Date: 06-01-14
NISSA Key Messages


Independent Special Schools are some of the oldest schools in Australia for students with a disability.

  • Although there is small number of schools across Australia, they play an important part in the range of schooling options available for students with disabilities.
  • Independent Special schools give families a choice in schooling.
  • There is a high demand for a place at Independent special schools with schools unable to take all applicants every year.
  • Independent special schools work closely with families as we believe that building capacity in families will help children over their lifetime 


Independent special schools work with students and families to give the students the skills to be able to move across educational settings.

  • Inclusion refers to a process not a placeª.
  • Quality education and offering the right support to students with disability at the time they need it is more important than placeª.
  • Inclusion means being involved in a common enterprise of learning rather than necessarily being under the same roof at a particular phase of educationª
  • Special schools aim for teaching that will result in improved student outcomes across a rich and diverse curriculum, thereby preparing students for inclusion in a broader societyª. 


Independent Special Schools are reliant on government funding, parent support and the support of the community.  Any changes to funding needs to acknowledge the real cost of running an independent special school.

  • Independent special schools have higher costs for staffing (low teacher student ratios and more support staff and therapists) and higher infrastructure costs.
  • Funding for students with disability needs to be able to move across sectors.

 Independent special schools serve as tireless advocates for students with disabilities and as a source of support, guidance, information, and training for families and professionals in the disability community. 


ª”Towards inclusion: An Australian perspective, Fiona Forbes, Support for Learning, Vol 22, Number 2, 2007

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