Appendix 1: About the Ongoing and Reviewable Resourcing Schemes

Ministry of Education: Managing support for students with high special educational needs.

What do the schemes provide support for?

The Ongoing Resourcing Scheme and the Reviewable Resourcing Scheme provide resources for students who have the highest need for special education, primarily to provide specialist services, teacher aide support, and extra resources for additional teacher aide time. Together, the schemes are referred to as the Ongoing and Reviewable Resourcing Schemes (ORRS). Funding through ORRS is additional to the teacher funding and operational grants that are paid to schools.

Students eligible for ORRS support generate funding at two levels – high and very high needs. Each student receiving ORRS support generates an allocation of specialist teacher time for the school in which they are enrolled, at the rate of one tenth (0.1) of full-time equivalent teaching time at the high level, and two tenths (0.2) of full-time equivalent time at the very high level. Students also generate a number of teacher aide hours (10 for high needs and 17.5 for very high needs every week), which are pooled at a district level and allocated according to the students’ actual needs each year.

Who is eligible for support under the schemes?

Students of all ages with high to very high special educational needs – including children and young people with either extreme or severe difficulties with learning, hearing, vision, mobility, language use, or social communication – are eligible. Most of these students will have this level of need throughout their school years, and are identified at a young age. For example, ORRS support can be provided to students:

  • with extremely delayed cognitive development;
  • with profound hearing loss in both ears, who use sign language in all settings;
  • who experience severe muscle spasms or have a severe low muscle tone disability, and difficulties in eating, speaking, and swallowing;
  • who communicate or behave in extremely unusual, repetitive, and inappropriate ways;
  • who have severe delays in their cognitive development, resulting in major difficulties with learning; and
  • who have a severe physical disability and are unable to stand and walk without support.

The Reviewable Resourcing Scheme is for students who meet the criteria at the time they apply, but it is unclear whether their needs will remain at the same level throughout their school years. They receive intensive specialist programmes for the year they enter the scheme, and for three more school years. This is the reviewable period. Students are placed in the scheme at the high or very high level, and almost all of them exit the scheme after the reviewable period.

The Ongoing Resourcing Scheme is for students who have very high or high needs at the time they apply, and they will clearly need the highest level of specialist support until they leave school.

What does the application process involve?

An educator gathers information about the student’s needs and completes the application form. Application forms are available from the Ministry’s website, and (when completed) are sent to the Ministry’s national office for consideration.

Who makes the decisions about eligibility?

The verification team within the Ministry’s national office is responsible for making decisions about each applicant’s eligibility for funding, based on information provided in the application. Applicants can appeal the decision made, and ask the Ministry for a review of the decision.

Who allocates the funding?

The Ministry is the overall fund holder for all students receiving support through ORRS. Locally, the funding is managed by each district office or a school with Ministry accreditation to manage ORRS funds.

Each student receives a set amount of teacher aide time, based on their level of need. The other resource levels are not pre-determined, because each student receives an allocation of specialist, therapist and paraprofessional time according to their needs and circumstances. The allocation of funds and level of support is determined by the fund managers, who respond to the needs identified in each student’s Individual Education Programme plan. A system of moderating the number of teacher aide hours against the district’s norm for individual students with that level of need is used by fund managers to allocate resources to each student while working within an overall budget. This means that students can receive different levels of support over time.

How much funding is involved, and how many students are supported?

Together, the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme and the Reviewable Resourcing Scheme receive about $140 million in funding each year, and support between 6550 and 6950 students. The most recent Budget has included funding to support more students.

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