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last updated Wed 30 May 12

About Us - overview

van Asch Deaf Education Centre, located in Sumner, a suburb of Christchurch and in the Waitahi Iwi, was established in March 1880 as a fully funded Department of Education special school.
Today, it is both a coeducational composite special school and a national resource centre, having responsibility for the support of deaf and hearing-impaired children and students throughout the South Island and lower half of the North Island.

Maintaining regular liaison with the Ministry of Education Special Education district offices in the area, the Centre provides to deaf and hearing-impaired students, parents/caregivers and associated support persons:
• audiological services and technical aids
• printed and electronic educational resources
• professional advice on educational management and programmes
• resource teachers of the deaf
• part-time teacher support programmes and habilitation services
• counseling and guidance services, curriculum development and research support programmes.

It also provides a range of on-campus programmes, from preschool through secondary, and makes full use of the wide range of resources that are available both in the local district and greater Christchurch area.

An Early Intervention Centre on-campus programme is provided for local families. The E.I.C is also accessed by families from across the region through Preschool Residential Courses that are provided throughout the school year. Up to three families can attend each course.


Satellite classes operate at Hagley Community College and Wharenui Primary School in Christchurch. Student school enrolments come from throughout the region served by the Centre. Numbers vary; in 2012 there are 21 on the school roll.

Habilitation services for children with cochlear implants are provided through a contract with the Southern Hearing Charitable Trust. Habilitationists are based at the Southern Cochlear Implant Programme at St. George's Hospital. They also provide an outreach service to children's home areas.


The Centre has residential facilities to cater for those students whose overall personal, social and educational needs cannot be met in their home area. They are also used for assessment of students and in-service and training programmes for parents/caregivers and associated support persons. When not required for the Centre's own use, the facilities are used, on a cost recovery basis, for other education in-service programmes.

The Centre has well maintained buildings and grounds. Many of the buildings, particularly in the residential section, have been constructed since 1980 and there has been progressive upgrading of classrooms. There are a well equipped media centre, which also serves the region, a gymnasium, sealed tennis courts, well- appointed playing fields, a hall and associated conference facilities, technicraft, audiological assessment and technical services facilities, preschool through post-secondary instructional areas and special purpose instructional rooms.

The Centre's Regional Specialist Teaching Service provides Teacher support to Deaf students in Mainstream and Unit settings. There are approximately 400 deaf and hearing-impaired students in mainstream settings in the region. From the start of 2012, the ORS teacher components previously with the mainstream schools are now incorporated into the regional specialist teaching services. Teacher support is allocated in the form of either a Resource Teacher of the Deaf, Part-time teacher hours or teacher hours transferred back to the school the student is enrolled in. Students learning needs based on their current Individual Education Plan, language and literacy assessments inform the level of Teacher support provided from year to year.

The Centre, provides additional assistance to educational settings and parents via its Specialist Resource Teachers where advice and guidance is needed for mainstreamed deaf and hard of hearing students. The Specialist Resource Teachers provide outreach support in the areas of Literacy, Speech-Language, Visual Communication, Sign Language and Deaf Culture.

To meet the wide range of responsibilities associated with the on-campus and regional functions of the Centre a total of approximately 120 positions, or their equivalent, are established. Of these, approximately 75 are classified as teachers and the remainder as ancillary staffing: audiologists, a counsellor, technicians, media centre personnel, teacher aides, residential and domestic staff, ground persons, language assistant.

For more information about the Centre and its services, please contact:

van Asch Deaf Education Centre

Truro Street,


Christchurch 8081

New Zealand

TTY/Voice: 03 326 6009

Fax: 03 326 5346

Email: info@vanasch.school.nz