Students with Disability (SWD) Staffing
The Department of Education is reviewing the resource allocation (staffing) model for students with disability (SWD). This allocates teacher FTE and teacher-aide hours to special education programs (SEPs) and other schools without a SEP each year.
A review stakeholder reference group has been established, on which the QTU is represented.
The review will develop new models for allocating SWD staffing resources, informed by the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD).
A new model is expected to be released in mid-2022 and to be in place for the 2023 school year. Resources will be allocated under the current model for the 2022 school year.
The review is considering how to streamline processes for staff. Steps are being taken to reduce workloads during the 2022 school year, including:
- not requiring primary and secondary schools to seek Education Adjustment Program (EAP) verification for prep and students who are new to the state education system
- only requiring special schools to seek EAP verification in the intellectual disability category for enrolment purposes
- not requiring parents to seek additional medical or specialist reports
- enabling schools to ask parents to provide any medical or specialist reports they already have.
New staffing model announced
Since term 4 2021 the department has been reviewing what the QTU refers to as the students with disability (SWD) staffing model. This is the model that allocates teacher FTE and teacher aide hours to special schools, SEP and primary/secondary schools (without SEPs).
In late 2021 as part of the review, the department announced that EAP/verification would cease in 2022 except for ID students seeking special school enrolment. This decision was made in recognition that the new model would use NCCD data instead of EAP.
2022 State Budget
The announcement of the new model was delayed until the State Budget which included an additional $80.6 million to provide extra teachers and teacher aides in the 2-year transition to the full implementation of the new model in 2025. In 2023 and 2024 no school or SEP will have a SWD staffing allocation less than their 2022 allocation. In 2025 the new model will be fully implemented.
The model details are:
- The evidence/data to inform the model will be from NCCD.
- EAP/verification has not been used in 2022 except for ID students seeking special school enrolment. This will continue into 2023.
- Funding/staffing will be allocated to the following 3 NCCD adjustment categories – supplementary adjustments, substantial adjustments, and extensive adjustments. Please note the lowest level of adjustment (quality differentiated teaching practice) does not attract resourcing from either the State or the Feds. The QTU argued the new model should allocate resourcing for all four levels. The DoE did not support this position.
- The DoE will introduce an additional level of adjustment called Extensive Plus. This category will be applicable to many/most special school students and those students in other schools with multiple disabilities or a disability requiring very intensive support. Schools will apply for this adjustment category using a One School template which will not incur much workload (certainly much less than EAP/verification). These students will still be identified in NCCD as requiring extensive adjustment. Also, for most of these students the Extensive Plus category will not require reviews every 2 years as was the case with EAP. The Extensive Plus template form will be available from the beginning of term three for schools to complete.
- Although the SWD staffing will primarily be determined by the data submitted on the NCCD August census date, the new staffing model allows for anticipative adjustment data for new students and Prep students not captured in August. This is another improvement on the former model.
- There will be a 2-year transition phase to the full implementation of the model in 2025.
- The 2022 State Budget included an allocation of an additional $80.6 million over two calendar years/three financial years to support schools in the transition to the new model. This funding will be used to ensure in 2023 and 2024 no special school/school/SEP receives less staffing than in 2022. For schools who will receive enhanced staffing under the new model they will receive 25% of the additional staffing in 2023, 50% in 2024 and 100% in 2025.