Appendix 2: About the School High Health Needs Fund

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

What does the fund provide support for?

The School High Health Needs Fund provides funding for teacher aide hours. The teacher aides support students with high health needs so that they can safely attend and participate in school.

Who is eligible for support under the fund?

The fund is for students with high health needs who require care and supervision for more than six weeks. This can include students who:

  • need support during and after seizures that cannot be managed effectively by medication;
  • need help with mobility or personal care arising from severe fatigue directly related to a medical condition (for example, a student with cancer who is undergoing therapy and suffers from severe fatigue, headaches, nausea, and vomiting and is unable to move a wheelchair by themselves);
  • need support to protect them from (or manage the effects of) exposure to injury, infection, or an allergen that would result in a medical crisis (for example, a student with severe allergies, asthma, or eczema as a reaction to common allergens in the school environment); or
  • depend on specialised medical appliances, apparatus, or equipment such as oxygen bottles or tracheotomy (breathing) tubes.

What does the application process involve?

Educators are responsible for completing the application form, and obtaining up-to-date medical information from the child’s medical specialist. Application forms are available from the Ministry’s website, and are sent to the Ministry for consideration.

Who makes the decisions about eligibility?

The verification team within the Ministry’s national office makes decisions about each applicant’s eligibility for funding, based on the information provided in the application.

Who allocates the funding?

The Ministry (Special Education) is the overall fund holder for all students in the School High Health Needs Fund. Some schools are accredited to manage funds. Funds are paid each term to the student’s school to employ teacher aides. The allocation of funds and level of support is determined by the fund managers who respond to each student’s needs as identified in their Individual Education Programme plan. The fund holder or accredited school is responsible for ensuring that the student has an annual Individual Care Plan that details:

  • the care and supervision tasks the teacher aide will carry out;
  • the monitoring system for ensuring that the care remains appropriate to the student’s needs during the year; and
  • the evaluation process to determine the student’s ongoing level of need for care and supervision.

Each student being supported through the School High Health Needs Fund is reviewed annually by the Ministry’s verifiers. For some students, verifiers renew eligibility on the basis of existing information. For others, verifiers will ask to see the current Individual Care Plan and a recent medical report to decide whether the student continues to meet the criteria and is funded for a further year.

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

The School High Health Needs Fund receives about $3.1 million in funding each year, and supports 550 students.

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