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School Beckons For Sick Kids Too

School Beckons For Sick Kids Too - Wellington

In their case, they’ll be having lessons at home or in hospital with teachers from the Central Regional Health School.

Over 360 students were admitted to the School in 2004, including 164 students from the Wellington region.

The Telecom-sponsored school is responsible for ensuring sick children throughout the lower North Island continue learning when they are unable to attend their usual school for an extended period.

Principal Ken McIntosh says the school already has 60 students on its roll for the start of the 2005 school year.

“Our students have a range of medical conditions and most spend about six weeks on our roll.

“We’re probably the only school which is pleased to have a low school roll, however, because it ultimately means fewer sick children.”

The school has 12 teachers based throughout the lower North Island. They spend about two-thirds of their time teaching in children’s homes, as well as teaching children in hospital.

As part of its sponsorship of Health Schools, Telecom provides teachers with laptops and wireless networking cards so the laptops can be used as mobile teaching tools.

Mr McIntosh says this technology is invaluable, particularly as the School ’s teachers travel about 135,000 kms each year to teach students in the community.

“Telecom’s technology gives our teachers the ability to provide students with access to online resources, whether they’re in a hospital bed or at home, and transfer school work between the student, our teachers and their regular school.

“The technology also helps teachers to engage and motivate students, and keep students in touch with classmates at their usual school,” he said.

Mr McIntosh says students respond extremely well to the Health School system.

“Because each student’s educational and health needs are different, our teachers develop an education plan in consultation with the student, their regular school teacher, parents and medical practitioner.

“Students often benefit from this approach because they can work one-to-one with a teacher and focus on their specific learning needs,” he said.

Telecom customers can help the Central Regional Health School obtain additional computer technology and equipment simply by calling 123 and nominating to sponsor the school through Telecom’s School Connection programme. Telecom distributes $10 million to New Zealand schools and Early Learning Centres through the programme every year.

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