Mahinawa Specialist School

(04) 238 4314 1b Takapuwahia Dr, Takapuwahia, Porirua 5022


Our Students may be eligible for support with transport to and from school. This is at the discretion of the Ministry of Education and is through SESTA.  Getting approval for the service can be a lengthy process at times and time needs to be allowed for the processing of applications especially if the student is travelling some distance. 

SESTA is a Ministry of Education (the Ministry) transport service that assists children and young people with safety and/or mobility needs that prevent them from travelling independently to school. While responsibility for getting students to and from school rests with caregivers, the Ministry may provide assistance in cases where extra assistance is required to make the journey as safe as practicable for the student.

Student Eligibility

Eligibility is assessed based on the needs of the student, not the caregiver. The Ministry does not take into account the caregiver's financial position, hours of work or other unique circumstances when reviewing an application.  Eligibility is determined if  the student meets all three criteria set by the Ministry. These are set out below: 

  1. are between ages of 5 and 21 years old
  2. have safety and/or mobility needs that prevent them from travelling independently to and from school or accessing public transport or a school bus. A safety need may be where a significant risk of harm or danger to the student, or to others, exists during the journey to and from school . This may be due to challenges such as epilepsy, communication and social skills, understanding, self-management and decision making.  A mobility need may be due to challenges such as reduced mobility, fatigue, medical conditions or limited motor skills
  3. are attending the closest state school, state integrated school or other education setting that they can enrol at.

 Students are not eligible if under ACC and parents should contact  ACC for help at: 

The SESTA service

The Ministry provides two types of services through SESTA. 

  1. A place in a vehicle although this is not guaranteed
  2. If the student is otherwise eligible for SESTA but is not attending the closest school that they can enrol at, assistance will be provided in the form of a conveyance allowance to help contribute to the cost of transport to the closest school. This alloawance is paid at 28c per kilometre and no more than $20 a day.

SESTA applications

Application for SESTA should be completed together by the parents/caregiver and the princpal. 

Once completed it is sent to the local Ministry office and then to the Regional Manager. The Transport Service then complete the process. The SESTA application form can be downloaded here.  

 If applying for a conveyance allowance , please attach a bank slip. 

Please contact the principal by email or on 027 2333 081 for help with the application.

The Closest School

The Ministry defines the "closest school" as the closest state school, state-integrated school or other educational setting that the student can enrol at. This may be:

  1. The closest age and gender appropriate school to the student's primary residence, and at which they can enrol . Or
  2. A Regional Director of Education determines that because of the student's specific needs they have to enrol at another school. Or
  3. The student is attending a special school under a Section 9 of the Education Act 1989

Most of our students access the service through item 2 or 3.

Placement in a Vehicle

When placing a student in a vehicle the  Ministry will consider:

  • The safety of the student, other students and driver on the service
  • The length of time in a SESTA vehicle. They prefer journey times to be no longer that 40 minutes and must not exceed and hour
  • The cost and availablility of the service

Transport for a student between school and an approved alternative home address other than the student's usual home may be arranged if:

  • respite or after school arrnagements have been made at an approved address other than the student's usual home
  • the students has more than one home address because of shared custody. 

Transport between the student's home and the alternate address is the reponibility of the caregiver. 

Safe Travel Plans

Caregivers may be required to fill out a Safe Travel Plan to support their SESTA application in order to share key information that supports the safe travel of a student.  A Safe Travel Plan form is to be completed by the parent/ caregiver and principal when the student's behaviour may pose a risk to themselves or other while in a vehicle or their medical, physical or other conditions mean they may require assistance during transport. The Safe Travel Plan can be downloaded here.

Changes of circumstances 

At times a student's circumstances change. For the continuation of the SESTA service there are some actions required of us by the Ministry. 

  • If changing the home address, a new application will be needed and the service reassessed as still valid.  This will take some time to process so please allow time for that to happen.  The SESTA providers cannot start picking up or dropping students at a new address until they have the approval from the Tramsport Team. 
  • If there is a change to the student's schedule or the student is moving to a new satelltie class within the school or the have a new presite address, the process is simpler and all is needed, is to complete a one page form and to submit it to the Ministry. 

Parent and Caregiver Responsibilities

There are responsibilities for both the parents and caregivers using the service and those providing the service  (Cross Country Rental). When accepting the service, please make sure that you are familiar with the expected responsibilities. There is a link below. 

Our SESTA provider

Our SESTA provider is Cross Country Rentals regardless of which geographical area the student lives in.  A link to their service is provided below.