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Homai Blind College Will Become A State School

HOMAI CENTRE TO BE A RESIDENTIAL STATE SPECIAL SCHOOL

New Zealand Government
Education Minister Nick Smith announced today that the Homai Vision Education
Centre in Auckland would become part of the state school network from next July.
Services at the Centre will continue to cater for students nationwide.

"Establishing Homai as a state special school will give blind and vision
impaired students the same security of a state funded education as all other
students in New Zealand. This will enhance the education provided to blind and
vision impaired students throughout the country. I know the parents of children
at Homai will welcome this decision which gives certainty to their children's
future education."

Through Homai, more than 400 students located in Auckland, Northland and Nelson
receive support from itinerant teachers. Since it opened in 1964, Homai has
been funded by the Crown and administered by the Royal New Zealand Foundation
for the Blind.

"The change in status was formally requested by the Foundation for the Blind,
with the support of parents wanting Homai to become a state school. A board of
trustees will be established to govern the school, with representation from the
Foundation. The change is in line with the Special Education 2000 policy and
regularises the status of the school in relation to other special schools."

Fifty-five blind and vision-impaired students now attend the centre, in addition
to six students attending James Cook High School and twenty-two students that
attend the Manurewa High School Resource Room. Thirty students currently live
in the residential accommodation.

"Government is committed to ensuring every young New Zealander has access to a
high standard of education, regardless of disability. This decision will enable
students to complete their schooling at Homai with certainty of the centre's
future and prospective parents to plan for their children's future."



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