Special schools

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

Day schools

Day special schools can provide specialist teaching and specialist services to your child if they have high needs. As well as a base school, many special schools have satellite classes on site at regular schools, where your child can receive specialist teaching and have the opportunity to integrate in a regular school environment.

Some special schools also offer an itinerant teaching service, so that your child can be enrolled at their local school in a regular classroom but get specialist teaching from the special school.

Can my child attend a day special school, and how do I apply?

There are 28 day special schools in New Zealand for students in years 1 to 13 who have high needs. High needs means that they may need to have the curriculum adapted for them, and may need support from specialist staff, additional teaching time and teacher's aide support. Your child can attend day special schools until they are 21 years old.

Contact the school in your region directly to see if your child can go.

Contact information for day special schools

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Residential schools

Residential special schools can support your child if they are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, have low vision, or have severe behaviour needs, or have educational, social and emotional needs together with a slow rate of learning.

Can my child attend a residential special school, and how do I apply?

This support is available when your child has high needs and their local school setting doesn't meet their needs. The information below includes the age range or school years that each school caters for.

To apply contact your local Ministry special education team.

Centres for children who are deaf or hard of hearing

These centres can provide education programmes and specialist services if your child is deaf or hard of hearing. They also employ Resource Teachers: Deaf to support deaf and hard of hearing students in mainstream schools. They both have residential schools, specialist early childhood education services, and resource centres that can cater for children aged 2 to 21 years old.

Kelston Deaf Education Centre, Auckland
Supports students in the top half of the North Island.

Van Asch Deaf Education Centre, Christchurch
Supports students throughout the South Island and the lower half of the North Island.

School for children who are blind and have low vision

Blind and Low Vision Education Network New Zealand (BLENNZ) provides a variety of educational options both on campus and at local mainstream schools for children and young adults, aged 5 to 21 years old, who are blind or have low vision. Long-term residential placements and limited short-term booster placements are available for your child if they're from the Auckland area and need a residential programme to support their learning outcomes. 

There's an early childhood education centre on the BLENNZ Homai Campus in Manurewa in Auckland for children aged 0 to 6 who are blind, deafblind or who have low vision.

BLENNZ also provide assessment services for blind and low vision students throughout New Zealand.

Blind and Low Vision Education Network New Zealand (BLENNZ)

Schools specialising in educational, social and emotional needs, together with an underlying intellectual impairment

These schools provide special education in a residential setting for students in years 7 to 10 who need a significantly adapted curriculum because they have to a slow rate of learning combined with educational, social, emotional or behaviour needs.

Your child may have the option for a residential placement as part of their Individual Plan if they are receiving an Intensive Wraparound Service.

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