RTLB Newsletter 5.04.19                                                                  RTLB Website link


Request for Support Database Version 2 (Schoolgate)

Anthony Morse from Schoolgate who created the referrals database for all clusters, came to Auckland recently to assist us with the change-over to the updated version.  There are a number of changes which enable RTLB to access and analyse data more effectively.  We have noticed that schools, especially SENCos have adapted well to these changes with support from their liaison RTLB.  We welcome any further queries from schools as it is important to us that there are no barriers to you requesting support.  There are more areas for the RTLB to become familiar with so it is a work in progress, but we are pleased with what we can now see and do.

Summary of Requests for Support Term One 

This term we have responded to 92.5% of our 67 schools through either individual referrals or through projects.  61.6% of the referrals are for individual students, 25.6% are for school projects or work with groups of students.  We have a project with one Kahui Ako and work such as the Incredible Years programmes make up the remaining 12.5%.  The majority of individual referrals are for learning, or learning and behaviour with 11.2% of referrals for behaviour.  At this stage of the year the number of requests for support for students in years three and four (50) slightly tips the requests for students in years one and two (47), followed closely by requests for students in years five and six (46).

Bilingual Assessment Referrals

Five RTLBs underwent training to do Bilingual Assessments at the end of 2018.  This has increased our capacity to do this work which will mean that we will be able to action these referrals more quickly. Six bilingual assessments have been allocated to RTLB this term.

Project work in schools

Whanake Te Kakano

At present, there are 4 schools engaged in Te Kakano. The two workshops in all of these schools have been completed and the teachers are busy implementing the strategies into their daily programme.  Teachers found the RTLB support to analyse assessment data useful in providing a starting point for specific teaching of phonological and phonemic awareness.  RTLB have been impressed with the motivation shown by teachers and look forward to measuring student progress early next term. We are in the process of organising the first parent information session around phonological awareness and are keen to share knowledge with whanau while strengthening home-school partnerships.


The team has facilitated professional learning around supporting students with ASD in 4 schools this year with several more booked in.  For one of the sessions a group of teachers and school leaders came to our offices for a half day targeted at supporting a student with higher needs.  Background information around the challenges faced by students with ASD was provided along with Evidence-Based  Strategies to support students with ASD, and a management plan was drafted.  Feedback was very positive around both content and presentation.

Specific Learning Difficulties / Dyslexia

The RTLB team has facilitated professional learning in four schools this term, and dates have been arranged for a further five schools over the coming weeks.  We have had very positive feedback from the presentations we have done.  Some of the schools have requested follow up workshops.

RTLB Presenting Professional Learning at Western Springs College

On the 12th March,  RTLB were invited to participate in professional learning workshops for the whole teaching staff, teacher assistants and leadership of Western Springs College.  We presented four workshops: Differentiation, Inclusion, ASD and Dyslexia.  Seven RTLB presented. The presentations were very well received and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.  

Project for SENCo New to the Role

Because a number of schools have SENCos who are new to the role this year,  we set up a project to provide support. This is coordinated by Karena Leask and Diana Mobberley.  The fortnightly sessions focus on becoming familiar with the range of ways our service can assist SENCos in their role, extending their understanding of ways to support students inclusively and sharing their experiences of the SENCo role.  A further outcome of the project  is that these SENCos are able to form support networks with each other.

Kahui Ako


A project under the literacy and learning aspect of the National Science Challenges, A Better Start has been confirmed for the primary Schools in Waitemata.  The project, led by Gail Gillon and Brigid McNeill will start in mid 2019.  Final arrangements for RTLB involvement in the latter part of the project are currently being discussed. As a result of the success of the professional learning afternoon at Western Springs College, RTLB have been approached about the possibility of running a series of similar workshops for the Kahui Ako. We look forward to seeing this progress.

We were also pleased to host Kahui Ako Waitemata SENCo at our offices on the 28th March.


We are continuing the Learning Support /RTLB between service transition process developed in the trial schools in the Puketapapa Kahui Ako in 2018. We shared the process at The Puketapapa Kahui Ako SENCo’s meeting last year. They agreed to extending the process to include other schools in the Puketapapa Kahui Ako. This Learning Support/RTLB between service transition process will continue in 2019.

Catherine Lightfoot from Learning Support has initiated discussions with the Puketapapa Kahui Ako about development of a shared Learning Support and RTLB referral system for behaviour referrals..

Incredible Years Workshops

Incredible Years Programme for Teachers

Three IYT programmes are currently underway and will take place over Terms 1 and 2.  The response has been wonderful with almost 20 schools registering teachers to be part of the Incredible Years Teacher programme. If you are interested in your teachers participating in these workshops (Terms 3 and 4)  please register your interest by emailing:  isabellaj@rtlb7.school.nz

Incredible Years Programme for Parents

We are facilitating the Incredible Years Parents programme at two schools, May Road and Freemans Bay.  This is a 14 session programme. Our programme facilitators are Grace Harrison and Paula Were.

Cluster Forums

Primary SENCo Forum

Our first primary SENCo Forum of the year took place on Thursday 28 March. 17 SENCOs attended the session.  At this forum there were two guest presenters from our school community;  Mary Rea from Balmoral School and Bridget Lummis from Freemans Bay School. They focused on a request from the SENCOs which was Learning Support Assistant Appraisals.

Secondary SENCo Forum

The termly secondary SENCo Forum was held on Wednesday 27 March.  The chosen discussion topic for the forum is differentiation in our schools with a focus on inclusion.  The Epsom Girls Grammar HOD Learning Support shared her journey of how she differentiated in the secondary classroom.  She also outlines the process where at Epsom Girls Grammar some departments are linking differentiation into their professional learning goals.

Evaluations of Service

We really value the effort schools go to when they provide us with evaluations as cases close. The evaluations are sent automatically through the database to schools and parents.  The four comments or responses involve feedback about effective working relationships, interventions planned together, effective strategies that supported their students; and how to improve the effectiveness of our service.  This helps us to ensure we are meeting schools’ needs throughout the year.  These evaluations are shared with RTLB by Practice Leaders. We also appreciate schools contacting us with feedback at any time.

RTLB Staff Updates

Four new RTLBs started with our cluster this year.  They are Maree , Kerensa Robertson, Aneesa  and Sally Bierens.

This week we farewelled two of our staff, Ina and Kobus who have been with us for four years.  They have taken up RTLB positions in Cluster 9 which is a lot closer to their home.  We will miss their input especially as Kobus was the creator of our websites and Ina was instrumental in our very good Assistive Technology interventions for children. They both established the Google Read and Write projects that we have running in many schools.  This work will be continued on through the RTLB Read Write team led by Lavinia Robins.

Ministry Reporting

We submitted our Strategic Plan, Annual Report and Staffing Report to the Ministry on March 30th. The  RTLB Cluster Financial Report for 2017 has been completed and is currently under review by Auditors.  This is due at the Ministry at the end of May.

In-Class Support (ICS) and Learning Support

Cluster 7 currently has 169 students receiving In-Class Support funding. This provides teacher aide support to facilitate the inclusion of students who have ongoing learning needs. Each student receives 5 hours of teacher aide time for the current year.

The next round for ICS funding, co-ordinated by Learning Support (MOE) will take place at the end of 2019.

Health and Wellbeing

Like you we have been very affected by the tragic massacre in Christchurch.  We have put a link to resources for managing trauma and grief on our website so that schools can access these both now and in the future. These were shared with us by NZEI and Oranga Tamariki.

At the beginning of the year as part of our professional development programme we were privileged to hear Dr Tony Fernando who is a psychiatrist, sleep specialist, senior lecturer in psychological medicine at the University of Auckland. Tony’s messages outlined through a discussion on the science of happiness made a strong impression on cluster RTLBs and set a very positive tone for the coming year.  

Our continual focus is on how we can best support you in your work with students.  We work hard to be well tuned to the situations in your schools so that we can creatively problem solve with you and find effective solutions.  We are always very open to invitations from you for discussions which will further your work so please contact either your liaison RTLB, the Practice Leader who is responsible for your school or the Cluster Manager.  Contact details are on the website.

Julia Langford/Jennifer Browne

Cluster Manager/s