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Final decision on residential special schools announced

Hon Hekia Parata
Minister of Education

31 October 2012

Final decision on residential special schools announced

Education Minister Hekia Parata has today announced her decision to close Salisbury School in Nelson and McKenzie Residential School in Christchurch.

“After carefully considering all the information provided to me, including the responses from the schools, and information provided at my meetings with the Boards of the schools, I have decided to close the two schools.

“At the very heart of this difficult decision lies the opportunity to provide services and support for more children with complex needs in their local community. We can link local services with the remaining residential provision to achieve a more personalised and high quality approach for children and their families.

“I am satisfied that this combination of services will make sufficient provision for all children with special education needs both locally and nationally,” says Ms Parata.

"I would like to thank the Boards of both schools and the staff for their contribution to the support and education of these students over many years.

The Intensive Wraparound Service will be extended to support students with complex needs to remain in their community and attend their local school. The service will be based in every region with a trained facilitator, usually a psychologist.

“Responses to the consultation supported the concept of an intensive wraparound service but were adamant that there was a need to retain residential option as part of the continuum of services for these students.

“Westbridge Residential School in Auckland and Halswell Residential School in Christchurch will remain open and be able to care for 100 students, this is 15 less provided nationally (across all four schools) than when the review was initiated on 26 April.

“Funding from closing the two residential schools will be redirected into the Intensive Wraparound Service. The net result will be better support for more students and keeping communities together.

Ms Parata announced her preliminary decision to close Salisbury School and McKenzie Residential School in August. Both schools had 28 days to respond to the preliminary decision and did so within the required time frame.

“Our priority now is to ensure that every student currently enrolled in one of the schools closing has an individualised transition plan developed with them, their parents or caregivers, the residential school and their local school. That plan could be to support the student returning home and going to their local school with the wrap around service or to transfer to one of the residential special schools staying open.’’

The closures will be gazetted shortly to take effect on January 27, 2013.

ENDS

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