Te Kahu Tōī, Intensive Wraparound Service with Residential Special School enrolment

This guidance informs schools of the process and procedures to enrol a student in a residential specialist school via the RSS enrolment process with Te Kahu Tōī, Intensive Wraparound Service support.

Level of complianceMain audienceOther


  • Learning Support Staff
  • RTLB
  • ORS Fund-holder Schools
  • Day Specialist Schools
  • Parents, Caregivers and Whānau
  • Boards
  • Teachers and Kaiako

There are two different ways to access the Residential Schools (Hallswell, Westbridge and Salisbury). The two pathways are either to be referred to Te Kahu Toi IWS service by a Learning Support staff member, or through the RSS only pathway.

About Wraparound plans

Wraparound plans are created to support a young person at school, home and in the community. Plans are designed to have a range of activities and interventions, including assistance from professionals to help the young person and their whānau develop new skills.

The plans can be carried out in mainstream schools or can include enrolment at one of New Zealand’s three residential specialist schools (Westbridge Residential School, Salisbury School and Halswell Residential College).

How do IWS and RSS work together?

The residential special schools and IWS work together as part of the young person and their whānau’s team to develop creative and individualised services and supports that will help the young person to achieve their goals.

Enrolment at a residential specialist school provides a targeted, brief programme as part of the wraparound plan. Young people will then transition back to their local school and community with wraparound support. Transition occurs when the RSS programme is completed and/or the young person’s goals have been achieved. The maximum time for enrolment at one of the three residential specialist schools is 18 months.

The benefits of combining RSS enrolment with IWS service include:

  • The holistic IWS plan can provide a broad range of support across the home, school and community. 
  • Additional resourcing can be accessed.
  • Transitions are well supported.
  • Children return to their home community as soon as possible.

Who can initiate the process?

While receiving IWS, a parent can request that a young person is enrolled in a residential specialist school.

If a parent or young person would like to access one of the residential special schools, and the young person is not currently receiving IWS, they should first talk with their Ministry representative; Resource Teacher, Learning and Behaviour (RTLB), ORS fund-holder school or Day Specialist School (if they are attending one) to initiate an application for IWS support.

IWS support

How to apply

  1. If the young person is already receiving IWS support, the IWS facilitator, psychologist, whānau team in the home region will discuss the range of options available including RSS enrolment. 
  2. Based on the parents decision, and a knowledge that a RSS enrolment will support the goals set in the IWS plan, the IWS psychologist will progress a Specialist Education Agreement under the Education and Training Act 2020 to attend a residential specialist school.
  3. Once the Specialist Education Agreement is signed off, the young person can enrol at the RSS and transition planning will begin.

Making sure young people are involved in the process

It is important that young people are fully informed, consulted, and supported to understand any decisions that impact on them. When decisions about a move to a residential school are being considered, listening to the voice of the young person is even more important. This is the responsibility of the whānau and the IWS team.

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