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Term Definition

Adjustments are actions taken to enable a student with disability to access and participate in education on the same basis as other students.


For most students, 'associates' means their parents, guardians or carers but can include other nominated persons or advocates.


Disability Discrimination Act 1992


Disability is defined in section 4 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 as:

  • total or partial loss of the person's bodily or mental functions; or
  • total or partial loss of a part of the body; or
  • the presence in the body of organisms causing disease or illness; or
  • the presence in the body of organisms capable of causing disease or illness; or
  • the malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of the person's body; or
  • a disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction; or
  • a disorder, illness or disease that affects a person's thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgment or that results in disturbed behaviour;

and includes a disability that:

  • presently exists; or
  • previously existed but no longer exists; or
  • may exist in the future (including because of a genetic predisposition to that disability); or
  • is imputed to a person.

To avoid doubt, a disability that is otherwise covered by this definition includes behaviour that is a symptom or manifestation of the disability.

Source: Section 4 Disability Discrimination Act 1992

Disability Discrimination Act 1992

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) makes it against the law to treat people unfairly because of a disability.

Functional impact

The functional impact of a student’s disability in relation to education includes the impact on curriculum access and participation, communication, mobility, personal care and social participation. Other areas that might be considered for some students are safety, motor development, emotional wellbeing, sensory needs and transitions.

Functional needs

Functional needs refers to a student’s educational and support needs across a range of domains which may include, but are not limited to:

  • key learning areas: changes required in curriculum and teaching practices to enable a student to achieve the learning outcomes described in syllabus documents
  • communication: a student’s ability to receive and understand information being conveyed by others (receptive language) and a student’s ability to convey a message to others (expressive language)
  • participation: a student’s ability to engage in successful interactions and participate effectively in the full school program (social competence) and the management strategies required to ensure a student’s safety (safety and wellbeing)
  • personal care: essential hygiene routines that require intensive individual management to support participation (hygiene), eating/drinking/dietary needs which require individual management (eating and dietary), and the procedures specified in an individual health care plan that require specialised support (health care procedures)
  • movement: a student’s level of functional independence in mobility and positioning (mobility and positioning) and a student’s ability to use the hand motor skills required to participate in learning activities (hand motor skills).
Imputed disability

An ‘imputed’ disability is something that someone believes another person has. To impute a disability, the school team must have reasonable grounds to make such a judgement.

Learning differences

The term learning differences refers to the diverse ways all students learn and the rates at which they learn. Learning differences take account of individual learning motivators, learner aspirations, interests, experience and cultural background, individual students’ strengths and individual students’ needs.

Learning difficulties

The term learning difficulties refers to factors outside of learning differences or disabilities that might affect a student’s ability to achieve at the same rate as their peers. Factors such as absenteeism, ineffective instruction, inadequate exposure to necessary curriculums, English as an additional language, socioeconomic status and personal or family trauma may affect a student’s ability to effectively engage with learning activities and meet academic expectations. These factors may lead to difficulties for the student in meeting the expected learning targets for their age and/or years of schooling.

Students are not included in the NCCD if they have learning difficulties as defined above that are not directly attributed to a disability as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and Disability Standards for Education 2005.

Learning disabilities

Learning disabilities are defined by the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and Disability Standards for Education 2005 as 'a disorder or malfunction that results in a person learning differently from a person without a disorder or malfunction'. Students with learning disability are a specific group of students who are considered to have learning difficulties but do not respond to appropriate intervention.

Students with learning disability as defined above, who require adjustment to address their disability may be included in the NCCD if they meet eligibility requirements described in the NCCD model.

Levels of adjustment

Support provided within quality differentiated teaching practice

Students with disability are supported through active monitoring and adjustments that are not greater than those used to meet the needs of diverse learners. These adjustments are provided through usual school processes, without drawing on additional resources, and by meeting proficient-level Teaching Standards (AITSL).

Supplementary adjustments

Students with disability are provided with adjustments that are supplementary to the strategies and resources already available for all students within the school.

Substantial adjustments

Students with disability who have more substantial support needs are provided with essential adjustments and considerable adult assistance.

Extensive adjustment

Students with disability and very high support needs are provided with extensive targeted measures and sustained levels of intensive support. These adjustments are highly individualised, comprehensive and ongoing.


As it relates to the NCCD, moderation allows individuals within a school to collaborate, validate and learn from one another to regulate the assessment and data collection process. It is a key treatment in reducing variability in teacher professional judgement.


The Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD) is an annual collection of information about Australian school students with disability.

NCCD category of disability

The NCCD broad categories of disability are: physical, cognitive, sensory and social/emotional. The categories are used for the purposes of counting students in the NCCD.

NCCD model

The NCCD model describes how to undertake the NCCD. The model provides a systematic process that enables schools across Australia to count, in a consistent manner, the number of students with disability receiving adjustments to access education. The model was endorsed by education ministers on 10 May 2013.

On the same basis

'On the same basis' means that a student with disability must have opportunities and choices comparable with those offered to students without disability in relation to:

  • admission or enrolment in an institution
  • participation in courses or programs
  • use of facilities and services.
Overseas student

'Overseas student' has the same meaning as in the Australian Education Act 2013 and the Australian Education Regulation 2013, as amended.

Personal information

Personal information is information or an opinion, whether true or not, and whether recorded in a material form or not, about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable.

Personalised learning and support

Personalised learning and support aims to fulfil the diverse capabilities of each student. It requires attention to the unique needs of students of all abilities, acknowledging the different learning needs of each student. This is particularly relevant for students with disability and additional learning needs.

There are four elements in personalised learning and support:

  • consultation and collaboration with a student and/or their parent or carer
  • assessing and identifying the needs of a student
  • providing reasonable adjustments to address the identified needs of a student
  • monitoring and reviewing the impact of adjustments.

Personalised learning and support may involve one or a combination of approaches in relation to curriculum, instruction and the environment.

Professional support roles

Professional support roles include medical practitioners and allied health professionals whose diagnoses of disability, or other assessment information about a student’s disability, may form part of the evidence identified for the NCCD, subject to parental permission.

Reasonable adjustment

An adjustment is an action taken to enable a student with disability to access and participate in education on the same basis as other students.

Australian legislation requires reasonable adjustments to be made for students where necessary to allow their access and participation in education on the same basis as students without disability. These adjustments are made in consultation with the student and/or their associates. Any adjustment required must be made within a reasonable time.

An adjustment is reasonable if it balances the interests of all parties affected.

Learn more about reasonable adjustments in Section 3.4 of the Disability Standards for Education 2005.


Reference date

The date at which schools identify the student population to count for the purposes of NCCD. For the NCCD, this is the same date as the schools census collected under the Australian Education Act 2013; that is, the first Friday in August.

School census

The national school census is required under the Australian Education Act 2013. Data from this census is used to calculate school funding, to inform education policy and programs and for statistical reporting, including the National Schools Statistics Collection.

School team

The principal may identify and nominate a school team to drive the NCCD process. 

The school team is generally a team of staff in the school or supporting the school; it may include teachers with specific experience or qualifications in disability studies, but this is not mandatory. In some regional, rural and remote schools that have a very small staff, the school team could consist of one person, the principal.

The school team is responsible to the principal, who is ultimately responsible for endorsing the NCCD.

The school team provides a mechanism for the coordination of teaching and learning and embedding support for learning into the culture and practice of the school. It plays a role in supporting teachers in identifying and responding to the additional learning needs of students, in leading and supporting professional development for staff, and in supporting high expectations for every student, including those students who require adjustments to their learning. The school team supports collaborative partnerships between the school, parents/carers, other professionals and the wider school community.

Special assistance school

A school that is, or is likely to be, recognised by the state or territory minister for the school as a special assistance school, and primarily caters for students with social, emotional or behavioural difficulties.

Special school

A school that is, or is likely to be, recognised by the state or territory minister for the school as a special school, and provides education under special programs, or special activities, designed specifically for students with disability.

Student with disability

A student who meets the requirements to be counted in the NCCD for a school.

Student with disability loading

The funding loading provided for students with disability.


In the context of the NCCD, validation is when a principal verifies and confirms the accuracy of the school's NCCD data before it is submitted.

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