Focus Areas 2018

Ministry of Education RTLB Focus Areas 2018

Click the headings below to view focus area information.


The Supplementary Learning Support (SLS) and the Resource Teacher: Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) services were amalgamated at the start of the 2013 school year. A designated number of students with high learning needs working long-term within Level One of the National Curriculum now receive an HLN service from RTLB clusters.

The HLN service is:


Differentiated to meet the particular needs of the individual student. This means the RTLB will work with the student’s kaiako/teacher/s to differentiate instructional strategies and adapt teaching, planning and classroom activities to meet the student’s needs. RTLB will also collaborate with family/whanau to ensure that all student needs are met and that they are part of the planning and review team.


According to the needs of the student as agreed by the student’s support team and timetabled with the kaiako/teacher/s. The timing, type, level and frequency of the support will be negotiated with the student’s kaiako/teacher/s, parents, family/whānau as part of the practice sequence process within an inclusive framework.


Recognising that these students are working at Level One of the National Curriculum for most, if not all, of their time at kura/school. RTLB clusters will track and monitor these students until they meet the HLN service exit criteria.


Enabling appropriate support for students who are in rural or Māori immersion contexts as needed.


Working with kaiako/teacher/s, parents, family/whānau to enable successful transitions at key points in the student’s life at kura/school.

In the Nelson Bays Cluster there is a dedicated and skilled focus team who moderate and monitor all applications for HLN service and monitor progress for students currently receiving service.  They also support schools in the assessment and update processes.

Secondary Focus Group 2017

Team members:  Sarah Wilkin – Practice Leader (Garin College, Nelson College for Girls, Nelson College and Golden Bay High School), Sarah Etchells (Waimea College), Diane Rose (Nayland College), Sharyn Gibbens (Motueka High School),  Jonny Morgan and Leo Barrer.

The primary focus of this group is to support all elements of the RTLB service that has a Secondary focus.  Part of our role is to ensure the organisation of regular Secondary SENCO meeting that includes relevant professional development and high interest content. Any relevant professional development opportunities, professional readings and Ministry of Education notifications will be posted on this website and schools will be notified by their liaison RTLB.

The RTLB that are part of this group are Secondary trained and are the liaison RTLB for the Nelson Bays Secondary Schools.

Please do not hesitate to contact any one of us with any questions or queries.

Māori Focus Group

Nau Te Rourou with your basket

Naku Te Rourou and my basket

Ka ora te iwi there will be ample


Raising achievement levels of Māori students is a national priority, our Māori Focus Group work towards ensuring that the needs of our Māori students and whānau are being meet.

The Māori Focus Group work as a team,  drawing on our strengths and previous knowledge  to discuss referrals and pathways forward  to ensure our Māori tamariki are “enjoying education success as Māori” (Kahikitia 2008-2012).

Our aims for our tamariki are driven by the Ministry of Education document Ka Hikitia Managing For Success: The Maori Education Strategy 2008-2012 where it states that in order to ensure Māori are enjoying educational success as Māori the system needs to fit the student rather than the student fitting the system. In order for this approach to be successful it requires students, educators, families, whanau, iwi communities and government to work together in partnership and learn from each other . “Through personalising learning we will get improved presence, engagement and achievement” (Ka Hikitia 2008-2012).

We are working towards making positive connections with local iwi, community members, whanau and other professionals to ensure the needs of our Māori students are being meet.

We aim to up skill and enhance the knowledge and understanding of our fellow RTLB  in  working with Māori students and their whanau and to increase awareness of tikanga and te reo Māori.


Mā te mohio, ka marama

Through knowledge, there is understanding


Updated Te Whāriki online

The updated Te Whāriki includes two documents in one flip book: Te Whāriki: He whāriki mātauranga mō ngā mokopuna o Aotearoa Early childhood curriculum and Te Whāriki a te Kōhanga Reo. This presentation clearly shows the unique indigenous curriculum pathway for children in kōhanga reo. […]

Pasifika Focus Group

alofa Lava, Kia Oraana, Malo e leilei, Ni sa bula vinaki and fakalofa lahi atu,


The Pasifika group consists of Di Rose, Sharyn Gibbens and Leanne Greep. We are a resource for the wider Nelson Bays cluster RTLBs with a goal to support our Pasifika students in schools and their fono. One of the goals is to bring Pasifika Cultural insight to SENCOs and teachers in our region. This builds on the two day professional development RTLB from West Coast, Marlborough and Nelson Bays received in term 4, 2013.

We are fortunate to have had Di Rose taking a sabbatical dedicated to raising achievement levels for Pasifika students in our Nelson Bays Cluster.

Raising achievement levels for Pasifika students is a regional priority, part of our strategic plan and is also a national priority.

Cilla McMillian of Cook Island descent is a valued member of our Nelson Bays RTLB Advisory group. Cilla runs the malamalama/homework group at Hampden Street Primary. Making connections with our key Pasifika people in our communities is highly valued and we are fortunate to have made some good connections and will continue to build on these relationships.


A fi vave oo lou va’a, alo na o ‘oe, ae a fia tuli mamao

le taunu’uga tatou ‘alo’alo faatasi

If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together

An important Samoan proverb.


Tofa soifua



Refugee and ESOL Focus Group

RTLB role with English Language Learners

Migrant and refugee background students with special education needs, including those who receive ESOL funding, are entitled to special education services available in New Zealand schools. They would need to meet the eligibility criteria for that particular service, for example:

  • RTLB and RT Lit support
  • Speech language therapy
  • ORS funding.

International fee-paying students are not eligible for these services.

The Bilingual Assessment

A bilingual assessment can distinguish whether an ESOL student has language learning needs or additional special learning and social/emotional needs, through a dual assessment in their first language and English.

The Migrant, Refugee, and International Education Team at the Ministry of Education has trained RTLB as lead bilingual assessors. The RTLB: Lead Assessors work with a bilingual assistant in the child’s first language to determine if further support is needed for the student over and above the language learning needs. This may include learning and behaviour support by a RTLB. Lead Assessors are spread across the regions and assess students across clusters.

Visit Bilingual Assessment Service (BAS) for further information including eligibility, frequently asked questions, and application forms on the Ministry of Education website.

In the NBRTLB Cluster we have a Bilingual Assessor available.  Please discuss any enquiries around Bilingual Assessments initially with your school Liaison RTLB or with Cluster Manager Lyn Evans.


Early Intervention Transition to School Focus Group

This focus group was established to

  • Ensure that for children who are vulnerable and have been receiving support from MOE Early Intervention service are best supported as they transition to the school setting
  • Develop a closer working relationship between MOE and RTLB to best support these transitions.
  • Build positive, supportive relationships with parents as their children transition to school to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Support New Entrant teachers to develop their practice to best support children as they transition from ECE to the school setting.

Regular meetings are held between MOE and RTLB to ensure children’s transitions to school are well planned in a timely manner to ensure all necessary support is activated.  Transition Action Plans are developed by the team supporting the child and transition to school is monitored carefully by the RTLB.

Termly New Entrant Teacher Hui’s are held once per term to develop a learning community of NE teachers for professional growth and professional networking.

Early Intervention transition RTLB team are:-

Sue Fallows

Helen Talbot

Dan Haynes

Kelvin Hardaker

Nicky Mason

Melanie Saville

Kirsty Griffiths


Resource Link: EI Project Powerpoint Presentation


Updated Te Whāriki online

The updated Te Whāriki includes two documents in one flip book: Te Whāriki: He whāriki mātauranga mō ngā mokopuna o Aotearoa Early childhood curriculum and Te Whāriki a te Kōhanga Reo. This presentation clearly shows the unique indigenous curriculum pathway for children in kōhanga reo. […]

Vulnerable Children Act 2014 A practical guide for Early Childhood Education Services, Ngā Kōhanga Reo, Playgroups, Schools and Kura

We are fortunate to have RTLB Kirsty Griffith travelling to Canada during Term 2 2017 for a sabbatical where she’ll be looking at FASD. She’ll be bringing back a lot of new knowledge to share with the rest of our RTLBs and schools in Term 3.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a term used to describe a range of significant adverse effects on development when alcohol is consumed during pregnancy.  FASD is a brain-based neurodisability that can include physical abnormalities.

International prevalence studies suggest FASD is conservatively estimated to occur in at least 1 out of every 100 live births and may be much higher in communities where binge and hazardous use of alcohol is prevalent.  This would equate to around 600 children born each year with FASD.  No research has confirmed the prevalence in New Zealand but it is thought the numbers could be substantially higher due to hazardous drinking patterns [1].

FASD is linked to primary disabilities, those that are the direct toxic effect of alcohol altering cellular development.  The brain and nervous system are affected the most because they are under construction throughout the pregnancy, leading to lifelong cognitive, functional and emotional difficulties.  Binge drinking (4+ Units per occasion) can increase the risk of physical problems and unusual facial features during the first trimester.  When learning and functional needs are not adequately understood and appropriately supported, FASD can lead to secondary disabilities such as mental health disorders, educational and social problems.

FASD is recognised as the leading preventable cause of intellectual disability in the developed world, but full IQ scores can vary, with most being in the borderline to average IQ range. However other aspects of brain function are often found to be much lower than measured IQ would indicate, such as language, memory, executive and adaptive functioning. FASD is therefore described as a hidden or invisible disability. FASD without physical symptoms can often be misdiagnosed.  Accurate diagnosis requires a specialised, multidisciplinary assessment.  New Zealand (and Australian) clinics able to assess for FASD follow the Canadian Guidelines for Diagnosis[2].

Though significant research continues into understanding the effects of alcohol on the fetus, attention has turned to the long-term outcomes and best practice interventions. New Zealand has very few specialist diagnostic centres and little research and consequently FASD remains significantly under-recognised and the needs of the affected individual and their families unaddressed.