Do you have a Year 12 student who has additional health or learning needs?
Practical support is available to give all kids a fair chance of success in their Higher School Certificate (HSC) examinations.
Practical support that ‘evens-up’ the HSC playing field
In the HSC, a special program called Provisions helps students overcome obstacles that affect their chances of competing fairly in an HSC exam room.
Provisions may include braille papers, large-print papers, use of a reader and/or writer, extra time or rest breaks.
In order to receive Provisions, a student must provide the Board of Studies with independent, clinical evidence that demonstrates that they meet the criteria for special exam consideration.
They must also follow a strict time frame for the submission of applications…so if you have a child who might be eligible for Provisions, it’s important to get your timing right!
Read below for a summary of the program and its requirements….
Types of Provisions
More than 5000 HSC students apply for Provisions each year.
Your HSC student may need provisions because he or she struggles with:
- a permanent condition, such as diabetes or reading difficulty
- a temporary condition, such as a broken arm, or
- an intermittent condition, such as back pain when sitting for long periods.
How to apply for Provisions
Parents and students cannot apply directly to the Board of Studies for Provisions.
Applications are processed by your child’s school, which submits an online application on your child’s behalf to the Board of Studies.
This application tells the Board of Studies which Provisions your child is requesting and includes recent evidence.
The evidence that you provide must indicate how your child’s health, developmental difficulty or disability affects his or her work in the classroom and in exam situations.
Evidence may include independent medical or allied health assessment reports from professionals like:
- Occupational Therapists
- Speech Pathologists
It will be your responsibility to ensure that these assessments are completed by independent specialists and that your child’s school is provided with the documentation required for the Provisions application.
What if your child has no diagnosis?
If your child doesn’t have an appropriate diagnosis, you will need to submit other detailed information to establish the existence of a disability.
In this case, you’ll need to provide:
- details about why your child cannot obtain relevant documentation and diagnosis
- a reasonable history of your child’s difficulty and needs (including previous and current in-school support),
- detailed teacher comments which indicate the impact of the student’s condition on their classwork and in examinations.
When to apply for Provisions
Applications for Provisions need to be submitted by your child’s school to the Board of Studies by the last day of Term 1 in Year 12.
Applications based on chronic fatigue syndrome, post-viral syndrome, Ross River fever or glandular fever need to be submitted in July of the examination year, with teacher comments and medical documentation, also dated in July.
If all the necessary information is not provided, the Board of Studies may decline some requested Provisions due to insufficient evidence.
Late applications are accepted for an emergency, such as a broken arm, until the time of the HSC examinations.
How does the process work?
The Board of Studies uses a Panel of Specialists to assess applications.
This panel may include doctors, educational psychologists, and consultants for the visually or hearing impaired. (The category of the disability and the evidence presented will determine who reviews the application.)
When a decision has been made, a decision letter listing the approved and/or declined Provisions is published through the Board of Studies website Schools Online.
A copy is also sent to the principal of your child’s school and to your child.
If your child’s application for Provisions is declined, you may appeal the decision.
The appeal must be submitted by your child’s school within 14 days of receiving the Disability Provisions decision letter.
Your appeal must state the reason you consider the decision to be unacceptable, and make reference to the evidence supplied in your child’s original application.
The appeal must also include new evidence that supports your child’s request, such as an additional medical report, reading, writing or spelling test results, which clearly state why your child needs the Provision.
The Board of Studies will conduct an independent review and a decision will be made within 21 days. The outcome of the appeal will be advised to the school and to your child via Schools Online.
If your HSC student has a disability recognised in the Commonwealth Disability Standards for Education 2005, he or she can apply for Disability Provisions to assist them during HSC exams.
The definition of ‘disability’ in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) includes:
- neurological, and
- learning disabilities, as well as
- physical disfigurement, and
- the presence in the body of disease-causing organisms.
Disability Provisions will only apply to your child if alternate exam arrangements are needed in order to reduce disadvantage.
Disability Provisions also apply to temporary and emergency-related disabilities. A typical example of an ‘emergency’ is where a student breaks their writing arm a week before an HSC exam.
If you are concerned about whether your child is eligible to apply for Disability Provisions, contact your child’s Year Adviser or School Counsellor.
Could your child be eligible for Provisions?
Kids First Children’s Services in Sydney’s northern beaches provides independent assessments that can be used to support Provisions applications.
Contact us to talk about your child’s needs with one of our Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists or Psychologists on 9938 5419.
Reference; NSW Board of Studies Schools Guide to Disability Provisions