International literature review on residential specialist schools for learning and behaviour Publications
This report on an International Review of the Literature on Residential Specialist Schools (RSS) for learning and behaviour has been commissioned by the New Zealand Ministry of Education.
Author(s): Neera R. Jain, Professor Missy Morton and Associate Professor Melinda Webber
Date Published: July 2022
Background and context
The contract described the aims of the review:
- The Ministry of Education is reviewing a mechanism by which students/ākonga are transferred from other schools to any of three Residential Special Schools, as a way of [addressing] a range of complex needs. This mechanism is referred to as direct referral to distinguish it from referrals made through Te Kahu Tōī Intensive Wraparound Service (TKT/IWS). This project forms the first component of a larger evaluation effort.
- Sector Enablement and Support (SE&S) requires a literature review drawing on both qualitative and quantitative data showing how Residential Special Schools relate to ākonga well-being and learning. The literature review will inform the design and delivery of further research into the operation of the direct pathway for referral to residential schools. Follow-on projects will look at how effectively the direct pathway has worked to bring suitable students into residential schools, whether the direct pathway offers advantages over other referral methods, and how well ākonga who have entered residential schools through the direct referral pathway succeed educationally.
- We anticipate that a scan of the literature may identify a limited number of countries that are similar to New Zealand in how they use the residential school approach, and that the more in-depth analysis may focus on those countries.
The three Residential Specialist Schools for learning and behaviour in New Zealand today are Westbridge Residential School in Auckland (https://www.westbridge.school.nz/) Salisbury School in Nelson (girls only) (https://www.salisbury.school.nz/), and Halswell Residential College in Christchurch (https://www.halswellcollege.com/). This literature review does not consider the other category of RSS in New Zealand, RSS for students with sensory disabilities. As specified, the purposes of this literature review is to aid the Ministry of Education in evaluating the direct pathway for referral into RSS, and does not involve the TKT/IWS referral pathway. We note, however, that this pathway system is unique to New Zealand and in the review that follows, the literature speaks to RSS more generally.
We begin the report with a brief overview of policy settings intended to guide education for all students followed by recent history of RSS provision in Aotearoa.
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