Students with a Disability

Purpose of this policy

To support the inclusion of students with disabilities and additional needs in government schools.


The Department is committed to embedding inclusive education in all school environments for students with disabilities and additional needs. All Victorians, irrespective of the school they attend, where they live or their social or economic status, should have access to high quality education.   

For information and resources on Education for all, the Department's vision for inclusive education, see: Inclusive Education for Students with Disabilities

For an Easy English version of the policy, see:

Inclusive education

An inclusive education system enables all students to be welcomed, accepted and engaged so that they can participate, achieve and thrive in school life. Inclusive education: 

  • ensures that students with disabilities are not discriminated against and are accommodated to participate in education on the same basis as their peers
  • acknowledges and responds to the diverse needs, identities and strengths of all students
  • occurs when students with disabilities and additional needs are treated with respect and are involved in making decisions about their education
  • benefits students of all abilities in the classroom and fosters positive cultural change in attitudes and beliefs about disability, in and beyond the school environment
  • contributes to positive learning, engagement and wellbeing outcomes for students.

Victorian SHARE Principles for Inclusive Education

The following principles provide guidance for all members of the school community on the main features of inclusive education. 

S: Student-centred

Inclusive education involves students, in collaboration with their peers and/or carers, in decision-making processes as respected partners in education.

H: Human rights focused

Inclusive education is supported by and is the realisation of a human rights based approach to education. International human rights principles and Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 provide a framework for every Victorian to be treated with dignity and respect and to enjoy their human rights without discrimination.

A: Acknowledges strengths

Inclusive education recognises that each child and young person is unique. It focuses on a strengths-based, personalised approach to education that celebrates and welcomes difference to maximise learning, engagement and wellbeing outcomes.

R: Respects legal obligations

Inclusive education enables schools to uphold legal obligations to make reasonable adjustments for all students with disabilities. Reasonable adjustments assist all students to participate in education on the same basis as their peers without a disability.

E: Evidence-based

Inclusive education uses contemporary evidence-based practices known to be effective in responding to individual student needs and improving student outcomes..

Legal obligations

All schools, as education providers, must comply with the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic), the  Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) and also the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (Cth) (the Standards), see: Disability Standards

The Standards cover enrolment, participation, curriculum development, student support services and the elimination of harassment and victimisation, and provides guidance for schools on:

  • the rights of students with disabilities
  • the legal obligations on education providers
  • some of the measures that would demonstrate compliance.

The Standards apply to all students with disabilities, not just those who are eligible for support under targeted funding programs. Additional resources provided to schools do not define or limit the support provided for student disabilities.

Reasonable adjustments

Under both State and Commonwealth laws schools must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to accommodate students with disabilities or additional needs. An adjustment is a measure or action taken to assist all students to participate in education and training on the same basis as their peers without a disability.

When planning an adjustment for a student, the school should consult with the parent/guardian/carer(s) and the student, through the Student Support Group process.

Related policies 

Department resources

Other resources

  • For more information on the Victorian Certificate of Education and Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning specifically Section 7 – Satisfactory Completion of Units and Section 11 - Special Provision see: VCAA’s VCE and VCAL Administrative Handbook