Te Rito – helping learners succeed

Te Rito is a way for important information about New Zealand learners to be securely stored and shared. It involves the development of a national repository of learner data that enables the safe and secure transfer of information between schools and the sector.


For an overview and introduction to Te Rito, you can watch a four-minute video.

Te Rito (Student Information Sharing)

Background music plays

Title slide: 

Te Rito (Student Information Sharing).

Graeme Barber, Primary school principal (facing camera):
When a student starts at your school you need the information about their learning and about them as a person so that you can set them up for success.

Alex Forbes, Parent (sitting in dining room):
I struggle that schools don't talk anyway, I just assumed that that happened.

Laura Hunte, Secondary school maths teacher (sitting in classroom):
As a maths teacher, if I had a student who just arrived in my classroom, I don't know who they are.

Alex Forbes, Parent:
As a busy mum of three, transitioning Ethan is a huge tremendous amount of work, having to re-tell that story over and over is hard, when you re-tell things over and over.

Lisa Cheney, Te Rito project team (sitting in meeting room):
We've heard needless stories of kids missing out on learning support like reading recovery, because by the time it was identified that they'd already been assessed for it, they were too old.

We also surveyed a number of teachers and other kaimahi across New Zealand, to find out about what they did with learner information, and in particular what was going wrong, and we were quite horrified to find that on average people were spending about 25 minutes a day on what I would call no value add stuff.

Rubina Wheeler, Primary school principal (sitting in room):
It's very labour intensive collecting data from two documents - the New Zealand curriculum and the Marau - and also when you're identifying children at risk that have arrived in your school it's difficult to find the information that you require quickly.

Title slide:
How will Te Rito make a difference?

Lisa Cheney, Te Rito project team:
Me tiaki te mana o te tamaiti me tōna whānau. This is our guiding principle – a whakataukī which means to protect the mana of the learner and their family. We check everything we do against this principle to make sure that we're actually doing it with the learners' best interests in mind.

It's been a critical factor into looking at the security and privacy of our system. Our project, Te Rito, or the student information sharing project, is going to establish a national learner repository and data exchange, so that no matter what school or kura a child turns up at, their information is there to support them.

Sonya Lamb, Special education needs coordinator (sitting in classroom):
It would save a huge amount of time, and it would mean that I would be able to spend more time with teachers and students, which is actually predominantly what I'm here for.

Rubina Wheeler, Primary school principal:
It will transform the learning and teaching environment to help the system to be more efficient as well as effective, in that we'll be able to share the whole picture of the child, quickly.

Alex Forbes, Parent:
Oh my gosh, how much easier would be for us as parents, how much more confidence we would have in the system, how much more confidence we would have in the transition, that our child was going to be looked after, and was going to be successful.

Title slide:
What is the Te Rito platform?

Lisa Cheney, Te Rito project team:
It's an education sector specific tool, it has the technology already built in to connect not only with the student management systems, but any other educational learning system we want.

One of the first things we asked the vendor to do, is to make a default option to display everything in Te Reo because that was really critical to us, and it needs to be able to support Te Marautanga and the New Zealand curriculum seamlessly.

Title slide:
How will Te Rito be governed?

Lisa Cheney, Te Rito project team:
Governance is really critical to this.

We've got internal project governance and programme governance at the moment, but we're taking the majority of our advice from our sector governance groups.

So we've got groups of principals largely from both Māori medium and English medium schools and a sector advisory group that includes peak bodies.

Title slide:
For more information, email us at terito@education.govt.nz, or visit the Ministry of Education website (education.govt.nz), and search for 'student information sharing'.

About Te Rito

Te Rito is part of a far-reaching education reform programme being implemented by the Ministry of Education that will support every learner, whatever their economic and cultural background or ability. 

Over time, Te Rito will allow increasing levels of information about learners to be shared safely and securely as learners move through their education. It will support learners, parents, whānau, educators and other decision-makers to make decisions in the best interests of learners, by enabling informed and targeted action at all levels of the education system.  

When learners shift between schools, the information that their new school needs to know will travel with them. That means a better experience for all. Important learner information won’t need to be re-gathered at every step of their journey. This will make it easier for the learner and their parents and whānau. It will save schools and teachers time in recording learner information, and in obtaining learner information from a previous school. It will also reduce the administrative burden associated with duplicated systems and processes. 

Further functionality can be added over time, utilising Te Rito’s ability to facilitate the safe and secure collection, storage and sharing of learner information.

For example, a standardised Learning Support Register (sLSR) is being progressively introduced on Te Rito. The sLSR will make it easier for schools, kura, early learning services, kōhanga reo and clusters to use a register. It will ensure a common language is used to describe learning support needs, minimise security and privacy risks, and improve the quality of data across the education system about learners who need support.

Read more about learning support registers and the sLSR 

Overarching principles

Our tamariki are our taonga, so it stands to reason that the information about them is also taonga. 'Me tiaki te mana o te tamaiti me tōna whānau (protect and uphold the mana of the child and their whānau)' is the guiding principle of Te Rito and how it will be used: placing learners and their whānau at the centre of the system design and build. 

The project works collaboratively with schools and governance groups to identify the learner information that is collected and to make sure that the privacy and security of learners’ information is also protected – while ensuring that the right people have access to it when they need it. 

A progressive rollout

The current focus of the project is on the development and delivery of core functionality, and the provision of the first early-stage rollout that is demonstrating key aspects of Te Rito.

Detailed planning is underway to consider how the Te Rito platform and further functionality and applications can be developed and extended across the country.  This planning includes how Te Rito can connect with and enable the safe and secure sharing of information between Student Management Systems and other educational or learning systems.

With the appropriate permissions and authorisation in place, Te Rito will also be able to integrate with the information systems of other agencies to support learner wellbeing and achievement. For example, key information, such as whether Oranga Tamariki is engaged with the learner’s wellbeing, will also be available to schools immediately.  

Only authorised users will be given access to Te Rito and will have access only to the data relevant to their role or position. 

An interim governance entity is being established and will provide oversight of the sharing and use of data. Longer-term governance arrangements will be the subject of broader sector discussion during 2020, as part of the wider Education Data Protection and Use Policy (EDPUP) initiative. 

Data Analysis ESR – March 2020

In mid-March, the Pūtauaki ki Rangitaiki Kāhui Ako in the Bay of Plenty were the first schools and kura in the country to have access to Te Rito in an early stage rollout of the platform. This provides access to combined learner data (in other words there is no identifying information about individuals) that can be used to investigate shared concerns and trends – so principals and school leaders across the Kāhui Ako can plan to make improvements. Te Rito will support the Kāhui Ako to measure progress, and help them to make decisions about any changes or new initiatives.

Also included in this early stage rollout is the first use of the standardised Learning Support Register. In August the sLSR was extended to the Ōtūmoetai Kāhui Ako, and will progressively be extended to other clusters.

About the name Te Rito

Rito is the inner leaf of the harakeke (flax) plant. With the underlying purpose of the project being to enhance student information sharing for the wellbeing and educational success of the learner, Te Rito, in the first instance, is in reference to the child being at the very core of the project, requiring constant care, support and consideration. 

Secondly, the name Te Rito references the national data storage facility in which all the learner’s information is stored – requiring input and protection from vendors, schools, the Ministry and other stakeholders.

Pronunciation = Te ("Tent" short sound), Ri ("Reed" (rolled "r"), to ("Tort" short sound).

Development of Te Rito

The project has worked closely with the sector since 2017 to identify needs and to co-design the Te Rito platform. Te Rito continues to work closely with sector representatives, including the Data for Wellbeing Sector Advisory Group (which includes representatives from peak bodies across the education sector), and with Te Rau Whakatupu – Auraki me Te Rau Whakatupu – Māori (the Te Rito English and Māori-medium Working Groups), as the preparation for the progressive rollout of Te Rito continues.

Learn more

You can contact the Te Rito project team at TeRito@education.govt.nz.

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