Background information to the Learning Support Update

In 2015, we asked for feedback on special education services and the changes needed. Over 3650 parents, whānau, schools and local communities responded.

A summary of the consultation findings [PDF, 276 KB] is also available.

From 2016, in response to this feedback, work began on what was known as the Learning Support Update. Twenty two 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 the July 2016 Cabinet paper: Strengthening Inclusion and Modernising Learning Support [PDF, 895 KB].

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 services 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. For example:

  • 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 Taranaki, Ministry teams, schools, early learning services and Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour are actively collaborating to agree on support needs and to better match services to improve students’ outcomes.

The Learning support local improvement projects report provides a snap shot 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]

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