When Education at School is not a suitable option

Education and Training Act 2020 – Section 34

All students, including students with learning support needs and disabilities, have the right to attend school for all of the hours that the school is open for instruction.

The Education and Training Act 2020: Section 34 — NZ Legislation website

Te Kahu Tōī, IWS (Intensive Wraparound Service)

A support programme for young people aged 5-14 years who:

  • have behaviour, social and/or learning needs that are highly complex and challenging
    (and may have associated intellectual difficulty), and
  • require support at school, at home and in the community.

SHHNF (School High Health Needs Fund)

Provides teacher aide support for 6 weeks or more if your child has a serious medical condition and needs help to attend school or kura safely. The Ministry’s Learning Support Team will work with you to plan the support your child needs.

Regional health schools – Northern, Central Southern

For students (years 0-13) with significant health needs who can’t attend their local school because they:

  • are in hospital, recovering at home or gradually returning to school
  • are chronically ill and can’t attend their school for long periods
  • have a psychiatric illness and live in a health-funded institution
  • need support as they return to their school after a lengthy absence due to medical intervention.


Te Aho O Te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura)

State funded distance education provider that offers a wide range of personalised learning programmes and courses, from early childhood to NCEA Level 3. Courses are mostly delivered online.

Te Kura individualises learning support to accommodate how a person learns and where they want to learn.



Alternative Education

Educational and pastoral support for students who have disengaged from mainstream schooling.

As a short term intervention, alternative education re-engages students in a meaningful learning programme based on individual needs. It supports transition back to mainstream school, further education, training or employment.


Residential specialist schools (RSS) and Day Specialist Schools

Specialist schools support high needs students, either in day schools or residential schools across New Zealand.

Residential specialist schools are for students with educational needs relating to: vision, hearing, and socialisation, behaviour and learning.

The schools for students who have socialisation, behaviour and learning needs require the student to be:

  • aged from 8-15 (Year 3-10)
  • have social, behaviour and/or learning needs that are highly complex and challenging.

These needs impact in home, school and community settings. Local learning support services have already been accessed and are unable to meet needs.

Schools for students who are blind or have low vision

Blind and Low Vision Education Network New Zealand (BLENNZ) runs a national network with resource centres across the country. It also provides residential placements at Homai College.

Schools for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

Ko Taku Reo Deaf Education New Zealand provides support for these students in their local schools through their Resource Teachers’ Deaf Service. They have residential options, early childhood support and resource centres.

Day specialist schools provide specialist teaching and specialist services for children who have high needs.

Many specialist schools have satellite classes on site at regular schools. Some specialist schools also offer an itinerant teaching service.

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