The school opened in conjunction with the Convalescent Home. The Sara Cohen Memorial School for handicapped children was established by Mark in memory of his late wife who after suffering ill health for years died in 1923.
Mark Cohen was born in England on 26th November 1849 and migrated with his family to Australia in 1853. He was educated at a Jewish school in Melbourne before his family moved to Otago, New Zealand around 1863.
Mark Cohen was a journalist, city councillor, supporter of women’s suffrage, a major figure behind the founding of New Zealand’s first kindergarten in 1889 and Chairman of the Education Commission in 1912. He was an instrumental figure in raising money for the purchase and development of property at Forbury Corner as a children’s convalescent home
Today Sara Cohen School caters for special needs pupils from primary school age through to adulthood, or ages 5 to 21. There are 53 pupils on the roll spread across 3 different school sites. Rutherford Street caters for secondary aged students, as well as 18-21 year olds who are working in a transition programme to prepare them for life beyond school. Bathgate Park School Satellite Class caters for years 6,7, and 8 students. Concord Primary School Satellite Class caters for students in years 1-6.