Learning Support

A new way to deliver Learning Support

All children and young people needing support with their learning should get help.

We’re working with schools and providers to strengthen inclusion and modernise how learning support (previously called special education) is delivered across the education sector.

These are our next steps to modernise a fully inclusive education system that puts the progress and achievement of all children and young people at its heart.

We want the best outcomes for all children

We’ve heard from families and from educators that the learning support system can be hard to navigate, with too many hurdles to get to the right support. Parents have also told us that they don’t always get support for their child soon enough.

Changing the way learning support is provided is about putting learners who need support at the heart of everything we do, so they get the right support, when they need it.

A new approach to delivering learning support

We’re going to take a phased approach, starting with clusters of schools, early childhood education providers or Kahui Ako that have indicated they want to implement the approach. Other schools, early learning services, clusters and Kāhui Ako will be able to adopt this new way of working if they wish.

This new way of working gives local communities more flexibility to meet the particular needs of the children and young people in their locality.   Phasing in these changes means we can learn from our experience, find out more about how it works in different settings, and what works for local schools and their communities.

The new way of delivering learning support reflects feedback from parents, whānau, staff, and disability and education groups. It includes:

  1. Known contact point for family and whānau – someone they know they can go to for information and support.
  2. One plan that provides joined up and tailored support to meet a student’s individual needs.
  3. Schools, kura, early childhood education (ECE) me ngā kōhanga reo working together with specialists, iwi and providers to identify what their community needs, make decisions about the best use of local resources, and address needs earlier.
  4. Local services and others involved being able to make decisions about tailored support for individual students, rather than sticking to rigid criteria to access a fixed support.
  5. A facilitator to convene local providers and connect to wider services.
  6. Sharing data so that services understand how they are working together to support a student, and so they can plan for needs across the community.

Download more information on the 6 elements 

Working with other organisations 

We will work with the Ministry of Health, parent and family organisations, Human Rights Commission, IHC, the Special Education Principals’ Association New Zealand (SEPAnz) and other organisations as we implement these changes.

Contact us

If you have any questions email LearningSupport.Approach@education.govt.nz or phone 0800 622 222.


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