Appendix 3: About the Severe Behaviour Initiative

Ministry of Education: Managing support for students with high special educational needs.

What does the initiative provide support for?

The Severe Behaviour Initiative involves behaviour specialists working with children and young people displaying severe and challenging behaviour that may endanger themselves or others, damage property, or affect their social interactions and learning. Support is also provided by specialists for teachers and families. Specialists working in Behaviour Support teams include educational psychologists, special education advisors, teachers with significant experience in working with students with behaviour difficulties and behaviour support workers. The Severe Behaviour Initiative also includes Centres for Extra Support, which operate differently throughout the country. All centres offer short-term support (up to 40 weeks) for the small number of students with behaviour difficulties who cannot be managed within their local schools.

Who is eligible for support under the initiative?

The Severe Behaviour Initiative targets students from age 10 to 14 with severe and challenging behaviours who are not already receiving ORRS funding. For example, this could include a student who has been expelled more than once for intense and frequently aggressive behaviour toward teachers and other students and who is significantly disruptive to their class or school.

What does the application process involve?

Referrals for support for students with severe and challenging behaviour are generally made by educators (co-ordinating information about the student’s needs) or through the RTLBs.

Who makes the decisions about eligibility?

Service managers and relevant specialist practice staff within the Ministry (Special Education) district and local offices are responsible for making decisions on each referred student’s eligibility for funding, based on information provided in the referral.

Who allocates the funding?

The Ministry (Special Education) is the overall fund holder for all students supported through the Severe Behaviour Initiative, and funding is allocated on the basis of student enrolments in the region. At a local level, the funding is managed by each district office. The allocation of funds and level of support is determined by the fund managers who respond to each student’s needs and circumstances as identified in their Individual Education Programme plan.

How much funding is involved, and how many students are supported?

The Severe Behaviour Initiative receives $24–34 million in funding each year, and supports between 4000 and 6000 students.

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