Waitaha students were welcome guests and participants at a recent Rolleston College athletics day

Waitaha Learning Centre

by Mike Isle

This time last year Waitaha Special Needs Day School in Rolleston opened its doors for the first time. Today we revisit the centre and find a school that has made changes but is consistent in its core values.

The school caters to students from five up to 21 years old with special learning needs.

As well as its original base school in Lemonwood Drive and two satellite facilities at West Melton School and Rolleston College there is now a third satellite, Te Tupu Harakeke at Knights Stream School in Halswell. There are also five additional support staff — and a new principal.

Maureen Allen has replaced inaugural principal Margaret Dodds who retired at the end of the year and says Waitaha attracted her because if its focus on inclusiveness.

“Waitaha’s vision statement is ‘We’re all in this together’. That extends to staff, students, the satellites, host schools and the educational sector here in Rolleston.A key facet of that for Waitaha is integration with the three schools near the Learning Centre.

“Those schools — Lemonwood Grove Primary, Rolleston College and West Rolleston Primary — enable our students to transition to and from mainstream schooling in a safe, caring environment.

“It’s all about a village, and around our site we have four villages all looking after our children.”