School of the Week: Northern Health School?northern hea

Name: Northern Health School Tauranga Unit.

The schooSchool of the Week: Northern Health School?northern heal aims to have contact with students twice a week, whether in the Support Centre, by home visit or via video-conferencing. The availability of technology has had a significant impact on the school, as it allowed students in remote areas access to teachers by the click of a button, Mr Winder said. This means the ones who are on the tip of the East Cape, which are a bit r away, can still have access to teachers and quality education.

She is sitting at her desk and is working on a science worksheet, with an open textbook beside her. She is smiling because school is a place where she can escape her reality and enjoy the company of other students.

Northern Health School, with a school zone extending over the upper North Island, is one of three state special schools set up by the Education Ministry to provide educational support for students who have high health needs and are unable to attend regular school.

He said doctors appointments and medical treatments sometimes caused the students to learn at a slower pace than others, however, NCEA worked well as students could complete a unit standard when they were ready.

Principal Richard Winder oversees the 14 Northern Health School centres, located all across New Zealand. The school operates like any other, however, because students are different ages, their learning is personalised.

At this school, no one is going to turn heads if they see someone in a wheelchair. Nor would they smirk at someone who has no hair, and they wouldnt look twice at someone who has a tube going into their nose.

School of the Week: Northern Health School?northern hea,Most&160;students have been tempted to throw a sickie once in their life but 15-year-old Libby Brooker is excited about school and looks forward to her days at the Northern Health School.

Behind their smiles Mr Winder knows the students are battling their own health issues but seeing them smile is what makes his job worth it.

Another large portion of students fell under the oncology bracket, while other student illnesses included transplants, kidney ilure, heart disease, eating disorders and those suffering low immunity.

Students at the Northern Health School suffer a range of illnesses, however, the largest growth in student numbers was in the northern healthadolescent mental health area, Mr Winder said.

Its 11.30am on the clock and assistant principal and head of the Tauranga Support Centre Robyn Meikle announces its break time.

But here you wont hear the students speak one word of an illness, they dont talk about it because its not important, he said. Our focus is on education and this is a place where students could forget their illnesses and enjoy being children.

For these students, the Northern Health School is a place where their illness is forgotten and they can come together in a social situation and continue their learning. The Tauranga unit has been operating since 2000, however, the school opened its Support Centre in Fraser St earlier this year, after it outgrew its previous home at Gate Pa School. It employs five teachers who work in the Support Centre and travel across the Bay of Plenty to students homes.

Libby Brooker, left, Ethan Smith, Liam Manson and Joel Littleton enjoy the social situation that their studies provide. Photo / Mark Mckeown.

Libby suffers a recurring illness that means she is constantly tigued. Another student who attends the Tauranga Support Centre suffered a stroke when he was 13 years old, while another suffers Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The Northern Health School has numerous units in Auckland, as well as Northland, Waikato, Taranaki, Whakatane, Gisborne, Rotorua and Tauranga.

The students who remain in Tauranga Hospital or are too unwell to attend the Support Centre are visited in their homes by Northern Health School teachers.

Ethan Smith, 15, is a relatively new student at Northern Health School and has only been attending for a few weeks. He relishes in the environment and says he enjoyed the smaller class numbers. Another student, Joel Littleton, said he loved the flexibility.

They let you do your own thing and you can do it in your own time. Youre not forced to do anything and because of that I have a lot more motivation for learning.

Mr Winder said some students were extremely unwell and passed on while in the course of their studies, and that was always extremely difficult for the staff and students.

Libby is one of about 100 Bay of Plenty students who are suffering serious illness and are enrolled in the Northern Health School. Twice a week, she and about a dozen other students attend classes at the Tauranga Support Centre and under the guidance of dedicated staff, they learn their lessons.


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