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Support and resources

Ministry Special Education offices co-ordinate and manage specialist support locally. Special education also provides services directly to schools with students who have the highest level of needs. To learn more, schools should contact their local Ministry special education office or investigate the websites in the resource list.

Specialist teachers

Specialist teachers can work in and with schools in a variety of ways to support inclusion. As well as working with individual students, they may provide professional development and in-school modelling and guidance. The expertise and skills gained can be shared across the school.

Resource teachers: literacy work with teachers and other professionals to provide specific advice and support on effective practice for meeting the needs of year 0–8 students who are considered at risk in acquiring literacy.

Resource teachers: learning and behaviour work with students and teachers to improve educational outcomes for students with learning and/or behavioural difficulties.

Resource teachers: vision provide educational support for vision impaired students from birth to age 21. They work from the 12 visual resource centres managed by the Blind and Low Vision Education Network NZ.

Resource teachers: deaf work with schools to ensure a balance for each hearing-impaired student between language development, adaptation of curriculum content to the level of the learner, and social interaction and participation with peers (for more information, see van Asch Deaf Education Centre and Kelston Deaf Education Centre).

Supplementary Learning Support teachers provide teaching and learning support for students who have significant and ongoing needs but are not eligible for the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme.

Other resources

The Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS) provides additional specialist teacher support for students who have severe communication, behavioural, physical, or complex needs. Specialist teachers in the outreach service from a special or lead school support students who are funded by ORS and are enrolled in their local schools. (See the Education Gazette, 21 November 2011, page 2.)

Regional Health Schools provide outreach teaching services to enable students with severe health needs to transition back to school.

Guiding questions - He pātai

  • How effective are the partnerships between teachers, specialist services, and parents and whānau in your school? In what ways do they ensure the presence, participation, and achievement of students with special needs?

You may wish to use the guiding questions (he pātai) within this resource to inform a self-review process in your school, in conjunction with Appendix 4: Self-review Questions from the Education Review Office’s 2010 national report, Including Students with High Needs.


Education Review Office (2010). Including Students with High Needs. Wellington: ERO.

Ministry of Education (2009). Narrative Assessment: A Guide for Teachers. Wellington: Learning Media.

Ministry of Education (2011). Collaboration for Success: Individual Education Plans (PDF 2.55MB). Wellington: Learning Media.

Ministry of Education (n.d.). National Standards Fact Sheet 10: Special Education Needs.

Ministry of Education (n.d.). Success for All – Every School, Every Child.

Making best use of resources within the school

Schools with a mix of support for their students often find ways to maximise the effectiveness of people’s skills and expertise. Co-ordination and a clear management structure are important, as are strong ownership and support from the board of trustees and the management team. The school’s policies and use of funding need to demonstrate a commitment to inclusion.

Many schools use the Special Education Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) model, which assigns a range of responsibilities to a senior staff member according to the school’s needs. The SENCO often has a teaching and leadership role within the school; this can be key to the successful co-ordination of services, support staff, and programmes.

For many students with special needs, the use of information and communication technologies can open up the world. Special Education and other specialists can advise on how students can access assistive equipment (through the Centre for Assistive Technology) and use tools already in the school (such as computers, electronic whiteboards, and tablets).

Useful resources

For school boards of trustees

For educators

  • IEP Online
    This TKI website contains: information, guidelines, and support for using individual education plans; an online version of Collaboration for Success: Individual Education Plans; tools for educators; and links to related Ministry of Education programmes and initiatives.

Additional resources

Ministry of Education resources online

Alton-Lee, A. (2003). Quality Teaching for Diverse Students in Schooling: Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration (BES). Wellington: Ministry of Education.

Robinson, V., Hohepa, M., and Lloyd, C. (2009). School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why: Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration (BES). Wellington: Ministry of Education.

Practical information about education for parents and carers

Download the full print version: Issue 18: March 2012 (PDF, 2 MB)