Obligation to consult
Education providers must consult in order to understand a student’s disability and to work out if any adjustments or changes are needed to assist the student. An education provider should firstly consult and get ideas from the student themselves if the student is capable of providing that information. If further information is required or there is some reason that makes consultation with the student impossible the education provider may talk to important associates, such as family members, treating practioners, expert medical personnel or carers.
When an education provider and a student with disability consult, they should try to ensure they can come to some understanding about the following:
- What are the challenges, needs or barriers for the student? It is sometimes helpful if the student can provide medical and therapist reports that help to explain their disability and what adjustments are needed.
- Find out how these barriers or difficulties are overcome. In other words, what adjustments could the education provider make to support the student?
- Discuss all the different ways the student could receive the support they need and then work out what works best for the student and the provider.
- Ask the education provider to provide you with a letter/email about what was discussed when you were consulting and what decisions were made. Ask the education provider to give you a specific date when they will notify you about what adjustments will or will not be made. An Individual Education Plan setting out exactly what supports you will receive is a good way to ensure a student and an educational provider are both clear on what will happen.
The Education Standards do not explain exactly what ‘consult’ means, but they do give some suggestions
For example thorough consultation might also include:
- Regular meetings to make sure all is going well and the supports being provided are still appropriate and needed. Records should be kept of these meetings
- Professional reports about the needs and supports that can help a student. This might include having an occupational therapist to assess types of furniture and equipment that can best help a student with a physical disability. It might also include psychological reports to help design good learning strategies for students who might have learning difficulties.
The obligation to consult continues for the whole time that the student is involved with the education provider – from enrolment to receiving recognition that they have completed the program.
If a person is in doubt it’s always good to seek advice. Contact one of the agencies that are listed on this website if assistance is required.