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Mixed model for learners with special education needs

Hon Hekia Parata
Minister of Education

27 August 2012 Media Statement
Mixed model for learners with special education needs

Education Minister Hekia Parata has today announced a proposal for a new mixed model of support for learners with special educational needs.

The model would include both community-based services and residential special schools. Two of the country’s four residential special schools would remain open, and the new ‘wrap-around’ tailored service would be expanded. The service will provide individualised support for learners with complex needs in their own communities.

Halswell Residential College in Christchurch and Auckland’s Westbridge Residential School would remain open, but it is proposed that Salisbury Residential School in Nelson and McKenzie Residential School in Christchurch be closed.

The proposal comes after consultation with schools, parents, students and the community which highlighted the importance of residential special schools for some learners and their families.

“I have considered the feedback and propose that Westbridge Residential School in Auckland will provide co-educational services for learners with complex behavioural needs and Halswell Residential College in Christchurch will provide co-educational services for learners that have complex needs associated with intellectual impairment,’’ says Ms Parata.

“The new intensive wrap around service will support learners 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.

“Every learner, affected by this proposal, will have a transition plan developed between the family, residential school, local school and services, and funding will be allocated to ensure that plan is carried out

“Funding gains from closing the two residential schools will be redirected into the intensive wraparound service. The net result will be better support for more learners, and keeping communities together.”

Schools have 28 days to provide feedback on the proposal before a final decision is made.

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