Students with additional needs

Students with Additional Needs (SWAN) are identified as students with:

Students with additional needs require specific and/or targeted support to participate in their learning on the same basis as their peers. The disability or additional need may be permanent or ongoing, temporary or transient in nature. Support is determined by the student’s learning needs and the frequency and intensity of support required.

Students with additional needs:

  • must be given the same opportunities to learn as other students
  • may need adjustments to access, participate and engage with the Australian Curriculum
  • may require personalised learning to appropriately support their learning needs.

Students, parents/caregivers need to be consulted in regards to students’ educational needs and adjustments required to support their learning.

Students with additional needs includes information related to twice exceptional students (2e) (gifted and/or talented with a disability)

Identify and measure progress

Student needs are identified through data such as:

Progressive achievement test (PAT) percentiles

For more information go to the Acer Assessment website.

Medical/clinical assessments

Medical and clinical assessments are provided by doctors, health practitioners or educational specialists. For more information, go to the Australian Government Nationally Consistent Collection of Data (NCCD) on School Students with Disability website.

Learning profiles

Profiling is used to provide needs based support for students with additional needs and/or disability, helping teachers to identify the learning needs of students.

Curriculum access

Some students may require an alternative way to access the curriculum. The department also supports students to access the following:

South Australian Certificate of Education

Special provision arrangements support students who have a disability, or have been affected by misadventure or personal circumstances beyond their control, to participate in the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE).

This usually involves reasonable adjustments, such as rest breaks in an exam. Adjustments can vary between subjects and assessments according to students’ needs.

For more information, go the South Australia Government’s SACE website.

Northern Territory Certificate of Education and Training

The Northern Territory Certificate of Education and Training qualification is designed to recognise the knowledge and skills that have been acquired through formal education and training. Students are provided with access to flexible learning arrangements that provide increased opportunities for students to develop business, interpersonal and employment-related skills needed for the future.

For more information, go to the SACE modified subject website.

Ability Based Learning and Education Support

The Ability Based Learning and Education Support tool provides learning readiness reports for levels A-D (towards Foundation) to help teachers track student progress and achievements over time; develop individualised learning planning linked to the curriculum; and write learning goal related educational adjustment plans.

Teachers complete the assessments using the Towards Foundation ABLES Curriculum for students with disability.

For more information, go to the Victoria State Government’s Education and Training website.

The tiered response

This tiered response supports teachers to differentiate for the three main diversity profiles identified by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority.

Teachers use the tiered response to better prepare, plan for and provide sound teaching pedagogy for student learning needs. It focusses on teachers’ responses to learning diversity within their effective classroom practice tier 1 and progresses through increasingly targeted interventions at tiers 2 and 3, which are based on increasing levels of student need.


Teachers use planning for personalised learning resources and adjust the Australian Curriculum using Universal Design for Learning. Planning for personalised learning leads to student success.

For more information, go to the Understood website.

For more information, go the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority website.

The principles underlying personalised learning and support:

Teachers provide and plan appropriately for their students, using best practice pedagogy, promoting wellbeing and a safe learning environment for students.

Teachers make consistent decisions in the quality assurance assessment process and collect evidence to develop and plan appropriate, rigorous and curriculum based learning experiences.

Quality Teaching and Learning and Student Wellbeing and Inclusion staff can provide coaching, support and capacity building for teachers and school staff to ensure students are able to access, participate and engage in their learning.

Teachers and schools can use the national resource to plan. The planning for personalised learning and support provides staff with principles that guide planning and key steps to plan for personalised learning. The resource enables teachers to provide personalised support and enable students’ learning by creating an engaging, high interest, manageable learning environment for students.

There are three key principles that guide this process: collaborative practice and planning; quality teaching and learning; and consultation.

The five key steps in planning for personalised learning provide schools and staff with guidance on how to support students’ individualised learning and consultation processes to develop a strong partnership with families and students.

For more information, go the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority website.

Where to get support

You can get more help and support from:

For more support

For further information on SWAN teaching and learning, email

Last updated: 21 May 2020

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