Once a student has a Section 9 Agreement, there are a number of events that will happen to ensure the student's transition into our school is smooth and successful. At times not all these events can happen for one reason or another and sometimes the sharing of information electronically is sufficient.
The principal and lead therapist will visit the student in their current setting. This allows us to see the student interacting in a comfortable setting and to make decisions around their placement in our school - the most suitable class. the level of support needed, changes that will be needed to support both student, classmates and staff and the therapies the student will need to have access.
A transition meeting will be held. This can involve whanau and caregivers, teachers from both settings, therapists from both the Ministry and Mahinawa, the principal, the Deputy principal, the psychologist, the current school's SENCO, and the Ministry's lead worker. At this meeting, information will be shared so that the student's new team will have all the information they need to support them in their move. A schedule of visits to enable the student become familiar will be arranged. At times some of the information may be shared electronically.
A therapy handover meeting is needed. As local school's ORS students are managed by the Ministry, the information they have on the student moving into our school is not available to our therapy team. Thus a meeting is held to share this key information to ensure the therapy service is maintained. At times the information can be shared electronically.
A communication Passport will be sent through to whanau and Ministry staff. This document provides a space for the student's whanau and team to document information about how the student shows his needs and emotions.
A social story will be written and shared. This will contain pictures of the school, the student's new class, their classmates, their teacher and their support staff. It is aimed to prepare the student for their visits.
Transition visits take place. If the student is not enrolled yet, the adults supporting his transition cannot leave the premise. When planning the schedule we make sure we plan for the points below:
The first visits should be short so that neither the transitioning student nor the class students are stressed and the visit can be successsful.
Once the student is comfortable, the support person can leave them in class and spend time in the staff room or office to allow the satff to interact with the student to get to know them better.
Visits need to be no longer that an hour or two. This ensures the class members are not stressed by the extra people in the room.
When planning visits, it needs to be ensured that the student has the opportunity to experience different activities, play breaks and meal times.
How a student starts in our school is tailored to suit the student and their whanau. For some students, staying a full day can be stressful. If the whanau have the flexibility, the student can start with shortened days or a shortened week. If a student is travelling to school using the SESTA service, the students will have to stay a full day unless whanau can pick them up early.