Overview of Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS)

Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS) funding is used to provide specialist services and support for students with the very highest needs for special education.

ORS helps students join in and learn alongside other students at school. Any student who meets the ORS criteria is included in the scheme.

Once a student is in ORS, their funding stays with them throughout their time at school. Around 1 percent of students receive this support at any one time.

Who qualifies for ORS funding

ORS has two levels of need: ‘very high needs’ and ‘high needs’. To meet ORS criteria, students must have either ongoing extreme or severe difficulty in any of the following areas:

  • learning
  • hearing
  • vision
  • physical
  • language use and social communication

or moderate to high difficulty with learning, combined with very high or high needs in any two of the following areas:

  • hearing
  • vision
  • physical
  • language use and social communication.

ORS criteria

Students are eligible when they meet one of the 9 ORS criteria.

ORS criteria explains the criteria and how they relate to the need levels. You’ll also find examples of students who meet the criteria.

Definitions of very high and high needs for ORS tells you how we define the levels.

Verification process for ORS tells you how the needs are verified after an application for ORS.

What ORS funding covers

ORS provides services and support, including:

  • specialists such as speech-language therapists, psychologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, advisers on deaf children, special education advisors, orientation and mobility instructors and others
  • additional or specialist teachers who work directly with students and prepare resources for them
  • teacher aides to support teachers to include students in class programmes and activities
  • consumables — small items such as computer software, extra-size pens and pen grips, Braille machine paper, laminating pouches, or CDs and DVDs.

Go to Resources for students in the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme for more on each of these resources and how to make the best of them.

When to apply for ORS

For young children, it’s best to apply 3 to 4 months before they go to school. For school students, you can apply at any time.

If a student's circumstances change significantly or you have new information relating to their eligibility, you can submit a new application 6 months or more after the last one or the last review of an application.

Apply for Ongoing Resourcing Scheme funding

How ORS is managed

ORS is managed by the Ministry of Education, Special Education at local district level and by a number of delegated schools known as Specialist Service Providers (SSPs).

Management involves employing specialists to deliver services to students, allocating teacher aide hours, and using a small proportion of the money to buy consumables to meet a student’s identified needs.

Each student gets a unique mix of resources because:

  • students have access to different levels of other resources depending on the school they attend
  • parents have different levels of involvement with the programme.

Management coordinates the specialists, class and additional teachers, teacher aides, parents and others to provide a special education programme for each student.

How to resolve difficulties with ORS

When families aren’t satisfied with ORS, everyone involved (parents or caregivers, teachers, specialists and specialist service provider) should communicate openly to try and resolve any differences, particularly if the Individual Education Plan (IEP) process is working well.

Differences might be about a student's needs and whether the ORS resources are adequate for them, service levels, programming, staff actions or management decisions.

When differences can’t be resolved, a Ministry of Education facilitator can be brought in. To find a facilitator, contact your local district office.

Sometimes, a student's IEP team might seek a review of the student's verification in ORS (from high to very high needs). Any application for a review must be based on significant changes in the student's circumstances and in their need for specialist care.

Go to review and appeal process for ORS to find out when a review is appropriate and what’s involved.

Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback