GSE (Group Special Education) is the abbreviated term used for the Ministry of Education, Special Education.

There are approximately 2500 Ministry staff working in special education throughout New Zealand. It is the job of these people to focus on, strengthen and improve the

“educational opportunities and outcomes for children and young people with special education needs”. (MOE website)

GSE is the MOE’s department and are the people you will turn to should your child have special education needs.

How does it work?

GSE has a national office in Wellington, 4 regional offices, 16 district offices and a number of local offices. The staff members in each of these offices are there to work closely with everyone in the community in order to support the child with special educational needs and their parents. The types of people in the community who may be called on for support and help include:

  • speech-language therapists
  • kaitakawaenga
  • psychologists
  • special education advisors
  • advisors on deaf children
  • occupational therapists
  • physiotherapists
  • early intervention teachers
  • assistive technology coordinators
  • support workers
  • district Māori advisors.

(For more information on what each of these people do read ECE – Special Education).

Primarily the sorts of things the GSE staff do at this district/community level include:

  • be the first point of contact for local schools
  • provide services to an individual child or young person, or to a small group of children and young people
  • collaborate with other specialist team members, teachers and parents to develop programmes for an individual, groups of children or young people, or clusters of schools or early childhood services.
  • collaborate with specialists from other schools or agencies, parents and teachers to provide coordinated services for individuals, schools and early childhood services.
  • advise and provide support to schools such as professional development for teachers to help them identify and develop programmes for students with special education needs. For example, a school may want to set up a whole school approach to managing behaviour, or a system for managing a traumatic incident, or access professional development to help teachers to identify students with moderate communication needs.
  • work with a local school, iwi, resource teachers: learning and behaviour (RTLB) and kaitakawaenga (our Māori advisors), to provide integrated services to Māori.
  • work with a group of specialist teachers, such as resource teachers: learning and behaviour (RTLB) and Ongoing and Reviewable Resourcing Schemes (ORRS) teachers, to help meet students’ learning needs.

For more information about what the GSE does in NZ, at both the regional and national level, check out this link.

To find your nearest GSE district office or for more information phone the Special Education Information Line on 0800 622 222.


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This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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