Background information to the Learning Support Update

In 2015, we asked for feedback on special education services and the changes needed. Over 3,650 parents, whānau, schools and local communities responded.

summary of the consultation findings [PDF, 276 KB] (external link)

From 2016, in response to this feedback, work began on what was known as the Learning Support Update. 22 small local improvement projects were run, nationwide, in a variety of schooling and early learning settings. These trialled a range of new ways to plan and deliver learning support services to children, their parents and whānau in a faster, simpler and more coordinated way.

The responses from this and earlier feedback from the disability and parent representatives helped us prepare a cabinet paper

July 2016 Cabinet paper: Strengthening Inclusion and Modernising Learning Support [PDF, 895 KB] (external link)

Local improvement projects

Local improvement projects have resulted in new ways of tailoring support to meet needs within a local community. Many of the projects focused on simpler and more co-ordinated transitions between early childhood education (ECE) to school. Highlights include:

  • Education services, parents and whānau report quicker response times and earlier support
  • Better transitions from early learning to schooling for children, as early learning services, Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour, teachers and schools work together to tailor and coordinate services for children
  • Reports from parents that they feel more empowered to make decisions and more involved in the transition process
  • More proactive and earlier responses to meeting children’s individual needs.

Many of those involved in local improvement projects are already benefiting from the new approaches:

  • In Franklin, an early childhood teacher now responds to requests for support from all early learning services in the local improvement project, enabling earlier access to learning support services, and more flexible responses.
  • In the Bay of Plenty, a key worker becomes the one point of contact for the student with extra needs, their family, teachers, and other specialists.
  • In Taranaki, Ministry teams, schools, early learning services and Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) are actively working and collaborating together to agree on support needs and to better match services to improve students’ outcomes.
  • In the Otumoetai Kāhui Ako, a learning support facilitator established a connection with the Bay of Plenty District Health Board which has provided funding for a dedicated Child and Adolescent Mental Health Practitioner to support the Community’s mental health priorities.

The Learning Support local Improvement projects report gives a snapshot of key features of the projects including strengths and lessons learned. There are also examples of projects that have since moved into a business-as-usual approach to service.

The projects benefited from a commitment to ongoing learning and quality improvement from those involved.

Learning support local improvement projects report [PDF, 344 KB] (external link)

Education and social sector linkages

To achieve the big shifts needed for a fully inclusive education system, we are actively linking in with Government and our other strategic priorities, such as:

We’re also aligning the Update with wider social support a child and their whānau may receive.  This includes contributing to the Ministry of Health led System Transformation, and  Oranga Tamariki and working with the Office of Disability Issues on the Disability Action Plan to progress the NZ Disability Strategy 2016 – 2026.

Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback