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Introduction to professional practice

This section of the toolkit describes what RTLB practice looks like. It describes how this practice helps schools/kura and Kāhui Ako effectively support students to learn, achieve and reach their potential. Through a common understanding of and appreciation for RTLB practice, everyone with a role in their RTLB cluster can ensure the service contributes to realising the Ministry of Education's priority of improving outcomes for all children and young people.

RTLB teams (also known as 'clusters') are groups of itinerant, fully-registered specialist teachers who have the training and skills to provide the RTLB service. RTLB work with teachers and schools/kura and Kāhui Ako to find solutions that support children and young people with substantial barriers to learning and build teacher and school inclusive practice capability. 

Each cluster has an allocated number of RTLB positions and a professional leadership structure (cluster manager and practice leaders) that ensures all RTLB provide an effective, quality service to cluster schools/kura and Kāhui Ako.  

RTLB are responsible for providing the RTLB service in cluster schools/kura and Kāhui Ako in accordance with the RTLB Professional Practice Toolkit. The Board will ensure  the Government’s priorities and the Ministry’s annual service priorities and service expectations are embedded in the work of the service. They are listed in the RTLB Funding Agreement.

RTLB practice is in accordance with the principles in the three articles of the Treaty of Waitangi:

  • partnership (article one) by working effectively with iwi and other Māori providers involved with a student  
  • protection (article two) by valuing children as tāonga
  • participation (article three) by ensuring whānau and families have the opportunity to participate in the process.

The key stakeholders in the RTLB service include:

  • cluster schools/kura and Kāhui Ako who represent their communities, including:
    • their teachers and students
    • their families and whānau
    • their iwi and Māori parents/community
    • their Pasifika parents/community
    • RTLB
    • the local Ministry of Education who represents:
      • Learning Support
      • Early Childhood Education (ECE).

Some expectations about the RTLB role 

There are core beliefs that underpin RTLB work:

  • the most effective way to make gains for students is by focusing on student potential rather than on student underachievement
  • RTLB see their case work as teaching and learning opportunities not as student problems
  • the curriculum can be differentiated, and classroom programmes adapted, to meet the needs of all children and young people within an inclusive schooling environment.

RTLB support facilitates change through:

  • effective teaching practices that respond to the context
  • excellent knowledge of effective teaching and learning
  • a commitment to inclusive education
  • a commitment to achievement for all
  • working alongside others to provide practical support and advice
  • adhering to the principles of RTLB practice
  • following the sequence of RTLB practice
  • keeping students’ need and achievement at the centre of any service provided
  • maintaining trusting, professional relationships within cluster schools/kura, Kāhui Ako and with parents/whānau, communities and community agencies.

A word about the bigger picture

RTLB contribute to the Ministry of Education’s vision to see all children and students succeed personally and achieve educational success. 

The Ministry’s Four Year Plan 2016-2020: Plan on a Page states:

We will see higher and more equitable levels of participation, engagement, achievement enabled by:

  • Better tailoring. Responsive educational services which meet the needs and raise the aspirations of all children and students.
  • Better targeting of investment, resources, support and expertise to drive innovation and improve results.
  • More effective collaboration at all levels to raise achievement.
  • Better, more relevant educational pathways through the education system and beyond into the workplace and society.
  • More evidence-based decision-making by parents, teachers, leaders, providers and Government.

The New Zealand Curriculum sets out a vision for all of our young people to become confident, connected, actively involved lifelong learners.

Schools/kura and Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako are responsible for the educational achievements of all children and young people, with support from the Ministry of Education and other education services, agencies and organisations. Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour is one of these services.

The board of trustees will ensure the cluster prioritises services to support the achievement of Māori and Pasifika students and to support inclusive practices in schools/kura. The board will also ensure the Government’s priorities and the Ministry’s annual service priorities and service expectations are embedded in the work of the service.

What culturally responsive means

Working with Māori, working with Pasifika, working with all cultures

The terms ‘culturally responsive’ and ‘culturally appropriate’ are used. This is about RTLB understanding a student’s history, customs and world view and working in a genuine partnership with parents/whānau and families. Ministry documents and plans that inform working in a culturally responsive way include:

The higher-level principles within these documents can also be applied to effective teaching and practice for the many other cultures present in our New Zealand schools/kura and Kāhui Ako.