From the ILP to the NCCD – when back to school is not just about the ABCs

As our children return to school, it is important to form and maintain collaborative relationships with our child’s teacher(s). While not legislatively mandated, many States and Territories and education sectors within States and Territories have processes in place to facilitate Individual Learning Plans (ILP). ILPs are also called Personal Learning Plans, Individual Education Plans amongst other names, and have varying eligibility criteria, criteria for review, and goal setting.

Code REaD Dyslexia Network has some great resources around communicating with schools and creating an ILP.

This blog was originally going to have more information around creating ILPs, but there is such variation between States and Territories, let alone between education sectors, that ILPs may get a blog of their own.

Also, Code Read has already been contacted by families this week whose children are 12+ months behind their peers and their schools are refusing to implement ILPs, and families whose primary schools put all of the right communications and supports in place to enable a smooth transition to high school, only to have that great work undone.

Below are some suggestions for primary school and high school settings, that work in ideal circumstances. Then we tackle something meatier, which does have legislation behind it, the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD).

Primary School 

For primary school children, arrange a parent-teacher meeting within the first few weeks. This could be to review the previous year’s ILP, or to start the groundwork for an inaugural ILP. This meeting could also include the learning support teacher, and your child’s external literacy specialist, if you have one, or as a minimum, a written report from them. All adjustments provided in the classroom, for assessment tasks, for NAPLAN, and intervention programs should be documented in the ILP, along with achievable, accountable goals for the semester or year.

Children in upper primary should be involved in their ILP meetings; depending on the child, some may be involved earlier.

ILPs should be reviewed during Semester 2 against the agreed upon goals.

If your child in transitioning to high school next year, start clarifying processes for that soon, communication between both schools and families is vital.l

Follow up face to face meetings with an email, clarifying what was discussed and agreed upon and keep a yearly electronic file of correspondence.

High School 

Communicating with the increased number of teachers for high schools students can seem daunting – it doesn’t need to be.

Again, if new to high school arrange a meeting with the learning support team in the first couple of weeks to arrange an ILP. You may have been able to start the ground work for this during the last term of primary school.

If this is the second year of high school, ideally this year’s ILP was finalised towards the end of Semester 2 last year – there is no reason for it not to be, and will help get the new school year off to a smooth start.

As a minimum the learning support teacher will have communicated to this year’s teachers information about the learning support students in their class. The learning support team is also responsible for sending your child’s ILP to the year coordinator and subject teachers.

Give it a week or two, then send an email to the year coordinator, wellbeing coordinator (if that’s a different person), and each subject teacher:

  • summarising the key points of the ILP – your child’s learning needs and effective support strategies
  • asking how they wish to be communicated with during the semester (some prefer email, others telephone, others via the school’s electronic diary system)

The electronic diary often used in high school can be a great resource. It has timetable information, due dates for assessments. Teachers can (and should) upload presentations and other resources to it, which greatly help our children. It helps us too, as we try and support our students with their workload and help them to become organised.

Email new Semester 2 teachers as above also.


Unfortunately school reluctance, even refusal, to develop an ILP is not uncommon, and while not obligated to, ILPs provide a written, accountable document that can be retained by families, and are considered by many as best practice to demonstrate schools compliance with their responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) and the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (DSE).

Become familiar with the DSE, its Guidance Notes and fact sheets available at their website.

In all school settings and sectors, know the grievance processes, and use them as necessary.


If school will not support the development of an ILP, the NCCD provides another, legislative mechanism to document that adjustments are in place.

Since December 2014, schools have been required to collect information about students with disability, and provide that information to their approved authorities for the purposes of the NCCD.

There are two fundamental aspects to the NCCD:

  1. The legislative requirements and professional responsibility placed on schools to provide reasonable adjustment under the DDA and the DSE.
  2. The focus placed on the level of adjustment provided to the student based on their functional needs, in addition to the student’s category of disability.

All students with dyslexia will be included in the NCCD. A formal diagnosis is not required for inclusion.

The NCCD is based on the professional judgement of teachers and school teams about the adjustments provided for students as part of day to day practice. Adjustments are actions taken to enable a student with disability to access and participate in education on the same basis as their non-affected peers. When schools are determining the inclusion of a student in the data collection, teachers consider:

  • the level of adjustment provided to a student
  • the broad disability category, and
  • the available evidence of the adjustment that has been made on the basis of a disability

The evidence will reflect a wide range of practices of teachers and schools in meeting the educational needs of their students consistent with obligations under the DDA, the DSE, and best teaching practice.

For a student to be included in the NCCD, the school must have evidence that adjustments have been provided for a minimum period of 10 weeks of school education (excluding school holiday periods), in the 12 months preceding the census day – 7 August 2020.

Selecting the level of adjustment

Teachers and school teams, in consultation with clinical experts (either school or family sourced) and families, are the best judge of what adjustment a student needs to learn and participate in school education.

Levels of adjustment:

  • Support provided within quality differentiated teaching practice
  • Supplementary adjustments
  • Substantial adjustments
  • Extensive adjustments

In all but the mildest cases of dyslexia, Support provided within quality differentiated teaching practice won’t be an adequate level of adjustment for students to access the curriculum and demonstrate their learning on the same basis as their non-affected peers. Supplementary adjustments will be necessary on a daily basis in the classroom, for assessment tasks, for NAPLAN, for exams, and as intervention. See the NCCD Selecting the level of adjustment document linked here for greater detail about the levels of adjustment.

The NCCD is used to calculate the disability loading per student a school receives above a school’s base funding per student, and is determined by the level of adjustments provided to students with disability, see Table 1.

Adjustments determined to be at the level of Support provided within quality differentiated teaching practice attracts no disability loading.

Tabel 1: 2019 student with disability loading by NCCD level of adjustment

Base per student amount in 2019 Supplementary Substantial Extensive
Primary student $11,343 42% 146% 312%
($4,764) ($16,561 ($35,350)
Secondary student $14,254 33% 116% 248%
($4,704) ($16,535) ($35,350)


N.B. Disability loading is not allocated to a specific student, but rather is added to the schools allocated funding. You might want to ask your school how much of the disability loading they actually received in 2019…Code REaD Dyslexia Network would be very curious.

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