About Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS)
The Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS) provides support for children with the highest level of need to help them join in and learn alongside other children at school. ORS is used for:
- additional teacher time to work directly with a child and to prepare resources for them
- support from specialists such as speech-language therapists, psychologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, advisers on deaf children, and others
- teacher’s aide time to support the teacher to include a child in class programmes and activities
- funding for small items a child might need (known as consumables) such as computer software, extra-size pens and pen grips, Braille machine paper, laminating pouches or toileting products.
Once a child receives ORS, the funding stays with them throughout their time at school.
From ORRS to ORS
In April 2011 the Ongoing and Reviewable Resourcing Schemes (ORRS) was changed to the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS) – the Reviewable scheme no longer exists.
Children who were in the Reviewable scheme at the start of the 2011 school year have been moved to the ORS. Children who receive the ORS will continue to have this support for as long as they are at school.
Who can get this support?
To be able to receive the ORS a child must have high or very high needs because of:
- extreme or severe difficulty with either learning, hearing, seeing, moving about or using language and social communication, or
- a combination of moderate-to-high difficulty with learning plus any two of the above difficulties at the moderate to high level.
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ORS criteria – how we define high and very high needs
Description of very high needs
A child is considered to have very high needs when they need:
- teaching and learning programmes completely adapted to meet their needs (this is for children who have extremely delayed cognitive development), or
- specialist help to communicate with other people face-to-face – this is for children who rely totally on signing or rely totally on help from a trained person (habilitationist) after a cochlear implant or who rely totally on Braille for reading and writing – or
- weekly help from a specialist and/or monthly monitoring by a specialist and also daily support to help with mobility and positioning or personal care (this is for children who have an extremely severe physical disability), or
- weekly help from a specialist or monthly monitoring by a specialist with daily support by others to help with a severe disorder when using language and social communication (eg for profound autism).
Examples of very high needs
- A child has extremely delayed cognitive development and at age five their developmental level is that of an infant around 12 months old – for example, they’re learning to wave goodbye, to take turns at making sounds, to respond to their name, to imitate a simple action, to smile at a familiar person.
- A child relies totally on sign language or on the help of a trained person to communicate after having a cochlear implant or child relies totally on Braille for reading and writing.
- A child has poor muscle development and may be extremely fragile. They have difficulties with eating, speaking and swallowing, and, on their own, are unable to move, change position, sit, eat, dress, grasp or release or manipulate objects.
- A child has communication and social behaviours that are extremely unusual, repetitive and inappropriate. They have extreme difficulties with social interaction, communication and imagination and have rigid, repetitive behaviour that appears to be meaningless. The combination and intensity of these characteristics vary but are apparent most of the time.
Description of high needs
The description of high needs is similar to that of very high needs, except a child will have less extreme difficulties and will need less support. A child is considered to have high needs if they need:
- teaching and learning programmes significantly adapted to meet their needs, and additional specialist teacher time of at least half a day a week, or
- a teacher with specialist skills in deaf education for at least half a day a week to support access to the curriculum, or
- a teacher with specialist skills in vision education for at least half a day a week to support access to the curriculum, or
- monthly one-to-one help from a specialist, and/or monitoring by a specialist once a term together with daily support to help with mobility and positioning or personal care, or
- monthly one-to-one help from a specialist, and/or monitoring by a specialist once a term together with daily support to help with a severe disorder when using language and social communication
- a child might also be considered to have high needs if they have combined moderate ongoing needs. This means most of their teaching and learning programmes need to be significantly adapted for them and they have two other needs that require specialist help – such as a moderate hearing, vision or physical impairment or moderate difficulty when using language and communicating in socially appropriate ways.
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Examples of high needs
- A child has a severe (71–90 decibels) or profound (greater than 91 decibels) bilateral sensori-neural hearing loss and uses hearing aids and/or a cochlear implant full time, usually uses an FM system and uses spoken language as their main form of communication and might use sign language and gestures.
- A child has severe vision impairment (acuity of 6/36 or worse) and needs regular help from a teacher with specialist skills in vision education.
- A child has a severe physical disability and is unable to stand and walk without support and has poor hand control. They cannot independently dress, eat, hold a cup or remain stable when sitting on the toilet. It’s likely the child uses a manual or power chair, walker and specialised seating and they need a lot of help to get in and out of their equipment and to manoeuvre their wheelchair or walker. A child might have a deteriorating condition, such as Muscular Dystrophy, and frequently falls, has difficulty with steps or slopes and uses a wheelchair to move longer distances.
- A child finds it difficult to join in almost all learning and social activities, usually distances themselves from social situations and seems to be mostly unaware of people around them, often has trouble understanding people’s facial expressions and body language and gets severely distressed by change. It’s likely the child will have a diagnosis of autism or another medical diagnosis.
Applying for ORS support
For children not yet at school, someone such as an early childhood education teacher, early intervention teacher or a child’s key worker will work with the parents to fill out an ORS application form.
For children already at school, the teaching staff will be responsible for applying for ORS. The classroom teacher or a senior staff member or Special Education Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) will need to work with parents to fill in an application form.
What happens next
A child’s application is sent to the Ministry of Education’s National Office where a team of three experienced Special Education staff, known as ‘verifiers’, will read it carefully and decide whether the child can get ORS support. This decision will usually take three weeks. The Ministry will inform the early intervention provider or school and parents in writing.
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