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1. What is the Preschool Disability Support Program (PDSP)?

The PDSP is funded by the NSW Department of Education and is administered by a program manager on the Department’s behalf. The PDSP replaces the Supporting Children with Additional Needs (SCAN) program and the preschool component of the Intervention Support program (ISP).

The PDSP comprises four key elements:

The Universal Disability Loading

The new Universal Disability Loading provides funding to all preschools to support the educational inclusion of children with disability. The loading will be paid annually, and recognises the widespread prevalence of disability and assists preschools to meet their educational obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and Disability Standards for Education 2005. The disability loading must be used to support the inclusion of children with disability or additional needs.

Child-focused targeted support

Child-focused targeted support provides funding to assist community preschools support individual children with disability or additional needs. These children will have moderate to high needs in relation to learning or the support that enables them to participate and engage in the learning environment, and funding will assist in achieving equitable education outcomes. Funding is application based, and applications are managed and assessed by Northcott using these guidelines. The amount of funding is based on the child’s level of educational need and there are three funding levels. Funding is provided to support access for up to 15 hours a week or 600 hours per year per child.

For further information about targeted support, refer to section 7 of the PDSP guidelines.

Support for preschools

Northcott will provide telephone and online support for metropolitan, regional and remote community preschools. This will include advice on applications, funding and how to access support, training and resources to help preschools improve educational outcomes for children with disability. The focus of the training program in subsequent years will be dependent on the identified learning needs of the sector and feedback received throughout the year.

Scholarships for post-graduate study

Scholarships for post graduate study in Special Education will strengthen the capacity of the preschool workforce. Up to 20 scholarships will be available each year and will cover the full cost of a Graduate Certificate or Master's program at an approved university. Priority access will be given to applicants in rural and remote NSW, and indigenous applicants.

2. Is my child eligible?

For your community preschool to get PDSP funding, your child must be at least three years old on 31 July and have one of the following disabilities or additional needs:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Behaviour and social/emotional disability (severe)
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Developmental delay
  • Intellectual impairment
  • Multiple disabilities
  • Physical impairment
  • Hearing impairment
  • Vision impairment
  • Speech/language (moderate and severe)

The additional need might need to be assessed by a preschool teacher, a doctor, or a medical specialist.

3. How is the level of funding determined?

To determine the need for funding, preschools will:

  • Observe the child while engaged in learning activities in an early childhood education setting
  • Work with the child’s family to understand the child’s specific additional needs
  • Gather information with parental permission from other support agencies working with the child and their family.

 As part of the application for targeted funding, the preschool will set out how the individual child’s educational needs can be met, and what adjustments are required to enable the child’s access to, and participation in, the educational program.

4. What does my child’s preschool have to do to apply for funding?

Preschool staff need to talk with parents and agree on a plan to include their child in the program.

Parents may be asked to sign a form acknowledging that this conversation has taken place and give consent to send a child’s details on for assessment.

In some cases, parents might need a diagnosis from a medical specialist.

5. What can preschools spend the money on?

Preschools must use the PDSP funding to support children with a disability to improve participation in education. Preschools can spend funding on more staff, professional development; specialised advice or support, purchase or hire of special equipment, or minor changes to buildings to help include children with a disability.

6. What can targeted funding be used for?

Targeted support funding can be used for:

  • Additional staff
  • Professional development, including course costs related to the education inclusion of children with additional needs
  • Specialist advice and support
  • Purchase or hire of equipment that is necessary for educational purposes (excluding medical equipment)

7. How will I know that the preschool has spent the funding on my child?

The preschool will have to report that they have spent the funding on the child’s educational outcomes. The program manager will also conduct audits to make sure that preschools are following the guidelines.

8. When can preschools apply for PDSP funding?

The portal will re-open for Child-Focused Targeted Support application submissions on Wednesday 26th April - Wednesday 24th May 2017. This is the second and final round for 2017 preschool child enrolments.

The child–focused targeted support funding will be paid in week 2 of Term 1 and week 2 of Term 3, 2017. The 2017 Universal Disability Loading will be paid to preschools automatically on an annual basis.

Preschools do not have to apply to receive the Universal Disability Loading.

9. How can preschools apply for child-focused targeted support?

Preschools can register via the PDSP portal. Simply click on the “register” button located in the top right hand corner of the portal home page. Once you have registered, you can login to the PDSP Portal to commence your application.

10. Where or how do I find the child focused targeted support application forms?

The online application forms are available through the PDSP Portal. In order to access the forms, you will need to register first in the PDSP Portal.

11. How do I access the PDSP Portal?

To access the PDSP Portal, head to https://pdsp.northcott.com.au.

12. What is a Preschool Service Approval Number?

Your Preschool Service Approval Number is one of the pieces of information we use to verify that you are a preschool that is eligible to receive funding under the PDSP. You can find this number through your Early Childhood Contract Management System (ECCMS) account, or you will also see it listed on your certificate of registration which has been issued to you by the Department of Education (DoE). Each preschool has a unique Preschool Service Approval Number.

13. What is a Provider Approval Number?

Your Provider Approval Number is another piece of information we use to verify that you are a preschool that is eligible to receive funding under the PDSP. You can only find this number through your Early Childhood Contract Management System (ECCMS) account. A Provider Number is a number assigned to a whole organisation, so if you work for an organisation that has multiple preschools then all of those preschools will share the same Provider Number but each will have their own Preschool Service Approval Number.

14. I am unable to find my Preschool Service Approval Number

You can find this number through your Early Childhood Contract Management System (ECCMS) account, you will also see it listed on your certificate of registration which has been issues to you by the Department of Education (DoE). Each preschool has a unique Preschool Service Approval Number. If you are having difficulty using the Early Childhood Contract Management System (ECCMS), please contact the Department of Education on 1300 755 426.

15. I am unable to Register with the correct ABN and Approval Numbers

Please call us on 1800 455 522. We will confirm your details with you to ensure you are an eligible service and work out what needs to be done to get you onto the system.

16. Why has the PDSP been developed?

The PDSP has been developed following recommendations made in the Review of NSW Government Funding for Early Childhood Education by Professor Deborah Brennan. Further research has been gathered from SCAN brokers and 176 preschools, as well as a comprehensive review of the literature about placing children with a disability in inclusive early childhood education settings. Read the summary of the work by Deloitte Access Economics (DeloitteAccessEconomicsSummaryReport.pdf) and the literature review produced by the Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation.(LiteratureReview-PDSP.pdf)

17. Which services can get PDSP funding?

The PDSP is a specific program for community preschools in NSW. To be eligible for this program, a provider must receive funding under the NSW Government Preschool Grants Program.

For long day care and early intervention services, the Department’s Intervention Support Program continues to operate and is unchanged.

18. How to apply for Universal Disibility Loading

The Universal Disability Loading is an automatic payment made to preschools by the Department of Education (DoE). You don’t need to apply for this. The DoE will allocate funds to you based on your prior year’s preschool census data.

19. Who is the PDSP program manager?

DoE has appointed Northcott as the PDSP program manager.

Northcott will administer the PDSP on behalf of DoE.

To access support and discuss the PDSP, preschools can contact Northcott by phone or by email: 1800 455 522 or pdsp@northcott.com.au

20. What support will preschools get?

Northcott will provide telephone and online support for all preschools. This will include advice on applications, available funding, and how to access support, training and resources to help preschools improve educational outcomes for children with a disability or additional needs.

Northcott will also conduct an annual state-wide training program, which will initially assist preschools transition to the PDSP. In subsequent years, the training program will be developed and refined based on the identified learning needs of preschools and any feedback received.

21. What reporting will be required?

Preschools that receive PDSP funding will need to report twice per year, stating that each funded child has an Individual Learning Plan, and whether previously agreed educational objectives have been met. Preschools receiving funding must submit an annual report certifying that funds have been spent in accordance with the program guidelines.

The PDSP program manager will also conduct an annual audit program to ensure that preschools are following the guidelines for funding.

22. What is an Individual Learning Plan?

An Individual Learning Plan (ILP) is a document that sets out the agreed educational objectives for a child with a disability, and how these objectives will be achieved. The ILP should be developed in consultation with the child’s family, so that everyone understands how the child will be included in the preschool program. All children receiving PDSP funding must have an ILP in place, and this must be reviewed twice per year. ILPs do not have to be long or complicated documents. Often, one or two pages that clearly set out a few simple objectives will be appropriate.

23. How will the Intervention Support Program be affected?

The Department’s Intervention Support Program (ISP) will continue to be available for a range of education providers across NSW.

Community preschools now have a dedicated funding program through the PDSP and can no longer apply for ISP support.