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Special Needs

What we offer

Home -school liaison

  • Specialist therapy according to IEP learning outcomes e.g. SLT, OT.
  • Cooking and lifeskills programme.
  • Music and movement
  • Oral language groups
  • Educational visits in the local community
  • Swimming programme
  • Computer assisted learning
  • Behaviour management programmes

Our Resources

  • friendly, experienced and qualified teaching staff
  • modern and attractive school classrooms and facilities
  • caring, enthusiastic support staff and teacher aides
  • itinerant teacher support where appropriate
  • up to date technology

Inclusive practice

Our school philosophy on inclusive education is embraced by the whole school, from the children, the teachers, the Principal and the Board of Trustees. Central Normal School provides wide ranging programmes to support the learning needs of children. Central Normal School is a ‘fundholder’ for ORS (Ongoing Resourcing Scheme) students. These students are verified by the Ministry of Education to have ongoing high or very high levels of need for specialist support.
In co-operation with parents, family and whanau we provide quality educational programmes for children with high and very high special education needs through:
• IEPs (Individual Education Plans) written twice a year with child’s team members
• specialist one to one intervention
• appropriate adaptation of curriculum content
• special education support in the regular classroom
• specialist teacher contact time
• the option of learning in a bilingual Maori class
A detailed brochure about these programmes is available from the school office.
A word from our special needs teachers...

Kerry Howard

kerry1Hi. I am Kerry Howard, Assistant Principal and Team Leader of the Special Education Team. I love working with our students and staff at CNS. I know 2019 is going to be another exciting year and am looking forward to what lies ahead. When I am not at school, I enjoy walking, gardening and helping out on our farm. Catching up with family and friends is always top of my list of favourite activities!!

Barbara Sperl

barbaraKia ora, my  name is Barbara Sperl. I am absolutely love to support students to strive to their potential. I am absolutely passionate about communication and I like to ensure that every student has a voice. In my free time I enjoy spending time with family and friends, long walks, hiking, biking and reading. I also love working with herbs, and lavender especially.

Claire Marshall

claireHi, I'm Claire Marshall, Special Education teacher. I am so grateful to be part of our team here at Central Normal School. I love working with each of our students, encouraged by the way they learn to cope in a school setting and delighting in their achievements. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, specially when coffee and cake are part of these times! I also like knitting and gardening.

tracey waaka

Kia ora Koutou. I am Tracey, Special Education Teacher. It is a privilege to be working with the students and staff at CNS. I am excited to be part of a fabulous team supporting our students on their journey through education in a way which is both positive and enjoyable. Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, walking the dog, swimming and crochet.

karen gilmore

Kia ora, I'm Karen Gilmore, Special Education teacher. I am excited to be part of the wonderful team at Central Normal and I look forward to supporting our students through their school journey in a positive and inclusive way. Outside of school I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, gardening and being outdoors!

Special Education Support staff

We have a team of more than 20 teacher aides who work as collaborative team members supporting students in their classrooms, in the playground and in their specialised programmes. An integral part of their role is support of the teachers. The support staff carry out many varied duties.

Some of our Parent Comments

Central Normal School has most definitely been the right choice for our daughter with special needs. We have very close contact with her teachers and her teacher aide, which makes things run so smoothly. My daughter is given all the help and support to achieve her very best. The other students are so supportive and friendly towards children with special needs. She has made many friends. We know that she is happy at school.

My son with special needs attends Central Normal School. The teaching is wonderful. A lot of time is put in to help the children and there is a lot of support for the parents too.

Central Normal School has been a great school to send my child with special needs because of the mainstream system they have and the children are not singled out. The other children at school accept them with no problem. The staff give these children the best of care. I would recommend this school to anyone with children with special needs.

For Further information contact: Regan Orr (Principal) or Kerry Howard (Assistant Principal)

Additional Support Staff


We are able to draw additional support for children with significant learning or behaviour needs. Three specialist teachers who service the schools on the western side of the city work with parents/caregivers children and classroom teachers following a referral process.


The Resource Teacher works in schools with teachers and 1 to 1 with children, aged 7-10 years, who have significant difficulty with reading and language. Schools request support from this teacher through the management committee.

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