Frequently asked questions
Q Question. Have there been any changes to the 2020 NCCD due to the impacts of Covid-19?
The arrangements for the 2020 NCCD are as follows.
1. Evidence of adjustments is reduced from a minimum of 10 weeks to a minimum of six weeks in the 12 months preceding the reference date for all students who would normally be eligible for the NCCD (refer C.2.1 of the Revised Guidelines). The reference date is unchanged, and remains at 7 August 2020.
This change recognises the increased demands on school staff and the potential challenges of collecting the full 10 weeks of evidence during periods of remote learning. However, schools are encouraged to collect 10 weeks of evidence where there is capacity to do so to ensure continuity of best practice.
2. Evidence requirements have been revised for specific cohorts of students with disability (refer the new section C.4.1 of the Revised Guidelines):
Foundation (Year 1 minus 1) year students;
new enrolments. This may include: students who commenced at the school in 2020; students transitioning between levels of education, e.g. primary to secondary school, or moving campuses;
students with newly diagnosed or newly imputed disability; and
students attending special assistance schools.
For these cohorts, schools will only be required to collect evidence of assessed student needs, adjustments provided and consultation and collaboration with the student and/or parents, guardians or carers, or associates. Evidence of ongoing monitoring and review of adjustments will not be required.
Q Question. How is data from the NCCD used?
High level, non-identifying data from the NCCD is used in national reporting to inform policy and program planning to support students with disability.
Since 1 January 2018, the NCCD has been used to calculate the student with disability funding loading for schools provided by the Australian Government. This loading is based on the level of adjustment being provided to the student. A fact sheet on the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment's website provides more information.
Schools and systems are best placed to understand the individual needs of students and budget accordingly.
Q Question. Is it mandatory for all schools to participate in the NCCD?
Australian Education Regulation 2013 requires all schools that receive Australian Government funding to report the information required for the NCCD to the Department on an annual basis. Learn more about the legislation.
Q Question. Why is this data being collected?
The NCCD collects comparable data about students with disability in a way that is transparent, consistent and reliable at a national level. It provides evidence on:
- the number of school students receiving an adjustment due to disability
- the level of adjustment they receive
- their broad category of disability.
Better information about school students with disability helps parents, guardians and carers, teachers, principals, education authorities and government to gain a more complete understanding of students who are receiving adjustments because of disability, and how to best support them to take part in schooling on the same basis as other students.
The NCCD captures the good work occurring in schools to support students with disability. The NCCD process is supported by an excellent range of resources to assist schools to reflect on their practice and learn from others.
From 1 January, the data collected in the NCCD will be used by the Australian Government to calculate the students with disability loading in recurrent funding provided by the Commonwealth to states and territories.
Q Question. Who is overseeing the implementation of the NCCD?
The NCCD is overseen by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment, in partnership with all state and territory governments and non-government education authorities.
The Education Council Joint Working Group to Provide Advice on Reform for Students with Disability (the Joint Working Group) has provided advice and oversight on this work since 2011. The Joint Working Group includes representation from all state and territory government education authorities, the Independent Schools Council of Australia, the National Catholic Education Commission and the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. From 2018, the Joint Working Group is chaired by the Victorian Department of Education and Training.
Q Question. Isn't data on students with disability collected now? Why do we need to be involved in another data collection process at the national level?
The NCCD gives us a national definition of a student with disability which draws on the definition in the (Commonwealth) Disability Discrimination Act 1992.
From 2018, the student with disability loading provided by the Australian Government is being based on the NCCD, which will mean better targeted and nationally consistent Commonwealth funding for students with disability.
In addition to the funding provided by the Commonwealth to schools, from 2018 the Commonwealth funding for students with disability is being provided via a loading at different rates based on students' received level of adjustment (supplementary, substantial or extensive). This will enable funding to be better targeted to student need as identified through the NCCD and schools to continue to manage their total resources to meet the learning needs of their students, based on the educational expertise of their staff.
Q Question. Will schools still need to collect data under existing state/territory collections that currently take place in schools?
Other data collections in your school on students with disability that link to state/sectoral funding and reporting will continue. Your school will inform you of your data reporting requirements.
Q Question. When and how often will the national data be collected?
The NCCD occurs in August each year. Further information is available in the NCCD guidelines.
Q Question. What information is collected through the NCCD?
Every year your school collects and provides to the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment (the Department) the following information for each student receiving an adjustment due to disability. This includes the student’s:
- year of schooling
- level of adjustment provided
- category of disability (physical, cognitive, sensory or social/emotional).
Other details about the information to be collected, and the format in which the information is to be provided to the Department, are contained in the NCCD guidelines approved by the Ministerial Council.
Q Question. Do schools need to obtain consent from parents, guardians or caregivers before students can be included in the NCCD?
No. Parental, guardian or caregiver consent is not required. This is because the NCCD is required and authorised by law (the Australian Education Act 2013 and Australian Education Regulation 2013). If the school has the information on a student’s adjustments/category of disability on its records, it must provide that information to the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment. If a school doesn’t hold the information, it must take all reasonable efforts to obtain and provide it.
The NCCD guidelines provide more information.
Q Question. What determines if a student should be included in the NCCD?
- The student has a disability as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.
- The student has been counted in the school’s census for that year.
- The student has been provided with an adjustment/s due to the functional impact of the disability for a minimum period of 10 weeks of school education in the 12 months preceding the data collection reference date.
Q Question. If my school has no students to report for the NCCD do we still need to participate in the NCCD?
Yes, it is important that the school is reported as having no students for the NCCD.
Q Question. Are overseas students included in the NCCD?
Yes, if a student meets the criteria to be included in the NCCD and they have been counted in the schools census reporting, they are included.
Note: Overseas students with disability are counted in the NCCD but are excluded from Australian Government recurrent funding calculations and related purposes.
Q Question. How will a student’s personal details be protected?
Identifying information or personal details (for example, student names) are not provided to the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment (the Department) as part of the NCCD.
All information and data relating to students with disability and the adjustments provided for those students must be stored appropriately and securely and must be managed and stored in accordance with applicable privacy legislation and policies in your state or territory.
Further information about privacy is available via the Department’s NCCD information notice.
Q Question. How do I decide if a student is being provided with the QDTP level of adjustment (support provided within quality differentiated teaching practice)?
Some students with disability may not need educational adjustments beyond those that are provided within the regular practices and resources of the school, and by meeting proficient-level Teaching Standards (AITSL).
The NCCD is not intended to count every student who is protected from discrimination under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. Students are not included in the NCCD if they have a health or other condition if that condition does not impact on their ability to participate in schooling on the same basis as their peers.
Where the student’s condition does not have a functional impact on their learning or require monitoring for individual adjustments, the student is not included in the NCCD. For example, a student who wears glasses to correct mild vision impairment and needs no further educational assessment, monitoring or support in relation to their eyesight, is not included in the NCCD.
Further information about students with disability for whom support is provided within QDTP is available in the Strategies to support decision making resource and on the Support provided within QDTP page of the NCCD Portal.
Q Question. What happens to the data after the school submits it?
After the school submits the data, state and territory government and non-government education authorities collate the data and send it to the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment (the Department). (In some cases, the school passes the information directly to the Department, depending on the school's particular arrangements.)
Governments then use the data to inform funding policy and program improvement for school students with disability.
Q Question. What if an adjustment were provided for a past student and is now being used for a current student (eg a wheelchair ramp)?
Q Question. How do I determine whether this student's adjustments should be classified as 'supplementary', 'substantial' or 'extensive'?
Q Question. What is the difference between 'Support provided within quality differentiated teaching practice' and the Supplementary level of adjustment categories?
For more information, go to the What is the level of adjustment? page.
Q Question. What happens if a student has received different levels of adjustment in the last 12-month period?
Q Question. Do I include a student with a disability if the student requires no educational adjustments to participate in schooling?
If a student has a disability that has no functional impact on their schooling (for example, students who wear corrective lenses due to mild vision impairment), they would not be included in the collection.
Definition of disability
Q Question. How do I know if a student meets the definition of 'disability' under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992?
Q Question. What is imputed disability?
To impute a disability the school team must have reasonable grounds to make such a judgement. At a minimum the student’s parent, guardian or carer must have been consulted about concerns the school has and involved in identifying reasonable adjustments to address the identified concerns.
A personalised learning plan or behaviour management plan does not equate to a child having a disability, but may be an indicator of an imputed disability when it documents the teaching and learning adjustments that have been made so that the child can access the curriculum.
Social disadvantage and/or disrupted parenting can be addressed through evidence-based quality teaching and in and of itself does not constitute a disability under the DDA.
A good test of your own confidence in the judgement is to ask, ‘If we were challenged to explain our decision would we feel we had reasonable grounds and documentation to support our judgement?’
Q Question. What happens if a student fits into more than one of the disability categories provided in the list?
Q Question. Where do I find information on specific disabilities?
Useful information on a range of disabilities is provided via the Useful links page and on the websites of the relevant peak bodies.
Q Question. Does a child need a formal diagnosis from a medical practitioner or disability specialist to be included in the NCCD?
School teams can use their professional, evidence-based judgement to determine that a child has an imputed disability. That is, a disability attributed to a person based on reasonable grounds including the functional impact of the imputed disability on the student’s learning.
Q Question. When does my school need to start identifying and maintaining evidence for the NCCD?
This means that some data may be included from the previous school year. Evidence must support the school’s claim that it has provided reasonable adjustments for a minimum of 10 weeks over that 12-month period. The minimum 10-week period of adjustment(s) does not need to comprise consecutive weeks.
It is strongly recommended that schools begin the process of identifying and maintaining evidence well in advance of the NCCD reference date.
Q Question. How long does the school keep records?
The school’s approved authority must ensure the associated records to support the information provided under the NCCD are kept for seven years, as required by section 37 of the Australian Education Regulation 2013. An approved authority is an operator of government and non-government schools that receives Australian Government funding, for example a State or Territory Department of Education.
Your relevant approved authority may have its own compliance arrangements for records management which may require longer periods of storage.
Q Question. Who should review this data before it is submitted?
Moderation processes, including checking the quality of the data, is typically a collaborative process in a school. Processes do vary between schools and school systems. The school principal can advise you of the review processes that apply to your school prior to the submission of data.
Go to the Moderation resource for schools for information about approaches to moderation.
Q Question. How is a child who attends two schools counted?
Further information is available in the NCCD guidelines.
When considering the level of adjustment provided to the student, consider all adjustments that the student receives to participate in education (including those provided in other educational settings). If the student attends another school, you may wish to contact that school to discuss the adjustments they provide if you do not already have this information.
Q Question. How are students who attend special schools or special assistance schools included?
These situations usually provide modified environments, including highly adjusted curriculum along with specialised equipment required by some students. There may also be specialist programs and interventions that are clearly focused or tailored to meet the educational support needs of students with similar disabilities.
However, as with all students in the NCCD, an assessment of the level of adjustment and category of disability should be made on an individual basis.
Q Question. How should newly enrolled students with disability be recorded?
Evidence of adjustment(s) from the student's previous school can be included, provided it is from the 12 months prior to the NCCD reference date. This would include evidence from the previous school of long-term adjustments together with evidence that similar adjustments are required, or being implemented, in the new school.
Contact with the student’s previous school may assist to gather the evidence required. Communication with parents/guardians/carers may also provide sources of contact (eg health professionals) that can assist to build the evidence to support the inclusion of the student.
Professional learning and support
Q Question. How can I access professional learning?
This website provides information you can use to improve your professional knowledge. A range of e-learn modules is also freely available.
Speak to your principal about additional professional learning opportunities available in your sector or system.
Q Question. Where do I find the University of Canberra e-learn modules about the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Disability Standards for Education 2005?
The courses are free to access and provide a certificate of completion.