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Tip Sheet 9: Schools: Finding a school

Key Message

  • Take time to choose a school for your child
  • All schools must make reasonable adjustments to include children with a disability
  • Visit schools and ask questions to help you

There are many things to consider when choosing a school for your child. Finding the right school for your child can be hard and may take time. Family, friends, other parents, and professionals such as your Key Worker, can support you. Here are some tips to help:


What is an inclusive education?

Mainstream schools include government, Catholic, and private/independent schools. Most children with a disability in Australia attend a mainstream school. Mainstream schools must make reasonable adjustments to include children with a disability. This is called inclusive education.

What are reasonable adjustments?

Reasonable adjustments include:

  • Modifications to make the classroom more accessible
  • Adjusting the curriculum or teaching approaches
  • Accessing support services 
  • Professional development for teachers

What are the benefits of inclusive education?

Inclusive education has benefits for all students including better:

  • Academic outcomes1234
  • Social skills5
  • Communication skillsv
  • Behaviouriii
  • Sense of belongingiii
  • Education quality6

Every child and every family is different. Your feelings as you take the journey from noticing your child may have a delay, to diagnosis, and beyond may also be different from that of other parents. There is no right or wrong way to feel.

What are the other options?

There are also special schools and special developmental schools available that only cater to children with a disability. Home schooling and distance education are also options.

How do I choose a school for my child?

There are many ways you can explore the options for your child including:

  • Visit different schools – Most schools have open days, but you can also make an appointment to visit at other times 
  • Meet with the principal and the teachers
  • Look around at the physical environment of the school 
  • Talk to other parents and professionals
  • Read the schools’ websites 

What are the next steps?

Once you have chosen a school for your child:

  • Inform your child’s preschool teacher and therapists or Key Worker.
  • Enrol your child.
  • Ask your child’s preschool teacher about transition to school. They may need to provide the school with information about your child.
  • Ask if you can have a transition meeting with the preschool teacher, a teacher from the school, and your child’s therapists or Key Worker. 
  • The school can apply for funding to support the inclusion of your child. The school may need to organise an assessment and need information from you. 
  • Attend meetings and share information about your child’s strengths and needs. 
  • Think about what might be helpful for child in transitioning to school. Ideas include:
    • extra visits to the school
    • a visual schedule
    • a social story
    • being in the same class as children they know
    • good communication between you and the teacher
  • Get involved in the school community.

To find out information about the schools near you visit

If you feel distressed thinking and reading about this topic,
talk to your GP or health professional. You can also call Lifeline on 131 114.