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Secondary school

Starting secondary school is a big step for any young person, a chance to further develop their independence and understanding of the world around them, make new friends, and pursue new activities and interests. All of this on top of the academic expectations that will often effect their career choices once they finish school.

Transitioning from a primary or intermediate environment can be challenging for students who are deaf or hard of hearing as it means they will encounter a number of different teachers and physcial environments more often during their day. Self-reliance in the student and teachers who have some understanding of these challenges will really help.

Tips from a Deaf secondary school student

Zoe is a Deaf teenager attending high school, New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) is Zoe's first language.

She has some good tips for relief teachers in this short video.

Financial assistance for secondary students

NZFDC fund scholarships, sport and excellence awards, assistive technology or NCEA tutor fees assistance available for secondary students.

IEP in secondary

Individual Education Plans or IEPs do continue through the secondary school years, however your preferred secondary school may not have experience with IEPs or students who are deaf or hard of hearing. 

IEP Online has a section specifically for secondary schools to help them to understand the IEP guidelines and what strategies can be used in the secondary setting.

There are also stories from secondary school leaders - principals and Heads of Department - who have worked with the whole school to ensure the IEP process is successful and supports the goals and aspirations of the student.


The purpose of the NZSL@School is to support schools so that deaf children, who need New Zealand Sign Language achieve educationally and socially at the same level as their hearing peers. See the attached document for more information.

Youth Hui videos

National Deaf Youth Hui 2014 

In 2014 the Ministry of Education brought Deaf students together from across New Zealand for a weekend of ideas, learning and friendship. The intention for the hui was to better understand what school is really like for Deaf students and to gather their ideas on how things could be improved. This video captures the workshops, fun activities and growing friendships that happened over the weekend. 

You to Me; Me to You - Youth 

This video summarises all the tips and strategies captured during the two Youth Hui in 2014. The three key themes are staying connected, being assertive and confident to ask for what you need in your education and being prepared and ready for your learning. 

Ko Wai Au (See My Voice) video

Ko Wai Au (See My Voice)

This exhibition empowers Māori rangatahi (youth) who identify as Deaf to communicate with others leading to a wider understanding of aspirations as young Deaf Māori. This video captures an inspiring dialogue from six rangatahi.