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Homai Centre To Be A Residential State Special Sch

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."

ENDS


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