the Collaboration and sharing of information section above, the request will be considered by the Principal on a case by case basis.
·        Support services are provided to students in our school on a referral basis from our teachers, with parent consent. Our therapists (Speech Language Pathologists, Occupational and Physiotherapists), as well as our Nurses and Guidance Officers, are employed to support our teachers and other school staff to make the reasonable adjustments and provide students with equitable access to the appropriate curriculum. These therapists, Nurses and Guidance Officers align to our core business by consulting with and supporting teachers to make adjustments for all students to support their physical and emotional wellbeing. They do not work individually with students due to the large numbers of student referrals and their role is to support student access to their education. They are however an essential stakeholder for each referred student and a second point of contact for NDIS service providers to ensure services providing within and outside of school are complimentary, and in the best interests of the student. Members from Administration will forward email requests send to the email address to the appropriate therapists and teacher of the requested student.
·        Teachers are the case managers of the students in their class so will need to be consulted about what times in the day are outside of the specific student’s core learning time. This will include before and after school, and break times. Should there be need for any work outside of this time, it may be given specific consideration for a short term purpose, but will not be permitted on an ongoing basis.
·        Induction and adherence to child protection procedures is essential so any therapist coming on site to work with students must read and sign to indicate their agreement with the Department of Education’s Mandatory Training Key Messages Guide https://ipswichspecs.eq.edu.au/Supportandresources/Formsanddocuments/Documents/NDIS/mast-keymessages-guide.pdf, and provide a copy of their Blue Card for the school to keep on file.
·        Periodic reviews of any arrangements will be important to ensure the best outcomes for the student are working for all stakeholders. Written termly updates should be provided to the school as part of the review.
·        The school takes no responsibility for the damage or breakage of any personal or private equipment whilst it is on site. Any equipment is the responsibility of the person bringing it onto the school site.
·        School rooms are not guaranteed to be available and the school will not be able to provide staff to support the sessions.
 
School Policy and Procedures
In summary, the following steps are important to be followed for any parent or guardian who are requesting NDIS providers work with school staff when providing services to students:
1.      Parents or guardians sign a request for collaboration with the school, identifying the student name, therapists/service providers the school is permitted to collaborate with.
2.      Either the parent/guardian, or the NDIS service provider emails the request for collaboration, along with a brief description of why the collaboration is requested to NDISREQUESTS@ipswichspecs.eq.edu.au. If the service provider is requesting to work with the student within school hours, an explanation of why it is not possible for the work to occur outside of school hours is preferred to be included with this email.
3.      The Principal or Deputy Principal will consider the request and get back to the person who sent the email either requesting more information, or explaining the next steps in the process where the Therapist/Nurse/Guidance Officer and the teacher are sent the email.
4.      The school stakeholders will determine the next steps for collaboration e.g. who is involved, is a meeting required, can information be shared via email, what may be the appropriate times outside of core learning times etc. and contact the person who sent the first email (Parent/Guardian or NDIS service provider).
5.      Therapy service provision will be organised and then reviewed periodically to ensure the students best interests are still being met by the arrangement. Termly reviews to be completed and provided to the school.
6.      All people attending on site must complete the Mandatory Training Guide by reading and signing to indicate they have understood all messages, as well as present their Blue Card or Blue Card Exemption to staff in the office prior to commencing any sessions with students.
 
If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the school on NDISREQUESTS@ipswichspecs.eq.edu.au or by calling 3813 5777.