The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is an Australia-wide scheme to support people aged 0 to 65 years with permanent and significant disability. As an insurance scheme, the NDIS takes a lifetime approach, investing in people with disability early to improve their outcomes later in life.
The NDIS supports people with disability to build skills and capability so they can participate in the community, which includes accessing education.
The NDIS helps people with disability to access mainstream services and supports, access community services and supports, maintain informal support arrangements, and receive reasonable and necessary funded supports.
What educational supports will the NDIS fund?
Some participants in the Scheme may be studying at school, in higher education or with a vocational education and training (VET) provider. Some NDIS participants may require additional support while studying.
The Scheme will fund supports related to the participant’s disability and which will enable them to engage both in education and the community. This includes such supports as assistance with self-care care, transport, transportable aids and equipment and transition support.
What educational supports are the responsibility of the education provider?
The NDIS compliments the supports, which should already be provided by the education system. The education system has responsibility for assisting students with their educational attainment, including through teaching and educational resources. This includes employing specialised staff, making reasonable adjustments and learning specific equipment.
What is the responsibility of the participant?
Individuals and families sometimes also have a role in funding education-related supports, such as purchasing school uniforms, paying school/course fees, excursion fees and purchasing educational material. It would generally not be appropriate for the NDIS to fund compulsory text books or tuition/membership fees. However, if as a result of a participant’s disability there is an increased cost in accessing compulsory course materials (for example, an audio book at an additional expense) the NDIS may fund the additional cost.
There are some fee exemptions for people with disability, such as those available through Smart and Skilled, if a person is planning on accessing a VET course. For more information on eligibility go to: https://smartandskilled.nsw.gov.au/for-students/students-with-additional-needs/students-with-a-disability
Scholarships are also available to people with disability to assist with covering educational costs. To see a list of scholarships available go to: https://www.adcet.edu.au/students-with-disability/current-students/scholarships-awards/
School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES)
What are SLES?
SLES are supports provided to NDIS-eligible Year 12 school leavers to assist them to transition from school and reach their employment goals. Supports may include work experience, job skills training, travel training, and activities that contribute to achieving an employment outcome. SLES often equates to approximately three days of support per week and can be accessed for up to two years. Participants can have both SLES and other reasonable and necessary funded supports in their NDIS plan.
SLES is not a program. It is an individualised approach to funding employment supports, which are considered alongside other supports in the participant’s NDIS plan. SLES can include a range of supports for participants to assist them to become work-ready.
Who delivers SLES?
Any provider registered with the NDIA can deliver SLES supports. The participant chooses the provider they want. SLES is a specialised support with specific reporting requirements. For this reason it could be beneficial to choose a provider that is registered with the NDIA. A person can change providers if the arrangement is not working or if they are unhappy with the supports provided.
Where can I get more information?
NDIS fact sheet on support in school: Mainstream interface: School education
NDIS fact sheet on support in post-school education: Mainstream interface: Higher Education and Vocational Education and Training
Information on employment, higher education and vocational education and training from the NDIS Operational Guidelines: https://www.ndis.gov.au/Operational-Guideline/including-6
School Leaver Employment Supports: https://www.ndis.gov.au/people-disability/sles
The Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET) website on NDIS: https://www.adcet.edu.au/disability-practitioner/student-access/ndis/
ADCET Resource NDIS Pre-planning Toolkit for people with disability entering Higher Education or Vocational Education and Training: https://www.adcet.edu.au/students-with-disability/planning-for-post-secondary-education/ndis-and-further-education-resource/
The NSW Department of Education website on the NDIS: https://education.nsw.gov.au/teaching-and-learning/disability-learning-and-support/resources/national-disability-insurance-scheme
For any other information on the NDIS go to the website https://www.ndis.gov.au or phone 1800 800 110