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Reasonable adjustments and learning plans

 Quick Summary

Students with disability have the right to access and participate in education on the same basis as their peers. There are laws which say that the school must - meet with the student (if possible), their family, and other relevant people to plan for and make reasonable adjustments, and not allow any harassment or victimization. The outcome of meetings with the school should be a written Learning Plan. The Learning plan describes the student’s needs, goals, aspirations, strengths and interests. The plan will link with the curriculum and describe adjustments. Adjustments are anything the school or teachers do, including ways of teaching, to make it possible for the student with disability to be able to participate in learning and school life.

You can choose to:


Parents and schools can get positive outcomes for students with disability by working together to meet the Disability Standards for Education. To find out more about these standards, see Get Started.

Reasonable Adjustments

All schools must make reasonable adjustments for students with disability, which effectively enable the student to participate in learning and school activities.

A reasonable adjustment does not cause an unjustifiable hardship for the school, or cause a loss of benefit or harm to other students and/or staff.

The adjustment/s must have clear and measurable benefits for the student with disability.

Decisions on what reasonable adjustment/s will be put in place and used for a student,  are made in consultation with the student if possible; the student’s family; their representative/nominee; the teacher; teaching support staff and relevant health and allied health professionals.

Reasonable adjustments will cover any or all of the following:

– the physical environment;

– safety;

– health and well-being;

– communication;

– personal care;

– medical needs;

– emergency procedures;

– access  to the curriculum.

Schools can use different ways and resources to provide reasonable adjustments:

– targeted school funding for resources, programs and materials, including specialist and targeted curriculum material;

– ongoing school funding;

– redirecting general school resources;

– using expertise in the school or school network, allied health specialists and other staffing supports.

Schools might name or categorise  reasonable adjustments as follows:

– quality differentiated teaching practice;

– supplementary adjustments;

– substantial adjustments;

– extensive adjustments.


The Learning Plan

A Learning Plan (or Individual Education Plan)   is a written plan that records the information about the student and describes what reasonable educational adjustments will enable the student to participate.

The purpose  of the learning plan:

– identify the student’s priority learning goals;

– link these with the curriculum;

– outline student’s aspirations, strengths, interests, and needs;

– convey information that impacts on the student’s learning and wellbeing;

– guides teachers in making adjustments to support student’s learning;

– detail the adjustments;

– ensure regular review of the student’s needs and progress;

– identify transition needs and may include or link to a transition plan;

– link to a behaviour management plan if required;

– inform assessment and reporting processes.

Principles of the Learning Plan:

– it is part of a continuous process from early years to secondary education and links to post-school options;

– planning follows a pattern of assessment, gathering information; evaluation, reporting and review;

– planning is student centred;

– all students are able to learn;

– flexible use of the curriculum to include learning goals  and plan for next steps helps address the learning needs of all students;

– the learning plan is an outcome of working together with the student and important people in their life.

Keeping an organised file of information and meeting records is very helpful to keep you, the student, and their team on track with goals and progress.

The following headings are a way to organise an information folder:

– personal information (DOB, address etc);

– diagnosis or disability (as little or as much details as you think necessary);

– assessments.


Get to know the rights and obligations of students with disability, their families (or carers) and the school.

Rights and obligations are found on the Australian Government Department of Education and Training Website.

Get to know the obligations of the education or training provider – Disability Standards for education (2005) and the Disability Discrimination Act (1992).

As the parent, carer, or nominee; of the student with disability, it is important for you to be willing to work as part of a team with the school to achieve the best outcomes for the student.

Ask the Principal what curriculum applies to your child. The curriculum guides the teachers for teaching what is relevant and necessary for the student according to their capabilities.

Remember, every child has a human right to education and this is supported by legislation, standards and conventions. You have every right to expect that the school your child attends will ensure your child is fully included. Learn more about children’s rights and how they are protected in Australia and worldwide by taking a look at the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.


Here you can find a simple list of the best actions to take if you are interested in this topic:

1 . As the parent, carer, or nominee of the student with disability, you will be part of a team with the school to achieve the best outcomes in education for the student. Ask for or accept an invitation to meet with the principal. Developing a good relationship with the principal and other school staff will be very important.

2 . Gather and present relevant information and supporting documentation about the student to the principal.

3 . Keep all the information about the student in an organised file. Use the file to keep written records of your first meeting with the school, and all meetings that follow.

4 . Discuss with the Principal who will be in the team. The team should include the student (if possible), relevant teaching staff, medical professionals, allied health professionals and other significant persons as required. Over time, people will move in and out of the team, as the student’s needs change.

5 . Develop the learning plan. Use the student’s strengths, needs interests, capabilities and functional performance to decide on the short term goals. The team will consider the student’s overall goal or long-term goal, and will make smaller or short-term goals that lead to reaching the overall goal.

6 . Identify learning goals for the student. Make sure the goals are linked to the relevant curriculum. Write them into the plan.

7 . Include in the plan the teaching strategies, supports and educational adjustments to instruction methods, and or the environment.

8 . The team will implement the Learning plan; reviewing, updating and adjusting goals, expectations, strategies and supports as necessary. The Principal has responsibility for making sure that the plan is created, carried out and reviewed.

9 . Remember the person may change their overall goal at anytime, and short-term goals may need to be changed or tweaked to suit the student. It is very important for the team to review the student’s progress and update the Learning Plan as necessary.

10 . When the student is at a stage of transition, for example from primary to high school, develop a transition plan. [link to article on Transition plans]