How the Ministry of Education in New Zealand Assess an ORS application Part 1

If I may, my original plan is to discuss my takewhat I have learned from the autism parenting summit presentations. I do not have any plans of showing my face in a video like this, yet. I did this in the past but this is a remake podcast and I am still building up that confidence in myself.

Even sharing this with my friends or others is still not meant to be done soon. I know it is on apple and Spotify but this channel is not ready to be shared yet with my friends and groups I belong to. Now I must be ready for this…S%%%T.

Don’t look at me like that, I did not swear. ok, I shut my mouth – it just looked like it, play it again… see! I told you.

These are paintings of my kids, by the way, They made this themselves. I am intentionally recording this here near their painting/drawing so I can be reminded all the time to be kind and not swear. I am waiting for another image to be posted here. My youngest, he’s 5 so when he gets to learn how to paint, I will add that in here.

Let’s talk about ORS… This is a side episode – ORS part 1. The other day we received the result of our application and I just thought this experience would be good to share! 


Let’s get right on point… If this is the first time you heard about ORS or you live outside of NZ, 

ORS stands for Ongoing Resourcing Scheme. 

This is additional support provided by the Ministry of education, to help kids in high need so they can progress their education with a little support. Say you need a teacher aide or specialist support to guide your child at school, this is the funding that you should be looking at. 

Here is the definition of ORS from the MOE website. ORS is The Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS) that provides support for students with the highest ongoing levels of need for specialist support. The scheme enables them to attend school and participate alongside other students. 

Let’s step back a little bit. As a parent, my definition of support is I see two wings of support here crucial but not limited to a child’s progress in learning. This is in addition to a parent or a carer’s family, or friends’ nurturing support. So outside of what I have mentioned in my view.

This is a case-to-case basis but in my view. I see 2 wings of support to help and enable the child to succeed in the future. These are the left and right-wing. The left-wing is what I call the health wing. The health wing is as obvious as it is, this is any support that we can get from the ministry of health.

From GP assessments to specialist assessments. Anything that has to do with child nutrition, medication, therapy from a psychiatrist or occupational therapist. 

Now, there is another wing of support that I call the right-wing. This is the education side of things. This wing supports education for all actually.

In short. The left-wing is for health, the right-wing is for education…simple as that. These two support wings are crucial for your child’s development.

You are still with me, right? 

Now ORS or the ongoing resource scheme is under the Ministry of Education. So if your child has high needs, your MOE coordinator or support person should be able to assist you on how you can get this support. 

If you feel that you need this kind of support please bring this up… to your MOE coordinator so they can consider and assess your child if you can have this funding support. I do not know your case but for us, we were the ones who brought this up because we heard about this from one of the training sessions we attended around autism. So I suggest you participate in free training about autism if available in your area. There are tons and tons of golden nuggets in those sessions.

Why do we think we need to raise a request for ORS funding at that time due to

  • My son has no sense of danger, if you release him outside he will just run and run, even cross the street, and will not bother being mindful of the cars passing by.
  • He has no self-awareness. You will not know if he got hurt. He does not cry unless he is hurt so bad…
  • His communication and comprehension require focus and improvements
  • One big factor as well is when there is a change in his environment or routine, it drastically affects his behavior. He is easily agitated and he will panic at the same time. He is more unsettled. It becomes apparent that he is having difficulties sleeping right after that change
  • Plus other factors as well like the new behavior he just recently developed

 1 is pulling someone else’s hair and the other one is taking off clothes for no reason, the good thing is when he does that, he is home. I am a bit worried now. What if he does that at school?

I will skip the part when we found out about ORS… I will go straight to the application process, what we have done, what challenges we have received 

We applied for ORS support to the Ministry of Education New Zealand and here is what happened. 

We were given a form to fill out where we needed to answer a lot of questions on that form, for most of the time it required a detailed explanation of our case. We have no problem with that, because the more details we can provide the more, in my understanding, we can clearly express the need for the said support from the ministry.  

Let’s cut the story short, this is becoming interesting by the way!

So we completed the form in November last year and submitted it the same month. As per the plan, my son is starting primarily in March this year. We thought there was enough time between the time we submitted the form and the time we expected the result to come out. This is about 4 months, taking into consideration the processing times and the December holiday season. 

So come the end of January, 1st term is about to start. We never heard any updates, which is cool right? It’s still January, no pressure but my wife is starting to be concerned about it so she followed it up with our MOE support. The response we got is, that the form is being reviewed by the manager before it will be submitted to the team who will review/approve/decline the application. 

This event is sometime early to mid-Feb. I have to say, in parallel to this, the teachers from the primary school where my son will be attending are also in contact with the MOE about the transition plan. Also, my wife, being too worried about the transition not happening, directly contacted the school and coordinated with the principal if we can start the transition activities.

Gladly Sacred Heart allowed us to do gradual transition visits ahead of what the MOE is planning to do so we can start familiarizing my son with the new environment.

After that, there was a meeting with Sacred Heart, the MOE support team, and my wife to discuss temporary options while waiting for the ORS. One option given to us is to apply for the School High Health Needs Fund. This is care support in case a child needs to go to the toilet, someone is available to help in toileting. In this case, there is no need for the school to call my wife to go to school for a nappy change. This funding will cover high health needs.

 Given we are already crunching in time, we have applied for the said support as a backup.

 A meeting was held with school teachers, the MOE support team, and my wife. This is to come up with additional options given there is no chance of meeting the planned start date for my son.

 It was decided at that meeting that my son will start primary in term 2 sadly. So we missed the bus! But that’s ok, I know there is another one coming, and it’s a double-decker. We asked the kindy for an extension so my son could stay for another month there and it was approved. We actually did not know that it was a possible option. Anyways so we did that so at least he is still at his kindy while we try and settle his additional support request. But regardless we’ll make sure that he starts at term 2 otherwise if we delay this, we are not moving forward but it’s the opposite.

Going back to the forms, ORS and SSH, where are we now with the forms, the week after the meeting, the ORS form has been reviewed by our support team, signed by my wife, and went to the ORS assessment/reviewers. I don’t know what the team is called so let’s just call them ORS reviewers. For the High health application, this also went out to the reviewer team.

Now the waiting game begins.

During the waiting game, we were supposed to continue with the transition work with the primary while he is at Kindy. Sadly we didn’t get to do much of those because the family got hit by covid. So we just have to deal with it and move on to do the next thing. Do what is necessary, isolate, get well, and get back on to our feet as soon as possible.

I was the last one to get it… so no chance. So guys and gals, covid is real… look after yourselves. The experience of having it is different… Anyway, that’s a story for another day.

During the school holiday after term 2, we received the outcome… Do you know the outcome?

Do you want to know the outcome?

Let’s dissect the details in our next episode!

About Takiwātanga


I Am Lloyd I Am

Takiwātanga Advocate and Proud dad

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