Children with Special Needs (CWSN)

At Oratia District School we believe that all children have the right to be included in all activities and to achieve to the best of their abilities. We make provision and cater for children who learn differently from others, children who are differently abled and children who have special abilities. We do this because it is important for all children at our school to feel that they are part of their community, and that they have a place where they can express themselves, are valued and can make a contribution.

In order to support our students with special needs we have a dedicated Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) who is also a senior staff member, Mrs Pam Thomas. She keeps a register of all students who have been identified as having special learning needs or special abilities. She meets with different teachers and parents each week to keep track and follow up on each student for whom there is an individual learning or behaviour plan.  Our SENCO is supported in her role by two other senior staff members, Mrs Tracey Gill, Ms Jude Serjeant and by a senior teacher, Mrs Katherine Goldsmith.

The key adults in a successful home-school partnership to support children with special needs or abilities are: the school’s SENCO, the child’s teacher, the parents, caregivers or whanau, the teacher aides (where appropriate), and any other agencies providing support. It is our belief that parents, caregivers and whanau are an integral part of all planning that is done to meet the needs of children with special needs or special abilities. Parents are expected to attend meetings where learning or behaviour plans are developed.

Once a student has been identified by their parents or the teacher as having special needs or abilities, the SENCO contacts the relevant support agencies to assist us in providing the best learning plan for each student. Sometimes it is necessary to seek outside help from specialist support providers. This can include the resource teacher of learning and behaviour (RTLB), a speech language therapist (SLT), a resource teacher for literacy (RTLit), an educational psychologist, or other support from Group Special Education Services. We can only apply for this support with consent from the student’s parents, caregivers or whanau. There are a range of other folk, such as SPELD tutors, who also come into our school to work with individual students.

Our Board of Trustees provides additional funding each year so we can provide teacher aide support for teachers and students when required.