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Threatened Closure of Salisbury Special School


Submissions to the Ministry of Education due by 5pm, 15 June. Have your say today!

Salisbury School needs your support! The Ministry of Education is currently consulting on the role of residential special schools, and as part of this review Salisbury School could be closed by the end of the year.

Submissions are due by 5pm Friday 15 June.

If you want to see Salisbury stay open, please click here to find out how you can help.  They only need a couple of sentences, and your name and phone number.

And if you are a Salisbury School past student or parent please send the school an email, or phone Carolyn on 03 544 8119, and tell them how Salisbury School has helped you.


“…Salisbury School’s parents say the review is rushed and the research the decision is based on irrelevant.  Kelly Woods’ daughter Jessie, 14, started at the school this year, but her transformation has been “amazing”.  Normally anxious and quiet, Jessie now has best friends for the first time in her life and is the class counsellor.

“She is showering on her own, using a knife and fork, she is brushing her own teeth, she’s dressing herself and her handwriting has improved. I know these don’t sound big but they are huge to us,” Woods said.

See entire article here

Helen McDonnell, Salisbury School board of trustees chair, said “…the school saved money down the track as graduates had the confidence to find jobs.  Her 15-year-old daughter attended the school for two years.

“For us, it was a real turning point that we wanted to equip our daughter with skills for life. I couldn’t see that happening in the mainstream school setting.”

She had tried using wrap-around services for her daughter in the past, but it left the family exhausted, she said.”


Salisbury provides comprehensive support programmes for female students who are struggling in mainstream schools nationwide – those who need significant curriculum adaptation due to an underlying intellectual impairment and whose educational, social and emotional needs, are not being met in their current environment.


In West Auckland, cuts in services for special needs (learning and behaviour) have left Principals furious about possible changes to the education system regarding Supplementary Learning Support (SLS) teachers. They fear that kids who are already struggling in class will drop back even further.

Deputy principal of Massey’s St Paul’s School, Judy Pudney, says the service is invaluable.

“I had a student who came to us in year 4.   He could only name three letters and tell you what the sound was.  When you’ve got a class of 28, it was a big ask for any teacher to get him up to speed because they just don’t have time to devote to him.  He’s been doing SLS for a year and a half now and he’s now reading at a level eight because he’s had one-on-one,”  she says.

Read more here.


Short term monetary savings by closing services to special schools and services just do not make sense.  The children still need help, still need to be taught and supported, and either the services need to be provided well and by qualified and specialised staff  elsewhere or the children will not meet their potential and will need greater support in later life.  There is no saving here.  And the people who lose out are the children and their families.

Read up, ask around, find out more …

Then speak out – Have A Voice.


About Save Our Schools NZ

"One needs to be slow to form convictions, but once formed they must be defended against the heaviest odds." Gandhi


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