Sensory resource centres on school sites

Planning information, area entitlement descriptions and additional resources for sensory resource centres.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Boards
  • Proprietors
  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • Administrators

Boards may make arrangements with a sensory specialist school to host a sensory resource centre. If you provide sensory resource teachers with space, you're entitled to additional space and have responsibilities for planning, constructing or upgrading, and managing the centre.

Sensory resource centres

A sensory resource centre provides space at a host school where resource teachers can prepare teaching materials so they can help students in mainstream schools. It also includes space for administration, student assessment and storage.

Blind and Low Vision Network New Zealand (BLENNZ), Kelston Deaf Education Centre (KDEC) and Van Asch Deaf Education Centre (VADEC) are sensory specialist schools. They make arrangements with schools throughout the country to host sensory resource centres.

Blind and Low Vision Network New Zealand (BLENZ) website(external link)

Kelston Deaf Education Centre website(external link)

Van Asch Deaf Education Centre(external link)

Planning a sensory resource centre

A sensory resource centre can be established in either:

  • existing surplus space at your school as the first option (use the following area entitlement calculator to find out how much space is required), or
  • a newly built facility.

Follow the School Property Guide (SPG) when deciding whether to use available surplus space or construct a new facility.

Area entitlement calculator

The area entitlement for a sensory resource centre is based on the number of full-time teacher equivalents (FTTE) employed in the centre. This includes:

  • Resource Teachers Vision (RTV)
  • Developmental Orientation and Mobility (DOM) Instructors
  • Resource Teachers Deaf (RTD)
  • New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) tutors that work with students whose first language is NZSL.

The number of non-teaching staff (such as management and administrative staff) is not an input for the calculation because space for these functions is already is factored into the area entitlement.

  • The area entitlement for centres with less than 4 FTTEs is 15m2 per FTTE.
  • For centres with 4 or more FTTEs, the area entitlement is based on the sensory resource centre area entitlement calculator. The following table sets out the formulas.

Formulas to calculate area entitlement for a sensory resource centre



Description and comment

1. Support and reception area


Large desk area for:

  • computer(s)
  • telephones
  • fax, phone and internet connections.

2. Kitchenette


Equipped with:

  • talking microwave
  • toaster
  • fridge
  • cupboards and utensils.

3. Braille, PC, video, transcription


Desk space for:

  • computer
  • Braille equipment
  • materials
  • video and or transcription equipment.

4. Teacher workspace

2m2 per FTTE


5. Teacher storage

1.5m2 per FTTE

Storing teaching and reference materials.

6. Toy library

2 x square root FTTE

A library of specialised toys.

7. Library

2 x square root FTTE

Staff reference facility and student material, including (for a visual resource centre):

  • Braille books (large, non-standard size)
  • Braille paper (large, non-standard size)
  • collage tactile books and resources to produce them
  • large print books
  • emergent and early reading materials in Braille and large print.

8. Production area

5.7 x square root FTTE – 3.1

Preparing class materials, props, etc.

9. General storage

5.7 x square root FTTE + 1.9

Adequate storage space with a range of storage options including shelving, large drawers, cupboards, filing cabinets and appropriate storage options for large items. These items include:

  • adapted resources for mathematics, science, social studies and other subjects
  • assessment materials for vision assessment and curriculum assessment
  • teaching resources for children with complex needs
  • equipment such as CCTVs, Braille embosser, Braille notes, Mountbatten electronic Braillers, desktop and notebook computers, tape recorders, TV and video
  • outdoor education equipment and large pieces of early childhood equipment such as resonance boards.

10. Dark room or quiet room


For visual efficiency training, vision and or audiology assessment.

11. Office


For office manager, file storage and visitor seating area.

12. Meeting room

17.2 x square root FTTE + 5.7

Private space seating at least 10 people. Used for meetings, parent support groups, student peer group meetings, career and tertiary support.

13. Disabled toilet


Minimum entitlement to one toilet plus additional entitlement based on a schedule of toilet types according to the mobility and number of students.

Go to the Toilet entitlement calculator for specialised education schools.

14. Net to gross ratio (NtG)

1:1.2 plus toilets


15. Gross entitlement

NtG x (sum of facilities 1–12)


Constructing or upgrading a sensory resource centre

As host school, you receive the funding and are responsible for building or upgrading the sensory resource centre, but the specialist school should have input into the centre’s specific requirements. This includes providing input into the location of the centre so it can best support the teachers who use it.

Funding the construction of a sensory resource centre

Where a host school has Ministry funding to construct a sensory resource centre, we calculate the funding as follows:

Funding component

Funding rate

Construction rate

Current specialist classroom rate

Site costs

Current site works rate or estimated cost

Furniture and equipment rate

Current regular rate

Refurbishment rate

50% of specialist classroom rate

All funding you get to build or upgrade of a sensory resource centre must be spent on the centre.

Managing a sensory resource centre

We'll give you ongoing property funding for the centre. As a host school, you must:

  • plan for the centre’s ongoing maintenance and modernisation in your 10 Year Property Plan (10YPP)
  • spend property funding generated by the centre on the facility
  • get agreement from the specialist school about how the centre will be maintained
  • provide the centre with furniture and equipment after consulting with the base school about any specialised requirements
  • make sure the centre has an ongoing supply of gas/electricity/telephone and water.

The base school will staff the site and provide specialist knowledge of student requirements as necessary.

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