Overview of Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS)

The Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS) is for students who have the highest ongoing levels of need for specialist support at school. Approximately 1% of the school population require the support of ORS funding. See information about the scheme, on this page.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


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

It is recommended that an Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS) funding application is made for students with high levels of need for ongoing support. 

About ORS

ORS support helps students to join in and learn alongside other students at school. Any student who meets the ORS criteria is included in the scheme.

Once a student is in ORS, their funding and support stays with them throughout their time at school. 

Who qualifies for ORS funding

ORS has two levels of need: ‘very high needs’ and ‘high needs’. To meet the ORS criteria, students must have either ongoing extreme or severe difficulty in any of the following areas:

  • learning
  • hearing
  • vision
  • physical
  • language use and social communication.

Or they must have a moderate to high difficulty with learning, combined with two other areas of need at a moderate to high level. Together the three needs inter-relate to significantly reduce a student's ability to access learning. The other areas of difficulty at a moderate to high level are:

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

ORS Eligibility criteria

Students are eligible when they meet one or more of the nine ORS criteria.

Read about the criteria for ORS, how we define the levels and how the student's needs are verified once an application is made.

What ORS funding covers

ORS provides services and support, including:

  • specialists such as speech-language therapists, psychologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, advisers on deaf children, special education advisors, orientation and mobility instructors and others
  • additional or specialist teachers who coordinate the student's learning programme with the class teacher
  • teacher aides to support the student's learning programme in the classroom and to include students in class programmes and activities
  • consumables – small items such as computer software, extra-size pens and pen grips, disposable gloves, Braille machine paper, laminating pouches, or CDs and DVDs.

Find out more about each of these resources and how to make the best of them.

When to apply for ORS

For young children, it is best to apply three to four months before they go to school.

For school students, an application can be made at any time.

If a student's ORS application was originally unsuccessful though their circumstances have changed significantly, or you have new information relating to their eligibility, you may review or re-apply. If it is within six months of the application being submitted, you can request a review. If it has been over six months, you can submit a new application.

.How ORS is managed

ORS is managed by the Ministry of Education, Learning Support (at a regional level) and by a number of delegated schools known as Fundholders or Specialist Service Providers (SSPs).

Management of the ORS resource involves:

  • employing specialists to deliver services to students
  • allocating teacher's aide hours
  • for schools, using a small proportion of the money to buy consumables to meet a student’s identified needs.

Each student gets a unique mix of resources because all students are different and their education settings may be different.
Management of the ORS resource also involves coordination of specialists, class and additional teachers, teacher-aides, parents/whānau and others to provide a learning support programme for each student.

Management of the ORS resource also involves coordination of specialists, class and additional teachers, teacher aides, parents/whānau and others to provide a learning support programme for each student.

How to resolve difficulties with ORS

When families/whānau are not satisfied with the support received through ORS, everyone involved (parents/whānau or caregivers, teachers, specialists and the specialist service provider) should communicate openly to try and resolve any differences.

Differences might be about:

  • a student's needs and whether the ORS resources are adequate for them
  • programming
  • staff actions or management decisions.

When differences cannot be resolved, the Ministry has a dispute resolution process where a facilitator can work with families/whānau and schools to help resolve differences.

Sometimes, a student's Individual Education Plan team might seek a review of the student's verification level in ORS (from high to very high needs). Any application for an appeal must be based on significant changes in the student's circumstances and in their need for specialist support.

Find out when an appeal is appropriate and what is involved.

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