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RTLB practice sequence

RTLB follow a structured process which includes three main phases:

1. Pre-Request for support 

2. Request for Support - Prioritisation and Allocation

3. Practice sequence

A structured process ensures:

  • everyone involved understands how the RTLB service works
  • the reason for the request for support is well understood
  • roles and responsibilities are clarified and understood
  • evidence is gathered and analysed
  • ākonga outcomes can be identified, planned for, implemented, monitored and measured
  • strategies and interventions can be implemented, monitored and effectiveness measured.

Pre-Request for Support

Each cluster has a system for communicating regularly with every school in the cluster. RTLB support schools/kura and Kāhui Ako to identify needs and appropriate requests for support. This may be facilitated by a liaison RTLB.

During this phase, RTLB:

  • ensure they are familiar with the learning support needs policies and procedures within each school/kura and Kāhui Ako
  • assist schools/kura and Kāhui Ako to explore various pathways for building inclusive practices
  • clarify the need with the teacher/s/kaiako in the school requesting support
  • may support schools/kura and Kāhui Ako to to complete requests for support
  • keep schools informed of the status of requests for support.

Request for Support (Prioritisation and Allocation)

Each cluster has a process that ensures there is equitable access to the RTLB service. Each cluster, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education’s learning support service, has an equitable system for prioritising and allocating requests for support on a regular basis.

Requests for support must fit within the RTLB scope of practice and:

  • are focused on either:
    • individual student learning/behaviour
    • groups of students’ learning/behaviour or
    • schools’/groups of schools’ including Kāhui Ako’s - inclusive practices

RTLB will verify consent has been obtained from the relevant stakeholders including parents/whānau; and when appropriate, the ākonga concerned (for individual cases).

Note: Informed consent is an on-going process in which a person can provide consent for specialist activities. Informed consent implies: having enough information to make a decision, the information is understood, the person is able to make a choice and is competent to decide, and is not forced or pushed into deciding (coercion or pressure). A person needs to know what the choices are, when/how the action is going to happen and what the anticipated outcomes are.

RTLB Practice Sequence

Once the request for support has been prioritised and allocated by the cluster, the RTLB responds by working through the RTLB practice sequence. The steps may not always be followed in order, but rather are followed with flexibility, ensuring that the needs of the learner are at the center, for example sometimes new information may require going back to a previous stage in the sequence.

Improving outcomes for ākonga is central to all RTLB interventions. The focus of interventions may be an individual, a group, a school, or a group of schools/Kāhui Ako.

The collaborative team involved in working through the practice sequence includes RTLB, teachers/kaiako (e.g. class teacher, principal, SENCo/learning support coordinator), parents/whānau, family caregivers and Ministry Learning Support; other agencies may be involved when appropriate.

The 10 step sequence:

  1. Ngā Whakaritenga/Waharoa - Initial meeting
  2. Whaikōrero -Data gathering
  3. Analysis
  4. Hongi/Kai Ngātahi - Goal setting
  5. Planning
  6. Implementation
  7. Review, reflect and refine (monitoring)
  8. Post implementation data gathering/follow up
  9. Whakawātea - Review, reflect (and either move to step 10, or return to earlier step)
  10. Close

Ngā Whakaritenga /Waharoa: Step 1

1. Initial meeting

The purpose of the initial meeting is to develop collaborative relationships, clarify roles and responsibilities and explain the RTLB way of working. There may also be initial contact with parents/whānau and/or caregivers,. They should be engaged, welcomed, empowered and affirmed in their expertise and knowledge of the ākonga throughout the process.

At the initial meeting:

  • consider local/cultural knowledge, school culture, key people, stakeholders
  • the RTLB role is discussed and agreement reached regarding service provision
  • further information is gathered and specific needs are clarified
  • preferred pathways for on-going contact through the intervention are established
  • agreement is reached on what data will be collected, how this will be done, who will do what, and what exit (or closure) will look like.


  • Liaison RTLB facilitates introductions of new RTLB in the school.
  • Listen for the key issues.
  • Consider pathways with key people.

Whaikōrero: Steps 2-3

2. Data gathering

Pre implementation data (baseline information) is gathered in this step and recorded for outcomes reporting purposes. The measures used for gathering pre implementation data and for gathering (post) implementation data (closure information) will be the same.

  • Ensure that authentic voice is sought from ākonga/whānau/kura/hāpori.
  • Consider cultural, academic and social strengths.

Data gathering should be guided by an ecological approach and by evidence-based practice. The process should involve the collaborative team and be culturally responsive.

There should be multiple sources of data gathered. These might include, but are not limited to:

  • observations and interviews including interactions within the classroom and the perspective of the learner/ākonga and parents/whānau
  • functional assessments of behaviour or academic behaviour
  • curriculum-based assessment.
3. Analysis

Analysis should provide a framework for organising and evaluating the gathered data. Through this process, the collaborative team should:

  • evaluate all available data
  • identify the contextual factors influencing ākonga learning
  • identify, define and prioritise key trends
  • develop shared hypotheses
  • keep clear records about the analysis.

Hongi /Kai Ngātahi: Steps 4-8

4. Goal setting

In this step the team will draw on the data and the analysis to:

  • identify, define, prioritise and agree on outcomes
  • identify solutions that will build capacity
  • set Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-framed (SMART) goals targeted at meeting agreed outcomes
  • co-construct a collaborative action plan (CAP) with all stakeholders.
5. Planning

Through shared planning, the collaborative team will consider and evaluate possible, realistic actions, strategies, and programmes that may be appropriate to achieve the desired outcomes. Proposed strategies are evaluated for:

  • cultural responsiveness
  • inclusiveness
  • contextual relevance
  • availability of resourcing
  • capacity for successful implementation
  • relevance to the New Zealand Curriculum or Te Marautanga o Aotearoa
  • strengths-based practice
  • evidence-based practice
  • how new learning can be generalised and sustained. 

Once a strategy is agreed, the team will decide on:

  • implementation
  • roles and responsibilities
  • how progress will be recorded
  • what monitoring will look like
  • the review date.
6. Implementation

All team members contribute to and support the implementation of the agreed plan.

Implementation should:

  • use a culturally responsive approach
  • occur in the context of the environment
  • promote inclusiveness
  • be timely
  • be supported by the all members of the collaborative team
  • be faithful to the agreed plan
  • have progress against set goals regularly recorded
  • identify and address any barriers to successful implementation as they arise
  • include a plan for team review of planned goals and strategies.
7. Review, reflect and refine (monitoring)

RTLB facilitate regular collaborative team monitoring to ensure on-going evaluation of effectiveness and fidelity of implementation. This ensures adherence to the plan and allows for agreed adaptations to be made, if needed.

Factors that could be monitored include:

  • effectiveness/movement towards the attainment of agreed goals and outcomes
  • quality of delivery
  • cultural responsiveness
  • timeliness of delivery
  • impact of the service on Māori and Pasifika achievement
  • generalisation and sustainability of learning
  • modifications needed
  • appropriateness of implementation
  • resourcing
  • the strategies and interventions used.
8. Post implementation data gathering

The measures used for gathering pre and post implementation data (closure information) will be the same as the measures used at Step 2 above. The post implementation data is recorded for outcome reporting purposes. Outcomes data collected at case, cluster and national level provides evidence of the positive impact of RTLB work.

Whakawātea: Steps 9-10

9. Reflect and review

RTLB facilitate collaborative team reflection. The team reviews the intervention and considers whether outcomes were achieved. If not achieved, the team may decide to cycle back to earlier steps in the sequence e.g. data analysis. Celebrations and barriers to success are noted. This process helps:

  • build the practice knowledge of RTLB and other team members
  • inform future interventions
  • identify performance gaps
  • identify the need for professional development
  • identify service provision gaps.
10. Close

The decision as to whether a Request for Support closes should be based on the needs of the learner.  From time to time it is appropriate for Requests for Support to span school years.

The Request for Support may close when:

  • the collaborative team agrees the intervention has led to the agreed outcomes; or
  • it is identified that other pathways other than RTLB support need to be explored
  • the RTLB presents a final summary to the team that records the outcomes of the service.

When cases are closed before completion of the practice sequence, RTLB report on the main reason for case closure:

  • student no longer enrolled
  • student excluded
  • consent withdrawn
  • agreement (of the collaborative team) to close
  • referred on to:
    • Ministry of Education Learning Support services
    • ORS
    • Other agency

A short period of transition support in the new instructional environment or in a new school year is seen as part of the previous year’s case (e.g. 4-5 weeks).  The provision of transition support should not be interrupted by requests for support closing unnecessarily at the end of a school year.

Definition of a case

Definition of a case (PDF, 356 KB)