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Functional needs assessment pilot

Department program

In 2018 we piloted a new functional needs assessment with a sample of schools in south western and south eastern Victoria.

Purpose of the pilot

The functional needs assessment offers a new approach to identifying the strengths, needs and adjustments required for students with disabilities and additional needs. It aims to shift the focus from medical diagnosis to:

  • the functional needs of the students
  • the school environment
  • what the school can put in place to meet these needs.

The pilot aimed to validate and refine the functional needs assessment.

The results of the pilot will give us insight into improving the way students have their needs and adjustments addressed. This will play a major role in making Victorian schools more inclusive of the diverse needs of students with disabilities and additional needs.

Who is involved

The pilot was run across terms 3 and 4. It involved approximately 1000 students from over 100 schools in south western and south eastern Victoria.

The participating schools were chosen based on a representative sample covering a range of school and student characteristics. This included primary, secondary and specialist schools across metropolitan and regional areas.

What happens now

We are evaluating the pilot, collecting feedback from participants to identify the strengths of the assessment approach and the improvements needed.

The findings and recommendations from the evaluation will be considered in 2019, and will inform the Department's future approach to meeting the functional needs of students with a disability.


The pilot is part of our inclusive education agenda, which aims to:

  • strengthen supports for students with disabilities and additional needs
  • encourage the full and active participation of all children and young people in school.

The inclusive education agenda responds to the findings and recommendations of the 2016 review of the Program for Students with Disability and the Special Needs Plan for Victorian Schools.

Disability inclusion

The Victorian Government has launched Disability Inclusion, a new world leading reform package for students with disability in Victorian government schools.

For more information visit Disability Inclusion.


For further information, email

Reviewed 16 March 2022

Department of Education and Training

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