Students with Disabilities

Opportunities for students with disabilities in the representative school sport pathway.

Today the first introduction to organised physical activity and sport for increasing numbers of children is at school. This situation is more so for students with disabilities. The information below explains the opportunities that currently exist for students with disabilities to participate in the representative school sport pathway.

The representative school sport pathway allows students to progress from school, zone, diocesan, state, national and international competitions commensurate with their ability. This pathway is open to 8 - 19 year olds and students with disabilities can access the following sports within this pathway - athletics, cross country running and swimming. Rowing and sailing are also available for secondary school students.

Teachers and parents should be aware students cannot participate in the representative school sport pathway without a classification.

Not all disabilities are recognised in the sport classification system. Only students with 'sport classifiable' disabilities are eligible to participate and progress along the pathway in Multi Class events at the various zone, region, state and national championships. Once a student with disabilities is classified this classification can be used in community based sporting opportunities.

Students and parents should contact their school sport organiser to discuss their participation in the representative school sport pathway and identify processes to access the zone and regional championships.

What is Classification?

Sporting classifications, group students (athletes) with like disabilities together enabling Multi Class competitions to occur.

The sporting classification system is managed by the International Paralympic Committee who delegates this responsibility to national sporting associations across those sports that have Paralympic / Deaf Olympic pathways. For the sports of athletics, cross country running and swimming - Athletics Australia and Swimming Australia have been delegated this responsibility respectively with oversight by the Australian Paralympic Committee.

The table below shows a summary of the disabilities existing within the the sporting classifications:

Disability Athletics Swimming
Hearing T/F01
Vision T/F11, T/F12, T/F13
S11, S12, S13
Intellectual T/F20  S14 
Physical  T/F32 - 56  S1 - 10 
Transplant T/F60 S16 

Note: Not all disabilities fall within the sporting classification system e.g. Autism. Students (athletes) with Autism, participation is only permitted if another sporting classification can be achieved.

How do I get Classified?

Teachers and parents should be aware students cannot participate in the representative school sport pathway without a classification.

At zone, region and state championships in athletics, cross country and swimming, students must have at least a provisional classification and to participate at national championships - full national classification is needed.

Classification is handled by Athletics NSW and Swimming NSW in conjunction with their respective national sporting associations.

For details on the different classification requirements, levels, how and when to obtain classification view the links below.

What are Multi Class events?

Multi Class events are a form of competition designed specifically for students (athletes) with disabilities. Multi Class events exist with some minor modifications to the rules and regulations, where necessary.

To compete in Multi Class events, students must have an eligible classification. Multi Class events see students with a range of disabilities, from multiple classification groups competing in the same race. Students race against the world record time in that event for the classification. The winner of the race is not always the student (athlete) who touches the wall first, throws or jumps the furthest or crosses the line first, but the student (athlete) who posts the time / distance closest to the world record for that classification. This allows for a meaningful competition.