Services and support

The support that's available to your child depends on their age, their learning support needs, and how many other children in their area need learning support.

Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS)

The Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS) provides support for children with the highest level of need to help them join in and learn alongside other children at school or kura. ORS provides an additional teacher or a teacher's aide, support from specialists, and funding for small items your child might need. Your child's school or kura will work with you and the Ministry's learning support team to decide on the amount of support your child gets - this support may change from year to year. 

High or very high needs is defined as: when your child has extreme or severe difficulty with learning, speaking, communicating socially, hearing, seeing or moving about. For example, your child may have a severe physical disability, or rely totally on sign language to communicate. However, the amount of support your child needs to learn alongside others will be greater for very high needs than high needs. 

Can my child get this support, and what does it cost?

If your child has high or very high needs it's likely they'll be eligible for the ORS. The special education needs co-ordinator (SENCO), teacher or kaiako will apply to the Ministry's special education team. 

If your child's application is successful then ORS is government funded and free.

For an overview of the ORS and how you apply read our Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS) info sheet [PDF, 393 KB]

To find out what happens when your child has been accepted for ORS read Welcome to the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS) [PDF, 1.6 MB].

What if my child doesn't qualify for the ORS?

If your child's needs are not high enough to qualify, talk with your child's teacher or kaiako, or the Ministry's learning support team about other support options. You may be able to get support through the school or kura's Special Education Grant, or the school or kura may refer you to a resource teacher. You may also get support from other learning support specialists.

Physical Disability Service

Provides physiotherapists and occupational therapists to work with your child at school or kura so they can participate and learn alongside their peers. You and your child's school or kura will need to apply and a therapist will assess your child's needs. They'll observe your child at school or kura and talk to their teachers or kaiako, you and other family and whānau, and any other specialist teachers or therapists that your child is working with. 

Therapists may give ideas on how to make sure your child is included in all class activities, and also talk to the school or kura about changes that might be made to classrooms and other parts of the building to make it easier for your child to get around. The therapists will plan a programme with strategies to fit with your child's needs. They may develop a service agreement that outlines the goals and priorities, resources, timeframes and responsibilities of everyone involved. 

Can my child get this support, and what does it cost?

To receive support from this service your child is likely to have difficulty moving around the classroom and school or kura, taking part in learning activities (for example, using technology or holding a pen), or managing tasks like changing their clothes or eating meals. 

If your child has a severe physical disability or more than one disability it might be better to apply for support from the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS). Talk to your child's teacher or kaiako and health and education specialists about this.

The service is government funded and free.

To find out more read our Physical Disability Service info sheet [PDF, 232 KB].

Your child's therapist or school or kura can refer your child to this service - they'll need to know if your child is already receiving health or ACC support if the disability is due to an accident.

School High Health Needs Fund (SHHNF) and regional health schools

SHHNF provides teacher's 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 provide teachers to teach your child at home or in hospital if they are too sick to go to school. Your child will stay on the roll of their usual school while they're receiving this support. Health school teachers might visit every day or once or twice a week depending on your child's age and education needs.

The teacher's focus is the school curriculum rather than your child's health or social needs. Health schools are located in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and they cater to students living all over the country including remote country areas. 

If may be that your child is supported by both services at different times.

Can my child get this support, and what does it cost?

Either a special education needs co-ordinator (SENCO) or your child's teacher or kaiako will apply on your behalf for the SHHNF. They'll need up-to-date medical information from your child's medical specialist.

Regional health school support is available to students in years 0 to 13, and you can get this on top of any other learning support. Anyone can make a referral to a regional health school - talk to your child's teacher, kaiako or principal, or their nurse if they are in hospital.

These services are government funded and free.

To find out what is covered by these services, read our School High Health Fund and regional health schools information sheet [PDF, 734 KB] 

Or contact the regional health school office in your area:

Northern Health School(external link)

Central Regional Health School(external link)

Southern regional Health School(external link)

Severe Behaviour Service

This is a team of specialists who schools and kura can call in to help if your child is experiencing severe behaviour difficulties. They have specialist knowledge, strategies and experience and will provide advice and support for you, your family and whānau and your child’s teachers and kaiako. Your child’s learning environment (at home and in the classroom) can be changed to help them learn more positive ways of coping and relating to others. 

A psychologist or a special education advisor will work with your child, you and your whānau and school or kura to look at what is contributing to your child’s behaviour and to work out ways to help change and manage it. You may also work with behaviour support workers, or kaitakawaenga (Maori cultural advisors). 

Can my child get this support, and what does it cost?

If your child is in years 1 to 10 and behaves in a way that significantly affects their learning or their ability to relate positively with other people, they can be considered for the Severe Behaviour Service. 

The service is government funded and free.

To find out more read the Severe Behaviour Service fact sheet [PDF, 369 KB].

Your child’s school or kura can refer you to the service.

Special Education Grant

Schools and kura can use this grant to support students with special education needs who may or may not be getting other support or funding. Schools and kura can use it to provide resources, teacher training, teacher’s aides, Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour and other specialists. Schools and kura can also use the fund for individual students or groups of students. The level of funding each school receives is based on student numbers and decile ranking.  

Can my child get this support, and what does it cost?

Talk to your child's teacher or kaiako or the special education needs co-ordinator (SENCO) at your school or kura if your child has learning support needs that are not covered by any of the other services available.

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