Education Minister Nick Smith today announced the establishment of a new school in Wellington to provide an education
for children with long-term illnesses throughout the lower North Island as part of the Government's Special Education
"Sick and hospitalised children deserve an ongoing education. Learning is a normal part of a child's life and it should
not be put on hold just because they are unwell. We cannot afford to let their learning slip behind while they are
unable to be in their normal classroom. This exciting initiative is about giving sick children a better deal."
The new school in Wellington will be open for term one next year. Nationally, set-up funding has been provided for next
year of $2.5 million, with an ongoing annual budget of about $3.4 million. In addition, an establishment grant is
available for each board to assist with set-up costs. The Minister today formally appointed the new board whose first
task will be to appoint a Principal and identify a suitable location for the new school.
"The old system of providing schooling for hospitalised children was quite restrictive and did not meet the needs of
those children when they returned home to recuperate. It is now much more common for children to spend long periods of
time recovering at home rather than being stuck in a hospital. The new school will include students who are
convalescing, rehabilitating and recuperating from illness, as well as those receiving treatment at home over a
significant period of time."
The $6 million nationwide initiative is part of a plan which includes merging the two hospital schools in Auckland and
establishing new schools in Wellington and Christchurch.
"This is not just good news for Wellington, but for children throughout the lower North Island. The new school will not
just be a site, but a network of services involving teachers based in communities like Hastings, Wanganui and Palmerston
North. The Board has an exciting challenge to meet the needs of a very diverse and geographically spread range of
pupils. I am confident this new model will give our sick children a better education."