RTLB Newsletter 26.06.19                                                                  RTLB Website link


Summary of Requests for Support Term Two


As term two has progressed we have continued to receive a high level of referrals taking our current total of allocated referrals to 345 referrals.  RTLBs have been working hard to keep on top of the referrals so as to minimise the waiting time.  Our aim is to allocate as many referrals as possible before the end of this term to ensure that these students have substantial input from our service before the end of the year.  We are currently working in 65 of our 67 schools where 46.4 percent of the referrals are for learning, 38.6 per cent for learning and behaviour and 15 per cent for behaviour.  Most individual referrals are for year two students (41) followed by referrals for year six students (29).


Learning Support Funding

We very much appreciate the way that you ensure that teachers and SENCos attend the RTLB meetings which are key to our work, as we understand how challenging this can be with staff shortages and illness.  In recognition of this we will be sending you an invoice for $300 from the Learning Support Fund.  This is to cover one day of teacher/SENCo release which we hope will help in your ongoing work supporting students with behaviour and learning challenges.

RTLB Schools Website

Our website for schools is now being administered by Pippa Hechter who has started to consolidate the wealth of resources shared into a user friendly platform.  The new look and simplicity of access is already increasing page visits and stats around interaction with content are looking really good. We are regularly updating the website and are interested in your comments for improvement.  LINK to RTLB7 Website

Bilingual Assessment Referrals

We have six RTLB who are currently completing Bilingual Assessments in our schools. In May, we ran professional learning session for all RTLB so they understand the Bilingual Assessment process, criteria and documentation. Bilingual assessment referrals are coming in steadily.

We have recently had a professional learning session on using Dual Language books to support our Pasifika students.

Project work in schools  

Whanake Te Kakano

RTLB and staff at Mt Albert Primary School have run a parent workshop to support understanding around how parents can support their children’s phonological and phonemic awareness. This is a new aspect of our Whanake Te Kakano project and the aim is to support parents to gain an increased awareness of the importance of phonological awareness in early literacy development. The workshop was well received by the parents with lots of positive feedback.

Feedback from DP:

MAPS has benefited enormously from the Te Kakano Phonological Awareness training and on-going support provided by the RTLB service. The programme has provided teachers with a pedagogical approach to early literacy that is highly compatible with the play-based learning we run with our Year 1s. It has also improved our teachers' confidence and knowledge around the different components of phonological awareness and they are now much more purposeful when running shared and guided reading sessions. The Te kakano training has also upskilled our teacher aides and given them a structure and process to follow when working with small groups.

Two other schools are also participating in the Te Kakano project at present and we look forward to continuing our support with parent workshops.

The chart below shows the gains made by Year 1 and 2 students targeted through this project work.

Me Wawata Tatou  

Me Wawata Tatou is a cluster project where we collaborate with schools to provide specific support in learning for level one learners.  Two RTLBs have been collaborating with a team of teachers working in an Innovative Learning Environment at New Windsor School to support level one learners in writing. The team has analysed the data and developed a comprehensive plan that will support the teachers to provide a differentiated programme. We have two similar projects in Freemans Bay Primary and in Dominion Road School. In Mt. Roskill Primary, we have a team of two RTLB supporting a team of 6 Learning Assistants with developing their knowledge of the writing process and written language moderation.This project aims to support teachers in order to raise achievement for students with very low literacy levels.

ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder

The RTLB ASD team are continuing to work in a number of schools supporting teachers with strategies to support their students.

 A series of three ASD workshops have been completed this year with teachers in two secondary schools and three primary schools. One of the primary schools also had their teacher aides/learning assistants complete the three ASD workshops.

Our ASD team are currently delivering the three ASD workshops in four primary schools and one secondary school. The teachers and teacher aides are attending workshops at the secondary school.

Discussions are underway with four primary schools and one secondary school that are interested in their teachers attending the three ASD workshops later in the year. Another primary school  would like their teacher aides to participate in the three ASD workshops later in the year.

We have received  positive feedback from the schools. They find the Toolbox with information and resources and the practical strategies to be very helpful.


Specific Learning Disorder / Dyslexia 

The SpLD team have had a high demand for Professional Learning workshops. This term we have presented a series of 2 workshops at Monte Cecilia School and have presented both to the schools on Waiheke Island and to Grey Lynn school. We focus on supporting teachers with the knowledge, research and evidence based strategies to support the learners in their class with SpLD.

Inclusive Projects

Four RTLB are working with a group of teachers in the English, Science, Mathematics and Social Sciences departments at Epsom Girls Grammar School. The focus is to support and guide teachers to differentiate their programme in order to meet the needs of a diverse range of learners.

The feedback has been positive and is helping to guide RTLB in ensuring that we are effectively meeting the needs of our schools. Some feedback from the teachers on the benefits of the project include:

 “  Becoming more aware of the need to ensure lower-level learners can achieve meaningful learning and feel confident in my class. I think I am beginning to successfully adapt my approach

 “Identifying learners in different levels and targeting resources for the learners.

RTLB and teachers will meet again early in Term 3 to continue working on this project.

Waiheke High School

Five RTLB recently supported Waiheke High School; facilitating workshops based on inclusive practices. Workshops were specifically designed around supporting students with dyslexia and ASD with the additional focus of inclusive pedagogies. School leaders from the primary schools also attended these workshops. The workshops were very well-received and there are plans to create a project to further embed aspects of the workshops into classroom practice.

Professional Learning Opportunity

We have been grateful for the opportunity provided to invite leaders from a number of our secondary schools to attend a Universal Design for Learning seminar with Dr Jon Mundorf on July 23rd.  Dr. Mundorf will discuss the principles of Universal Design for Learning, data informed decision making and collaboration.

Cluster Forums

Primary SENCo Forum

Our Primary SENCos met in week 7 to workshop “Maximising Learning Support Assistants’ Impact and Development”.  The guest presenter at this forum is Sonya Lamb from Mt Roskill Primary School who is the Assistant Principal and SENCo.  

Secondary SENCo Forum

Our Secondary SENCo were invited to come along to the presentation on accessing outside agencies.  This was a great opportunity to keep up to date with other avenues available to support our students.  In addition to this, we held an information morning on June 21st with guest speaker, Paul Smith from NZQA.  Paul shared with the group changes in processes for 2019 with regards to special assessment conditions.  

SENCo Support

As part of a support project we have provided for SENCo who are new to their role, we invited all Primary and Secondary SENCo to a presentation on Outside Agencies.  This presentation looked at who can support our students; how to get support and what support they offer.  Agencies who spoke included  the Kari Centre, Resource Teacher of  Literacy,  Learning Support and Autism NZ.

Kahui Ako


Word from our previous inclusive workshops held at Western Springs College and Waiheke has got around, and RTLB have been requested to run an afternoon symposium for the whole Kahui Ako , teachers and learning assistants. We are expecting approximately 300 participants. Workshops facilitated by RTLB will discuss strategies for Universal Design for Learning, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit and Hyperactive Disorder, Dyslexia and Behaviour. RTLB have also organised for an outside psychologist to present a workshop on anxiety. We are delighted to be able to offer this to our schools.


In the Puketapapa Kahui Ako the RTLB service and Learning support continue to use the Between Service Support process that was developed last year. The rationale for this process is to maximise positive outcomes for students by

When the need arises this process can be extended to more schools in the Kahui Ako.

Incredible Years Workshops

Incredible Years Programme for Teachers

We continue to have strong support and interest from schools for the Incredible Years Teacher Programme.  Many schools are keen to have their teachers IYT trained because the programme not only provides teachers with strong classroom management skills but the principles and strategies frequently support school-wide behaviour systems.

This week we completed three IYT courses for teachers with eighteen schools involved. We had 47 teachers registered for the six workshops over Terms 1 and 2. We are also facilitating courses for teachers in Terms 3 and 4. If you are interested in teachers training in Terms 3 and 4 please express your interest by contacting Isabella Joh (Isabellaj@rtlb7.school.nz).

Cluster 7 ensures sustainability of skills across the cluster through training new facilitators (three this term) and providing a sound coaching platform for ongoing skills enhancement.  

Incredible Years Programme for Parents

Two very successful programmes have just been completed.  Each programme runs for 14 weeks and the facilitators were very appreciative of the commitment from the parents.  Some of the feedback from parents included:

We are facilitating another programme at the beginning of term three.

Learning Support (Ministry of Education) 

Increased communication between Learning Support and RTLB Clusters is one of the goals in the Service Agreement and the National RTLB Strategic Plan.  

Once a term our management team meets with the Learning Support Manager, Jo Davies and a Service Leader, Catherine Lightfoot.  The meetings provide an opportunity for us to become updated with any changes within Learning Support and work that either agency is doing.  We are also able to consider other possibilities for joint actions.  

The Practice Leaders have also begun to meet with Learning Support service managers termly to share cases which overlap and consider how we can work together to provide a more unified service. As an example, there are now a number of joint projects in progress with RTLB and Speech Language Therapists working together in schools with a focus on Oral Language Interventions.

The Maungakiekie Learning Support and Eden Albert Learning Support teams have met with RTLB Teams A and B as they work in many of the same schools. The meetings were to discuss what’s going well, ways to improve collaboration, projects, and ways to work together, share and collaborate.

RTLB Staff Updates

In term three we have a new RTLB joining us.  She is Lisa Sainsbury and has recently been teaching in one of our schools.  Lisa has a wide range of experience in primary schools, both in the classroom and management positions and has extensive experience supporting students with behaviour and learning challenges across all levels.  We are looking forward to her joining our team.

Team challenge and wellbeing - 

One of our RTLB, Tash Crosby,  has recently started a registered charity, Talk Peach. The charity raises awareness around gynaecological cancers. To support Tash, RTLB starting a wellbeing and walking challenge, “Walking for Wāhine” for the month of August. Each RTLB will be adding to a collective number of steps with the aim of walking the equivalent distance from Auckland to Wellington and back again. We will be collecting sponsorship from family and friends. We will also be having wellness sessions on Wednesday mornings around health and well-being.

We thank you for your continued support for the RTLB service through making us feel welcome in your schools, working with us to support the students you refer and through providing us regularly with evaluations of our service.  We want to acknowledge the valuable support that we receive from Wendy Kofoed and the Newmarket Board of Trustees who ensure we have everything we need to work effectively and efficiently.  Please contact us if you have any thoughts about how we can continue to work with well with you.   Contact either your liaison RTLB, the Practice Leader who is responsible for your school or the Cluster Manager.  Contact details are on the website.

Best wishes for a relaxing term break.

Julia Langford/Jennifer Browne

Cluster Manager/s