At Biala Special School we empower students with complex learning disabilities to recognise and optimise their full potential. We celebrate diversity and strive to instil respect, independence and self confidence in every one of our students. We give each child support and encouragement to become his or her own unique self.

The Biala Special School has been operating since 1969, offering independent Special Education for children aged 4 – 18 years.

Biala is a small independent school providing services for people living with intellectually and physical disability, including autism, down syndrome and cerebral palsy.

Our school is located in Ballina, and provides a range of specialist services for students from 4 years through to transition beyond school. The school encompasses the Brunswick Heads, Mullumbimby, Byron Bay, Lismore, Woodburn and Ballina areas.

Our curriculum skilfully weaves academic knowledge, community access and life skills into everyday learning activities. Students are encouraged to follow their curiosity and given the opportunity to pursue their own interests. They learn to work both independently and cooperatively with others.


All students within each classroom work on Individual Educational Programs known as IEPs. They also combine for daily activities such as morning assembly, weekly sport including Bowling and swimming at Ballina Pool. Activities such as hydrotherapy, shopping, cooking, library visits and horse riding are additional weekly activities. These activities are integrated with the Literacy and Numeracy Key Learning Areas and also incorporate into other Key Learning Areas such as HSIE, PDHPE, Science, Art and Music.
Our three classrooms are based on age, needs and ability:

Green Room

Our Green room has the highest need, non-verbal students. This room revolves around learning basic communication skills with the help of speech therapy, strengthening mind and body through Occupational Therapy and Physio exercises. We also focus on sensory, social skills, fun and enjoyment through daily morning circles, music, art and games.

Purple Room

Our Purple room works predominantly on communication and Language development as well as the K-6 Primary curriculum. The students in this room have varying disabilities and language and communication skills.

Blue Room

Our Blue room consists only of high school students and works with the Years 7-10 Life Skills Curriculum. This room has a range of learning needs and comprehension and all students work on quite considerably varied educational programs. Older students are involved in work experience and a transition program with local employment agencies and Community Participation groups.

We work closely with parents and carers to design and implement an ‘Individual Education Plan’ for their child. Biala Special School works collaboratively with therapists and support personnel to enhance and maximise the outcomes in the Individual Education Plan.

Our teachers teach a modified curriculum that matches the needs and capabilities of our students to provide the best opportunities for all students to succeed and progress. Learning tasks are structured to promote academic skills in ways that are engaging, relevant to the students, adaptable to a pupil’s individual learning style and just plain fun to do.


Our students participate in a range of regular activities throughout the week, as well as occasional excursions and outings into the community.
Regular activities include:

The main focus on shopping is on money handling, budgeting and independent shopping skills. The group decide what they would like to cook, how much money is needed, write out a shopping ingredients list and find the ingredients in the store.

Based on items purchased on the shopping trip and from the school vegetable and herb garden, our cooking class learn about hygiene, food handling and independent cooking skills such as cutting, stirring, baking etc.

Riding for the Disabled is a volunteer organisation providing equine assisted activities for people with disabilities to develop and enhance abilities. The lessons are tailored for each participant according to their ability. The programme incorporates therapeutic, educational and recreational aspects.

Each week the students visit the library and are able to independently borrow some books, music CDs or DVDs. These visits encourage appropriate behaviour in the community and offers access to different services and places. This activity also encourages independence and communication with others, for example communicating with the librarians about borrowing books.

It is very important to know what options are available to students and their families when they graduate and leave school. There are some big decisions and choices that have to be made and it can be a daunting time for families. Biala Special School understands this and work towards easing some of the uncertainties by informing parents and beginning an early transitioning program for the older students.

Swimming is a popular activity for most of our students and encourages fitness and physical strength, relaxation, fun and muscular therapy. This activity is also a part of our ‘community access program’ where students are encouraged to behave appropriately when out in the community and around others.

These include physical exercise, team sports and skills, yoga, strengthening and balance, bike riding, Zumba and obstacle courses which encourage fundamental skills such as jumping, throwing, skipping, crawling etc. We also access Ten Pin Bowling at the local bowling alley.

These programs are run in our sensory room and school therapeutic sensory garden, as as as advised by and consulted with Occupational therapists and teaching staff. These programs are designed to enhance sensory stimulation which promote calmness, mental alertness and less anxiety.

All students have access to a range of therapy support while at school through their NDIS plan. This includes Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Speech Therapy, Physio Therapy, Occupational Therapy behaviour Support Therapy.

Over the years, Biala Special School has built good networks with other local NDIS service providers in the Ballina, Lismore, Byron Bay and Casino areas to ensure the best support for our students.

Our older students have access to work experience with local employers in a supportive environment. In the last year of schooling our student’s begin developing their transition plan. This becomes part of the student’s weekly school program and is supported by our teaching staff.


Biala Support Services provides services for both children and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities. Biala has under its guidance the following branches:

Disability Services

In providing support to people with a disability we form a partnership with key people to ensure a service is tailored to the needs of the individual.


Biala Getaways is a fantastic program where participants have the opportunity to go away on a holiday. Holidays can be as short as an overnight stay to a 7 night stay.


Would you like to show your support to adults and children with a disability? Get in touch with Biala Support Services.