Learning support

Learning support refers to the additional support some children and young people need to engage and achieve in education.

A new way to deliver learning support

We're phasing in a new way to deliver learning support.

The Learning Support Update is about improving the education system for children and students who need additional learning support.

A new way to deliver learning support


Our learning support team helps schools, kura and early childhood services support the wellbeing of children and young people in their learning environments and communities. We want all children and young people to learn, experience a strong sense of belonging, and develop resilience.

Building positive learning environments that promote wellbeing works when the whole learning community, including families and whānau, is involved.

We use evidence-informed approaches to build capability and understanding amongst the people supporting the child or young person. We use resources and initiatives that help:

  • build social and emotional competency and teach understanding, expression and regulation of the learner’s emotions
  • foster a safe and caring school environment that limits bullying and aggressive behaviours
  • grow positive and respectful relationships, and enable effective responses when things go wrong
  • build student engagement and agency
  • affirm the language culture and identity of ākonga Māori
  • help educators and kaiako recognise and understand the strengths and needs of diverse learners
  • provide guidance on best practice for implementing policies, procedures and systems that support social, emotional and mental wellbeing
  • provide specialist services to schools when extra support is needed.

Health,safety and wellbeing

Wellbeing@school(external link)

New Zealand Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy

The Government has released the New Zealand Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy. Its vision is for New Zealand to be the best place in the world for children and young people. Education will play an essential part in supporting the strategy and everyone in education has an important role in promoting and supporting the wellbeing of children and young people.

Wellbeing in education

Inclusive education

Learning support is provided in the context of inclusive education.

Inclusive education

Practical strategies, suggestions and resources are available to support the diverse needs of all learners.

Guides and teaching strategies — TKI website(external link)

Information for school leaders and teachers is available to help support inclusion and deliver an inclusive classroom curriculum.

Inclusive practices and the curriculum — TKI website(external link)

Teaching strategies

The Inclusive Education website has teaching strategies for supporting children and students with learning support needs.

Inclusive Education — TKI website(external link)

Wellbeing and Mental Health Teaching Resource for Teachers 

A mental health education and wellbeing resource for teachers has gone out nationwide, to schools whose students are year 7 and up, including Teen Parent Units, Activity Centres, Alternative Education providers and RTLB Clusters.

Mental Health Education and Hauora : Teaching interpersonal skills, resilience, and wellbeing is a practical resource for teaching about mental health, including lesson ideas and activities.

To find out more here’s Kat Wells, co-author and health teacher from Lynfield College in Tāmaki Makaurau:

Mental Health Teaching Resource

Nau mai, afio mai, welcome!
Kia ora, ko Kat Wells tāku ingoa and I teach at Lynfield College in Tāmaki Makaurau. 

We’ve been using this book with our students ‘mental health education and hauora, teaching interpersonal skills, resilience and wellbeing’. We know that young people who are happy, healthy, feel safe and confident in themselves, learn better. However, current research tells us that young people in New Zealand are experiencing unprecedented levels of loneliness and stress.

Schools can’t solve the mental health crisis alone but they do have an important role to play by checking in with students and supporting them through difficult times. As teachers, we can empower and equip young people with the skills and knowledge to navigate through challenges, changes and relationships.

This book can help support you and your school with this work. It’s a resource for teaching about mental health, including lesson ideas and activities, in areas such as hauora, resilience, identity, interpersonal skills, and wellbeing. The feedback I’ve received is that students really valued and enjoyed exploring these concepts.

Schools from year 7 and up will all receive a hard copy along with two ideas for teaching units, it’s also available online.

Nō reira, kia kaha, mauri ora!

The Ministry of Education has delivered hard copies of the book to schools, working alongside the New Zealand Health Education Association, to provide additional resources supporting its use.

Teachers can download their free version of Mental Health Education and Hauora and supporting resources at https://healtheducation.org.nz/resources/mental-health-education(external link)

Learning support areas

Learning support is available in your local early childhood centre or school. It's provided to support students, educators families and whānau in a range of different ways.

Attendance services

Alternative Education (AE, activity centre, services academies, study support centres, teen parent units) — TKI website(external link)

Behaviour services to help schools and students

Blind and Low Vision Education Network New Zealand (BLENNZ)(external link)

Supporting students with speech, language and communication needs

Supporting children who are deaf or hard of hearing

Early interventions services

In-class support funding

Physical Disability Service

Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) — TKI website(external link)

Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour service (RTLB)

Resource Teachers Literacy (RTLit) — TKI website(external link)

Ongoing resourcing scheme (ORS)

Specialist Teacher Outreach Service

School High Health Needs Fund

Te Kahu Tōī, Intensive Wraparound Service (IWS)

More areas of learning support for students are listed in the Schools section of this website:

Students with learning support needs

Programmes for parents and educators

Programmes — Autism New Zealand(external link)

The Incredible Years Parent programme — TKI website(external link)

The Incredible Years Teacher programme — TKI website(external link)

The Incredible Years Autism programme (for parents) — TKI website(external link)

The Incredible Years Helping Children with Autism programme (for teachers) — TKI website(external link)

PB4L School Wide — TKI website(external link)

Requests for learning support

Talk to your early learning service, school or local Ministry of Education Service Manager to discuss learning support options or to make a request for support (referral).

Local Ministry offices

Early childhood and school enrolment

Students can access services in their local early learning service or school.

Find an early learning centre or service — Education Counts website(external link)

Find a school — Education Counts website(external link)

Other school options are also available.

Specialist schools

Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (formerly known as The Correspondence School)(external link)

Home education(external link)


Assistive technology

Boarding allowances

Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS)

Entering into a Specialist Education Agreement

School High Health Needs Fund (SHHNF)

Specialised School Transport Assistance (SESTA) 

Learning support property modifications funding 

Learning support study awards and scholarships

Guidelines and resources

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

Individual education plans (IEP) — TKI website(external link)

Teachers and teacher aides working together(external link) 

National Transition Guidelines

Special Assessment Conditions (SAC)

Physical restraint 

Resources — Down the Back of the Chair(external link)

Wellbeing at school and Inclusive Practices Tool(external link)

Inclusive education

Contact us

Contact your local office for more information or to make a request for support.

Learning support services

Freecall (NZ only): 0800 622 222

Email: learning.supportmailbox@education.govt.nz

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