Background information about the Learning Support Update

Find out more about the consultation feedback and local improvement projects that have helped shape the Learning Support Delivery Model.


In 1989, the Education Act gave children with special educational needs the same rights as everybody else to enrol in and receive education. Most children with additional learning needs are included in mainstream education, from early learning services through to secondary schools.


In 2015, we asked for feedback on special education services and the changes needed. We received over 3650 responses from parents, whānau, schools and local communities.

Special Education Update: Summary of engagement findings [PDF, 276 KB]

From 2016, in response to this feedback, work began on what was known as the Learning Support Update.

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

Local improvement projects

Twenty-two small local improvement projects were run nationally 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.

Local improvement projects resulted in new ways of tailoring support to meet needs within a local community.

The Learning Support Update Local Improvement Projects report provides 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.

Learning Support Update — Local Improvement Projects report [PDF, 344 KB]

2016 Select Committee Inquiry

The Select Committee Inquiry into support for children and young people with dyslexia, dyspraxia and autism spectrum disorders highlighted the importance of raising teachers’ capability and identifying if students have additional learning needs earlier. It also called for an improved range of supports and services for children and young people with moderate needs, who don’t qualify for the most intensive support, and who may be at risk of disengaging from education.

Learning Support Delivery Model Pilot

In early 2017, the Ministry began a small scale pilot of the new learning support delivery model in the Ōtūmoetai (Tauranga), Whakatane and Taupō Communities of Learning. Learning Support Delivery Model. Following initial successes in the Bay of Plenty, in November 2017, work began on implementing the Learning Support Deliver Model.

Learning Support Action Plan

In July 2019, the Learning Support Action Plan was finalised. Improvements such as the introduction of Learning Support Coordinator roles and the development of the One Practice Framework for Ministry specialists and RTLB, strengthen the Learning Support Delivery Model.

From 2020, this will include the first tranche of around 600 new Learning Support Coordinator roles.

Read more about the Learning Support Action Plan on the Education Conversation website(external link)

Strengthening learning support: the story so far [PDF, 218 KB]

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