All About... School Allied Health Services

ACT public schools provide support for students in many ways, to help them engage with their studies and school life. One important component are the professionals who are part of the Allied Health Services. The Education Directorate explain about this important team.

What is the Allied Health Service in Student Engagement?

The Allied Health Service (AHS) is a team of allied health professionals and assistants who provide their specialised knowledge, skills and expertise to work with schools to support students to access and engage in education. The AHS provides direct and indirect support to individuals, groups of students, cohorts and the school community through the provision of advice, consultation, specialised expertise, assessment and intervention.

Who is in the Allied Health Service team?

The team includes Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Speech Language Pathologists, Social Workers, Senior Psychologists and Allied Health Assistants.

Is the Allied Health Service the same as the Network Student Engagement Team?

Allied health professionals have been delivering services to ACT public schools for several years. Previously, they did this as part of the Network Student Engagement Team (NSET). In response to the needs of schools, NSET was reviewed and specialist teachers redistributed to support schools. The NSET allied health professional teams were incorporated into the Clinical practice team, alongside the School Psychology Service.

Who can access the Allied Health Service?

AHS can only be accessed at a school’s request, through internal referral pathways.

What services does the AHS provide?

The AHS offers a suite of multidisciplinary and profession-specific services. These may target the whole school, a class or an individual student. Services offered range from advice to specific tailored interventions which assist with student learning, wellbeing and engagement.  

In collaboration with schools, and based on their request for support, services may include:

  • building the capability of others, including teachers, support staff, parents and carers
  • contributing to the development of school-wide student wellbeing and engagement policies, processes and programs
  • providing therapy, counselling and/or intervention with individual students or student groups.

AHS staff may deliver services in a variety of ways depending on the method most appropriate to the concern and particular circumstances. These may include:

  • consulting with staff or parents
  • providing professional learning (for example a presentation or workshop to teachers or parents)
  • working with a group or individual student
  • working with parents/carers
  • ·coaching or advising teachers and other school staff.

What parent/carer consent is required?

If the school wishes to discuss the needs of an individual student with the AHS, parents/carers will be approached to provide consent to share their child’s personal information with the team.  Informed consent will then be sought from parents/carers prior to allied health professionals becoming further engaged with an individual student.  

 See also: All about... School Psychologists

This article appeared in ParentACTion Magazine, Term 3, 2022.

Thanks to the ACT Education Directorate for supplying this explainer.