Residential specialist school enrolment - RSS only pathway
This guidance informs schools of the process and procedures to enrol a student in a residential specialist school via the RSS only pathway.
|Level of compliance||Main audience||Other|
Access to Residential Special Schools (Hallswell, Westbridge and Salisbury) is through a referral a Learning Support or RTLB staff member
- Who can initiate the process?
- Who makes the application?
- The application process
- The process and timeframes
- Involving young people
- Thinking about a RSS application?
- How to apply
- Further information
A parent, educator or learning support provider can request that a residential specialist school is considered for a young person.
Applications are only able to be made by the young person’s learning support provider in their home region. This could be a Resource Teacher Learning and Behaviour (RTLB), a Ministry specialist, or a day specialist or fund-holder school.
There are four criteria for residential specialist schools:
- The young person is aged 8 to 15 years old (Year 3–10).
- The young person has behaviour, social and/or learning needs that are highly complex and challenging (and may have associated intellectual difficulty) and requires support at school.
- Local learning support services have been considered or tried. However, RSS intervention is believed to be the best way of meeting the child/young person’s needs.
- The young person does not need an intervention in the home or community (the child/young person does not need intensive services such as Te Kahu Tōī - Intensive Wraparound Service, Oranga Tamariki or High and Complex Needs).
The application process involves families, educators and learning support providers in the home region.
- meet to carefully consider and decide if an application will proceed
- understand the RSS only pathway is not an option where high and complex needs indicate intensive specialist interagency support across home and community contexts is required
- consider which school will best be suited to the young person’s needs
- decide who will complete the application.
Once the application is submitted:
- Enrolment Groups for the relevant school will review the application.
- Each Enrolment Group will make final decisions for their school(s) only, supported by the Ministry, and will confirm if the application and a Specialist Education Agreement [DOCX, 265 KB] (previously known as section 9 agreement) is supported.
RSS Enrolment group application and decision timeframe for each school term
Applications must be submitted by 5pm Friday
Applications will be collated and sent to the requested school’s RSS enrolment group
|Week 4||RSS enrolment groups will meet to consider applications for their school|
|Week 5||Decision letters and Section 37 application (if appropriate) will be sent out to referrers|
|Week 6||Applications must be submitted by 5pm Friday|
|Week 7||Applications will be collated and sent to the requested school’s RSS enrolment group|
|Week 8||RSS enrolment groups will meet to consider applications for their school|
|Week 9||Decision letters and Section 37 application (if appropriate) will be sent out to referrers|
Applications for Te Kahu Tōī- IWS will be reviewed by the regional panels as usual.
Young people need to be fully informed, consulted, and supported to understand any decisions that impact on them. When decisions about a possible move away from family to a residential school are being considered, listening to the voice of the young person is very important. This is the responsibility of the family and providers of specialist support in the home region.
Young people may enrol at a residential school through the new RSS only pathway. Each enrolment needs to be agreed through the Specialist Education Agreement process.
Access criteria and the application process ensure that support is accessed by young people who are most likely to benefit from it. Some applications will result in an RSS enrolment and others will not. Local teams should establish a range of possible options for schooling and learning support.
Applications may only be completed and submitted by a current learning support provider.
If you are considering making an application, ensure that all four RSS admission criteria are met. If a young person’s needs indicate that a high level of specialist support is required across home, school and community contexts, an IWS application is indicated, not an RSS application.
- The RSS only pathway provides 24 hour teaching and learning opportunities through the school day and residential provision.
- IWS is a wraparound service which includes an individually tailored and comprehensive range of supports across home, community and school settings.
A RSS is an education intervention.
- It does not replace accountabilities for educators and other agencies to provide quality services locally.
- Each young person needs to have a home, RSS is not a solution for a young person without home or care arrangements in place.
A RSS application takes time, if this is a crisis situation other solutions will be needed.
The current learning support provider should complete the following forms and send them to RSS.Enrolments@education.govt.nz:
Note terms of reference
The Terms of Reference apply to all rangatahi for whom a residential specialist school enrolment is considered.
The risk assessment will help clarify if an RSS is the best educational option and enrolment can be supported where the young person is not:
- exhibiting behaviours that may place other students at risk, including but not limited to overt violence;
- have a history of sexualised behaviours compromising the safety of others;
- currently or recently in specialised, severe behavioural programmes;
- under treatment for, or has been unresponsive to the treatment of any psychiatric illness, (including suicidal ideation); or
- under, or has been unresponsive to, treatment for substance abuse.
Reviewed: August 2020 – following the updating of the Education and Training Act 2020
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