Student support services assist children and young people faced with learning barriers to achieve their educational and developmental potential. They provide strategies and specialised support at individual, group, school and area levels.
The role of student support services
Student support services comprise a broad range of professionals including psychologists, speech pathologists and social workers.
They work as part of an integrated health and wellbeing team within networks of schools, focusing on providing group-based and individual support, workforce capacity building and the provision of specialised services.
Student support services are embedded in area-based multi-disciplinary teams to:
- support the delivery of quality universal services for all students, with extra effort directed to ensuring education and health and wellbeing services are accessible to, and inclusive of, the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.
- target the delivery of individual support services to those who require specialised expertise, assessment and intervention in order to overcome barriers to learning, develop the capability of schools to design health, learning, development and wellbeing strategies that focus on improving education and health and wellbeing outcomes.
- collaborate with multidisciplinary professional practice teams and build partnerships with community services to meet the needs of schools and students and their health, wellbeing and learning goals.
- respond to critical incidents involving students, staff and school communities.
Services provided by student support services
- support schools to develop
- offer support to students, families and schools through involvement in individual, group and family work
- provide support at critical incidents in schools where appropriate.
Schools may also have access to other allied health officers such as occupational therapists or
school nurses. They may be employed by the school, area or region.
Other professional support available
Schools may also get support from:
Board Certified Behaviour Analysts
- coach school staff and develop processes to respond to behaviours of concern
- carry out direct behavioural assessments such as
Functional Behaviour Assessment intervention on individual students.
Visting Teacher Service
- offer specialist guidance to teachers and schools in supporting engagement and participation of students with disabilities
- work in the areas of physical disability and health care needs, hearing and vision loss.
Visiting Teacher Service for more information.
SSS key contact
Every school has a SSS Key Contact for potential referrals, consultations or student wellbeing issues. This person will be an allied health professional specifically employed for the role.
See the student support services handbook for a list of current SSS Key Contacts.
Accessing student support services
The SSS referral process identifies students with the greatest needs, and matches these with the expertise of SSS members.
The SSS referral process involves three steps.
Student Online Case System (SOCS) for previous referrals related to the student
- review previous recommendations or school based actions
- create a ‘school case’ on SOCS to document school actions if desired.
School and Student Support Services
- SSS Key Contact and school work together to:
- discuss concerns and plans made to date. For example
Individual Education Plans (IEPs) or
Behaviour Support Plans (BSPs)
- identify strategies to provide immediate support to the student
- identify whether referral is appropriate and the types of service required. This may include a referral to student support services,
visiting teacher service or another Departmental or external service such as mental health
- identify sections of the Student Information Form relevant to the student.
- complete only the relevant sections of the Student Information Form (see SSS handbook for examples of how to use the form)
- get consent from the student’s parent/guardian(s)
- submit referral and consent on SOCS.
Student support services
- hold SSS team intake meeting
- advise school of the intake outcome, assigned SSS and service delivery timeline.
Cases are prioritised against SSS statewide priorities, Area plans and discussion with schools.
If the intake decision is that a service other than SSS is more appropriate, this will be discussed with the school and advice on referral processes is given.
Student support services and School
- establish aims for the service delivery and support to the student
- provision and regular review of service with all stakeholders
- decide how to determine when the service has met the needs of the student and communicate with all stakeholders that the service is ending.
If you need help or have questions about the SSS referral process you can:
- talk to your SSS Key Contact Officer
- discuss further concerns with the SSS Branch Manager or SEIL
- provide feedback via your regional SSS Principal Advisory Group.
See more information and the parental consent form in the Student support services handbook.
Information and consent forms
Easy English version of this topic has been written for parent/carer(s). See:
Privacy information and consent forms
For more information about student support services, see: