A Special School and Area Resource Centre


Goldfields Base School


Our Base school is comprised of 4 classes. We have 2 primary classes (Kororā and Hoiho), a TEACCH class (Pūkeko) and a mixed age class which caters for students who have more complex needs (Pīwakawaka). As you have gathered our classes are named after native birds and our buildings after native trees - the admin block is called Ngā Whare Kauri.

Our focus at Base is to meet the diverse learning, communication and sensory needs of our students. This is achieved through providing a variety of stimulating and focused teaching and learning programmes which complement and incorporate the individual therapeutic schedules our therapy team devise for each student.

All students have Individual Education Programmes (IEPs) or Individual Transition Plans (ITPs) depending on their age. Additionally a weekly class timetable reflects the Learning Areas and Key Competencies identified within the New Zealand Curriculum.To support verbal and written language staff use a variety of communication aids: such as objects of reference, symbols, pictures. These enable all students to engage in meaningful exchanges and learning experiences. Focused approaches such as intensive interaction, CLDD and multidisciplinary interventions are used to further support and deepen engagement throughout the school day.

Two of our classes cater for students who have more complex learning and physical difficulties. In these higher needs classes our curriculum has an even more differentiated basis, with a multisensory-key competency based focus defining much of the curriculum offered to students. In these classes a much higher level of therapeutic and paraprofessional support is also apparent.

Throughout the school and indeed our wider community, a concerted effort is made to further develop a 'Communication Rich Environment’ where all students have a voice. Students and staff alike are exposed to and use: NZ language, signs, visual aids and te Reo to engage in meaningful conversations. This is reinforced by a wide array of ‘low and high tec’ resources. Thus whatever means of communication is preferred by an individual is validated and fully catered for.

Base school is a happy vibrant part of Goldfields wider school. A place where students enjoy a full and focused education. Following the extensive remodeling in 2016 it is also a place which has been specifically designed to maximise the opportunities available to our students both inside and out.


Ngā Whare Kahikatea


This was our Senior School and sits next to our Base School but on Miller Avenue school campus. Following changes in our student roll, this now hosts some intermediate aged students along with our seniors. It consists of three classes of students ranging from the ages of 12 -21. The classes are: Tui; Ruru & Kōtuku. The students' programmes of learning focus on the core curriculum areas for Goldfields School; English, Mathematics and Health and PE with an emphasis on developing skills for living and life after  school. Integral to all programmes of study is developing an understanding that will help them to transition into the communities they will be a part of after school.

The students are offered learning experiences that reflect all areas of the New Zealand Curriculum:


  • English – Communication and Literacy through study, use and enjoyment of the language and literature

  • Mathematics – Developing skills that are able to be transferred into their daily lives; number knowledge, measurement, budgeting, sequencing

  • Health and PE - Hauora – Well-Being, Relationship skills, Self Esteem and Personal Identity, Roles, Rights and Responsibilities, Physiotherapy, Skills and Fitness programmes

  • The Arts – Expressions of self, contribution and communication

  • Technology - Science and Social Science contexts on which to develop rich and varied learning experiences

  • Learning Languages – Te Reo Maori, Total communication strategies, NZ sign language


Options Classes:

The students and parents are able to select two areas of learning to focus on for a six month period. These classes range from photography to Science, Digital Technology to Visual Arts and much more besides. The work the students do go towards gaining ASDAN qualifications.


Enterprise Education:

Education for Enterprise enhances what, and how, young people learn; to enable them to participate and contribute locally. All students have opportunities to develop the understanding of how to be part of a team and work towards a common goal. The students work in the school gardens, run a mini canteen, get creative with buttons and involved with mosaics.


Work experience:

Our local businesses offer our students placements to experience what is needed to be a successful employee and this in turn provides a context to learn new skills and to put known skills into practice. This programme involves the support of work coaches and specifically set goals linked closely to the Key Competencies.

Harakeke : Goldfields Satellite Network:


For many years we have worked in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education to better meet the needs of students who have special needs throughout our district. To this end we have developed a Strategic Plan which aims to see the development off more satellite classes (including two more in Thames). All of these satellite classes will compliment both our own school and mainstream schools.

Currently Ngā Whare Kahikatea, although only a short walk from our Base school, is a satellite unit based on Miller Avenue School campus. In addition to this we have a junior class in the main body of the Miller Ave School. This is staffed by Goldfields staff and supported by a team of therapists. The students therefore enjoy the benefit of specialist teaching and support whilst having access to all aspects of learning and opportunities with their mainstream peers.

Two other satellites are based at Paeroa College and Te Aroha Primary School.

Since 2016 we have regularly had to turn away students because we simply cannot accommodate. This has led to very earnest negotiations with Ministry for more satellite classes and we are hopeful that this very real need to see positive outcomes in the near future.


Goldfields School an Area Resource Centre:


There are a number of aspects to this facility; the first being the Specialist Teacher Outreach Service (STOS). This service is dealt with in more detail in the Specialist Programmes and Services section of the website but in brief; we provide specialist teachers who can support students who are ORS funded but attend a mainstream school, and their staff. Currently we are working in 9 schools across the district and hope to see the service continue to grow as more people; especially parents, become aware of the service.

A less formal but very important role of our school is to support the learning needs of staff, particularly mainstream colleagues, who have little or no experience in supporting the educational needs of children who have special needs and attend their school. Each year dozens of teachers, teacher aides and other workers spend professional development time at Goldfields learning basic things like assessment, programme development, and differentiated supportive practice. Sharing of resources is an important aspect of this professional development too, particularly as many of the resources we have in school are ones we have specifically designed or differentiated to better meet the needs of children.

Whilst we are not a formal training agency we are committed to ensuring that best practice is shared throughout our wider school networks and that all students who have special needs have access to ever improved learning opportunities.


Cam Mckenzie



He Mahitahi … Working Together