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Keep Salisbury School open to give girls with the most needs the choice they deserve.

This petition had 4,249 supporters

The Minister of Education Hon Hekia Parata is proposing to close Salisbury School in Richmond, Nelson. Closing a school is a serious proposal, that shouldn't be taken lightly. What Salisbury wants is a proper discussion about how keeping it open and changing its focus, slightly, will positively change the lives of many many New Zealanders!

With the Ministry’s Intensive Wrap-around Service (IWS) focusing on young people with behavioural conduct disorders, and with the IWS the only way you can get into Salisbury, the school’s roll has dropped from an average of 80 students in the years leading up to 2012 to just ten this year.

Meanwhile, young people with autism and complex intellectual disabilities are falling through the special education holes as they are not even getting into the IWS. Some students can be well supported in their local schools, but there are still many who can't be - they are falling through the education gaps!

To meet this challenge and help with this problem, Salisbury developed a proposal last year for the school to become a specialist facility for young people on the severe end of the autism spectrum and / or with intellectual disabilities, as this group of young New Zealanders with severe needs are seldom getting into the IWS.

The proposal was thoroughly researched and given to the Secretary of Education and his staff in 2015. The Ministry incorporated it into a briefing note for the Minister in March this year. The Ministry’s advice was for her to ignore the Salisbury proposal and to initiate consultation for the school's closure. This consultation closes on August 12th, 2016.

The Salisbury proposal offers a solution based on current international literature and best practice, utilising Salisbury’s current facilities and expertise, and requiring no further funding than was granted in the 2015 school year for Salisbury’s notional roll of 30 students.

There are huge numbers of people throughout the country who support Salisbury, and this petition is one way we can explain to the Ministry that there should be a robust cross-agency (ie. education, health, social services and justice) discussion about Salisbury's future so that this amazing boarding school can help improve the lives of many of our country's most special young people. Once the school is closed, the conversation could too easily be closed with it.

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Emma Thompson needs your help with “ Keep Salisbury School open to give girls with the most needs the choice they deserve.”. Join Emma and 4,248 supporters today.