Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability activities

Q: Isn't data on students with disability collected now? Why do we need to be involved in another data collection process at the national level?

A: The Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability is focused on building an evidence base that will provide teachers, schools and sectors with more information and a better understanding at the national level about how many school students with disability there are in our schools; where they are; and the level of adjustment being provided for them to participate in schooling on the same basis as other students.

Q: Will schools still need to collect data under existing state/territory collections that currently take place in schools?

A: Other data collections in your school on students with disability that link to state/sectoral funding and reporting will continue. Your school will inform you of your data reporting requirements.

Q: When does my school need to start collecting evidence for this data collection?

A: To include a student in the data collection, there should be evidence that the student has been or is being provided with an ongoing, long-term adjustment for a minimum period of 10 weeks of school education (excluding school holiday periods), in the 12 months preceding the national data collection.

The data entry date for the 2017 national data collection on students with disability is 4 August 2017. The process of identifying evidence can occur at any time in the 12 months preceding this date. Schools are encouraged not to leave this process to the weeks immediately preceding 4 August 2017.

Q: When and how often will the national data be collected?

A: The national data collection on students with disability first took place in October 2013. From 2014, the data collection has been aligned with the National Schools Statistical Collection in August each year. Education ministers agreed that the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability would occur annually in all schools across Australia from 2015.

Adjustments

Q: How do I decide if a student is being provided with the lowest level of adjustment (support provided within quality differentiated teaching practice)?

A: Students whose disability requires that the school actively monitor the need for reasonable adjustments or who are provided with adjustments that are reasonably expected as part of quality teaching or school practice would be included in this category.

For example, a student who is short-sighted and has this condition corrected through glasses or contact lenses would not be included in the count because the condition does not have a functional impact on their schooling and does not require monitoring by the school. However a student with a vision impairment that does have a functional impact on their schooling and who thus needs educational adjustments in one or more areas such as planning, teaching, assessment, reporting, the environment and /or resources, would be included in the national data collection on students with disability.

A decision to include the student in the lowest level of adjustment would reflect that the teacher/school is undertaking ongoing monitoring and making minor adjustments in relation to the student’s disability related needs.

Some students with disability may not need educational adjustments beyond those that are reasonably expected as part of quality teaching or school practice to address disability related needs (e.g. allowing a student with dyslexia additional reading time during a test, using graphic organisers to support writing). These students should be recorded under the “Support provided within quality differentiated teaching practice” level of adjustment for the purposes of this collection.

This category enables the collection of data on students who require active monitoring or provision of low-level support/s. While the student’s needs as a result of the disability are being met through quality differentiated teaching practice during the period they are being considered for the data collection, those needs necessitate ongoing monitoring and review.

Further information about students with disability for whom support is provided within quality differentiated teaching practice is available in the Strategies to Support Decision Making resource and in the Level of Adjustment Provided to the Student table.

Q: What if an adjustment was provided for a past student and is now being used for a current student (ie a wheelchair ramp)?

A: A facility such as a building modification, which already exists in the school and caters for a student’s physical disability where no additional action is required to support the student’s learning would be an example of support provided within quality differentiated teaching practice.

Q: I don't know how to determine whether this student's adjustments should be classified as 'supplementary', 'substantial' or 'extensive'.

A: Please review the model, as it provides an explanation of the classifications for the level of adjustment being provided. The Strategies to Support Decision Making and Guidance on adjustment level selection resources also provide guidance on differentiating between supplementary, substantial and extensive adjustments.

Q: What is the difference between “Support provided within quality differentiated teaching practice” and the “Supplementary” level of adjustment categories?

A: The national data collection on students with disability reinforces the existing obligations that schools have towards students under both the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) and the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (The Standards).

Students may be counted in the national data collection where they meet the DDA’s broad definition of disability and the functional impact of their disability is addressed by the school actively responding to their specific individual education needs within quality differentiated teaching practice. These students should be counted under the “Support provided within quality differentiated teaching practice” level of adjustment.

Examples might include a student with a health condition such as asthma and diabetes, or a mental health condition who has strategies in place to manage the condition in consultation with medical professionals that can be provided within quality differentiated teaching practice. In both examples, the student requires no adjustments beyond support provided within regular practices and resources of the school.

Supplementary adjustments (Level of Adjustment Provided to the Student table) are modifications to teaching practices beyond normal teaching practice and general resources that are made so that students can participate in schooling on the same basis as other students. An example of a supplementary adjustment might include the provision of intermittent specialist teacher support.

Definition of disability

Q: I don't think the student meets the definition of 'disability' under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

A: Only those students who meet the broad definition of 'disability' under the DDA, and whose disability has a functional impact on their schooling, are eligible for inclusion in the national data collection on students with disability. If a student does not meet this broad definition, they should not be included.

Q: I don't think the student fits into the disability categories provided in the list.

A: If a student has multiple disabilities or does not fit within one category, you should select whichever disability category has the greatest impact, based on your professional judgement, on the student’s education and is the main driver of adjustments to support their access and participation. Alternatively, please review the model for the national data collection on students with disability to determine whether this student should be included in the count. Guidance on determining the broad category of disability the student best falls within can also be found in the Strategies to Support Decision Making resource.

Q: Do I include students with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)?

A: If this student requires ongoing long-term support, your school should identify the disability that is present as a result of the FASD, and then determine the appropriate disability category.

Q: Do I include a student with a hearing impairment?

A: If the student requires ongoing long-term support to participate in education, then record the details relevant to this student. A student who has a hearing impairment that is corrected through a hearing aid and who requires no adjustments by the school, would not be included in the count where the condition does not have a functional impact on their schooling. However, a student with a hearing impairment that does have a functional impact on their schooling (e.g., one of a substantial cohort of students in a class who suffer from otitis media) and subsequently needs educational adjustments in one or more areas that may include planning, teaching, assessment, reporting, the environment and/or resources, would be included in the collection.

Q: Do I include a student with dyslexia?

A: If the student requires ongoing long-term support to participate in education, then record the details relevant to this student. Some students with dyslexia may not need educational adjustments beyond those that are reasonably expected as part of quality teaching or school practice to address disability related needs (e.g. allowing such a student additional reading time during a test). These students should be counted under the “Support provided within quality differentiated teaching practice” level of adjustment for the purposes of this collection.

Q: In which broad disability category do I put students with autism spectrum disorder?

A: Depending on the main driver of the adjustments in place, the student could be included in either the 'cognitive' or 'social/emotional' categories. If adjustments are in place around both of these drivers, the selected category should be 'cognitive'.

Q: Do I include a student with anaphylaxis?

A: Yes, if - at a minimum - a student with anaphylaxis requires ongoing monitoring and there is whole school professional learning to equip teachers and education staff with the skills and knowledge to support the student’s health needs.

Students at risk of anaphylaxis should be considered on a case-by-case basis. For all cases, minimising a student’s exposure to known allergens, staff training in anaphylaxis management, and active monitoring of the student’s ability to manage the potential risks of their anaphylaxis are key strategies. Factors that may necessitate more active monitoring and/or intervention include the student’s age, their immediate history of effective self-management, the number of known allergens which the student is severely allergic to and the necessary actions required to minimise the risk for each allergen. Taking these factors into account, individual schools would need to determine on a case-by-case basis whether to include a student with anaphylaxis in the count. The level of intervention and/or monitoring required in order to assist the student to manage their condition would be an important determinant.

Each education authority will have its own guidance for how its schools manage students at risk of an anaphylactic reaction.

School arrangements

Q: What if I am not the school contact point nominated by my principal, but I wish to complete some professional learning?

A: All school staff are invited to work through the content on this site to improve their understanding of the data collection. Speak to your principal about additional professional learning opportunities available in your sector or system.

Q: Should someone review the information before I complete the data collection process?

A: Your school principal can advise you of the review processes that apply to your school prior to the submission of data.

When considering the level of adjustment provided to the student, consider all adjustments that the student receives in order to access and participate in schooling on the same basis as other students.

Q: I'm not sure what to do as this student attends two schools.

A: Where an eligible student has moved schools during the 12 months preceding 4 August 2017, or is enrolled at more than one school, or receives adjustments at two schools, they must only be counted at the school whose school census they were counted in.

When considering the level of adjustment provided to the student, consider all adjustments that the student receives to participate in education (including those provided in other educational settings). If the student attends another school, you may wish to contact that school to discuss the adjustments they provide if you do not already have this information.

Q: I’m not sure whether to include this student as he/she has attended the school for less than 10 weeks.

A: Where a student has newly enrolled in the school and has attended the school for less than 10 weeks, schools may include that student only if they have evidence of the continuing need for adjustments for the student. For example, evidence from the previous school of long-term adjustments together with evidence that similar adjustments are required in the new school. Contact with the student’s previous school may assist to gather the evidence required. Communication with parents/carers may also provide sources of contact (eg health professionals) that can assist to build the evidence to support the inclusion of the student.

Q: My school is a special school and I am not sure how to choose the level of adjustment, or I have a student who attends a special class and I am not sure how to choose the level of adjustment.

A: The national data collection on students with disability applies across all educational settings and contexts, including special schools, special assistance schools and special classes.

These situations usually provide modified environments, including highly adjusted curriculum along with specialised equipment required by some students. There may also be specialist programs and interventions that are clearly focused or tailored to meet the educational support needs of students with similar disabilities.

As a starting point, special schools, special assistance schools and schools providing special classes should consider nearly all students accessing these supports as requiring 'substantial adjustments', with an upgrade to 'extensive adjustments' if additional support is provided or a downgrade to 'supplementary adjustments' if the student is particularly able. However, as with all students in the national data collection on students with disability, an assessment of the level of adjustment and category of disability should be made on an individual basis.


This page on The Australian Government Department of Education and Training site http://education.gov.au/frequently-asked-questions-11 provides links to documents for general information about the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability presented in a question and answer format.