ANZASW Media Release
10th August 2016
“ANZASW urges the Minister of Education Hekia Parata to reverse her decision to close the Nelson Salisbury School for Girls.
Salisbury School provides specialist residential education for girls with Intellectual disability and complex educational needs.
The Minister clams that her Ministry’s Intensive Wraparound Service (IWS) is so successful that there is no longer a need for this specialist school. Those opposing the closure argue that the IWS is limited to children with challenging behaviour, or conduct disorder. The children accessing the IWS service are mainly boys, and not all have intellectual disability.
Girls with Intellectual disability are typically less likely to be disruptive in the classroom than their male peers. They may still have complex educational needs, and respond well to a safe 24/7 environment where they learn appropriate behaviour and life skills.
Parents point out that while the IWS includes advice and guidance from a range of professionals, the hard work of teaching behaviour change is left to the parents. Care of a teenager with Intellectual disability, who struggles to fit in at school, can be exhausting for families. Social workers see the detrimental impact of this on parents and on the siblings.
While their daughter is at Salisbury School parents have time to attend to their other children and to their marriage. The girl receives focussed educational support which enhances her life journey and may well reduce the need for funded support in the future.
ANZASW urges the Minister to review access criteria for Salisbury School so that more girls may access it. This would demonstrate a real commitment to the education and well-being of some our most vulnerable children, girls with intellectual disability.”