Criterion 9 for ORS: Combined learning and other needs

Learn about ORS Criterion 9. Students that meet this criterion have delayed cognitive development and two other areas of need, all at a moderate to high level. The three needs inter-relate to significantly reduce a student's ability to access the curriculum.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Teachers and Kaiako
  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • Learning Support Coordinators and SENCOs
  • Learning Support Specialist Staff
  • Parents, Caregivers and Whānau
  • Boards
  • Non-Government Agencies
  • Disability Sector

This guidance provides assistance for schools and parents/caregivers/whānau wishing to apply for the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme to support a child with high or very high ongoing needs. To be eligible for ORS funding, a child must meet one or more of the ORS criteria.

About this criterion

These students require assistance throughout their schooling from specialists and teachers to access the curriculum and to support the development of Key Competencies and Learning Areas.

Towards the end of their schooling many students will be achieving most New Zealand Curriculum Level One objectives and beginning to work on Level Two objectives of the Learning Areas. These achievements will be supported by specialist programmes and equipment.

When the students leave school, they may need ongoing support services.

How the sub-criteria in Criterion 9 work

Students may qualify for ORS under Criterion 9 if they have combined moderate to high needs. These always include moderate learning needs because of delayed cognitive development (9.1). The student will also have 2 other areas of need at a moderate to high level, from this list:

  • hearing
  • vision
  • physical
  • language use and appropriate social communication behaviour.

The pre-requisite for ORS Criterion 9 is sub-criteria 9.1

This sub-criterion is for students who have delayed cognitive development. At 5, students will be learning skills and knowledge usually achieved by children up to three-and-a-half years of age. These students need significant adaptation of most curriculum content. For example, they can:

  • complete three-to-four-piece puzzles
  • name familiar objects in pictures
  • demonstrate an understanding of some early concepts, such as big/little, in/out
  • match colour, shape and size
  • give one object on request and sometimes two
  • demonstrate simple problem-solving
  • use sentences of three or more words.

With frequent repetition, they're learning to respond appropriately to questions such as what, where, and imitate a vertical and a horizontal stroke and need:

  • prompts about toileting and other routines of daily care
  • frequent prompts to stay and complete activities.

Students will have needs in two of these other areas

Sub-criteria Description

9.2: Moderate hearing impairment

Students need specialist teacher intervention and monitoring to assist with a moderate hearing impairment.

This sub-criterion is for students who have a moderate or moderate-severe hearing loss (41-70 decibels) in the better ear and use hearing aids for learning.

These students need specialist advice and teaching strategies to improve their language development, understanding of concepts and the key competencies in the curriculum.

Also read about Criterion 6.1 for students with high hearing needs

9.3: Moderate vision impairment

Students need specialist teacher intervention and monitoring to assist with moderate to vision impairment.

This sub-criterion is for students who have moderate vision impairment with visual acuity of 6/24 after best possible correction and/or a loss restricting the field of vision to 30-60 degrees.

These students need specialist advice and teaching strategies to access the curriculum.

Also refer to Criterion 6.2 for students with high vision needs

9.4: Moderate physical needs

Students need specialist intervention and monitoring to assist with moderate to high physical needs.

Students who meet this sub-criterion have moderate to high difficulties with gross and fine motor skills. They usually require environmental adaptations, specialised equipment or technology and adaptations to the curriculum in physical education, technology, written language and education outside the classroom.

These students require physiotherapist and/or occupational therapist involvement to help maintain their physical wellbeing and to advise on special equipment and adaptations.

Also refer to Criterion 7 for students with high physical needs

9.5: moderate disorder of both language use and appropriate social communication

Students need specialist intervention and monitoring to assist with a moderate disorder of language use and appropriate social communication.

This sub-criterion is for students who have both language and social behaviours that are unusual, repetitive and inappropriate in their context and impact learning and social interactions.

They have difficulty understanding or communicating through non-verbal cues and rarely use speech for reciprocal, conversational purposes. They often have an unusual tone of voice and speak very precisely. Some are very literal, misinterpret what they hear, have a narrow range of obsessive interests and talk on and on about the same topic.

Some students have good rote learning skills but have difficulties with comprehension and generalisation. They often lack empathy, are socially isolated and are inflexible. Their resistance to change can cause anxiety and lead to aggression and other inappropriate behaviour.

Also refer to Criterion 8 for students with high needs for help with language and social communication

A brief profile: At 4 years 11 months, Cory meets Criterion 9 (9.1, 9.3 and 9.4)

Cory has learning and physical difficulties and vision impairment.

With verbal prompting Cory can follow set routines, such as knowing where to hang up his bag and sitting at a table for morning tea. His attention to task during group activities is very short and he requires an adult to prompt and physically guide him through most table-top activities.

Cory's best-corrected visual acuity is 6/24. He often brings books up very close to his face and copes better with uncluttered pictures.

Cory speaks in two- or three-word phrases and uses gesture to make his needs known. He understands simple one-step instructions but often needs further verbal and physical prompts to carry them out. Cory enjoys listening to stories and can identify some pictures of common objects. He holds a crayon with a fist grip and attempts to copy a circle with circular scribbles. Cory can match by shape and colour and identifies two colours.

Cory walks with an uneven gait and needs to hold a person's hand when walking over uneven surfaces. Cory has difficulties with depth perception causing him to misjudge his step and to fall frequently. He uses furniture to stand up from the floor and sometimes uses a walking frame outside. He climbs steps with two feet per step, holding onto a rail or a person's hand. He is toilet trained but needs help to get onto the toilet and to adjust his clothing.

Apply for ORS

Find out how to Apply for ORS and download our application forms.

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