Disability Provisions

Disability provisions for the Higher School Certificate examinations

Disability provisions in the HSC are practical arrangements designed to help students who couldn't otherwise make a fair attempt to show what they know in an exam room.

The provisions granted are solely determined by how the student's exam performance is affected. Provisions may include braille papers, large-print papers, use of a reader and/or writer, extra time or rest breaks.

Applying for disability provisions

Disability provisions application forms and information guides are available at the school for students who intend to sit for the Higher School Certificate examinations.

Students who wish to apply for disability provisions should see the School Learning Support Teacher or Year Adviser. The School Learning Support Teacher will complete the application form. In doing so, they will:

  1. Indicate the provisions for which the student is applying.
  2. Indicate how the disability affects the student's work in the classroom and in examination situations.
  3. Supply evidence of the student's disability.
  4. If the student is unable to obtain an appropriate diagnosis, then other detailed information will need to be submitted to establish the existence of a disability. In this case it is necessary to provide: details as to why the student cannot obtain relevant documenation and diagnosis, a reasonable history of the student's difficulty and needs (including previous and current in-school support), and detailed teacher comments which indicate the impact of the student's condition on their classwork and in examinations..

If all the necessary information is not provided, some requested provisions may be declined due to insufficient evidence.

How does the process work?

Once the Board of Studies has received the application, a letter acknowledging receipt is available to the school. The application is processed at the Board of Studies.

The Board of Studies has a Panel of Specialists that includes medical practitioners, educational psychologists, and consultants for the visually or hearing impaired. The category of the disability and the evidence presented will determine who reviews the file.

When a decision has been made, a decision letter listing the approved and/or declined provisions is provided to the school with a copy for both the principal and the student.

Appeal procedures

Should a student wish to appeal the decision to decline a provision, the appeal must be submitted through the school within 14 days of receiving the disability provisions decision letter. The appeal must state the reason why the decision is considered unacceptable, making reference to the evidence supplied in the original application.

The appeal must include new supportive evidence, such as a further medical report, which clearly states why the student needs the provision, or additional reading, writing or spelling test results.

The Board of Studies will conduct an independent review and a decision will be made within 21 days.

Note to Parents

If you are concerned about whether disability provisions apply for your child, you should contact the School Learning Support Teacher, Year Adviser or Counsellor.

The application form must be submitted by your child's school as it requires specific information about the difficulties your child may experience in a classroom or examination situation. This does not mean, however, that you should not be involved in the application process.

Who can apply for disability provisions?

Any HSC student with a disability recognised in the Commonwealth Disability Standards for Education 2005.

The definition of ‘disability' in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) includes:

  • physical
  • intellectual
  • psychiatric
  • sensory
  • neurological, and
  • learning disabilities, as well as
  • physical disfigurement, and
  • the presence in the body of disease-causing organisms.

(Australian Human Rights Commission).

Note that the disability provisions apply only where the disability is such that a practical arrangement is required to reduce disadvantage in an exam situation.

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 examination.

Students who become ill during an examination period may be eligible to make an illness/misadventure appeal rather than a disability provisions application.