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RTLB transformation 2012

In September 2010, the then Minister of Education, Anne Tolley, directed the Ministry of Education to transform the RTLB service to make it more efficient and effective.

Transformation ideas and aims

Two important ideas were at the core of the transformation.

1. That RTLB can be more effective in helping students with learning and behaviour needs to participate to their fullest potential.

2. That people and funds can be managed to the highest standard possible.

The RTLB transformation aim:

  • improve quality of management and practice with clear goals
  • provide consistent quality of service throughout New Zealand
  • clarify and streamline expectations within the education sector
  • ensure appropriate use of RTLB, that is, not as extra teachers
  • target resources to areas of greatest need
  • increase the impact of RTLB
  • improve professional leadership opportunities
  • provide better opportunities for professional development for RTLB
  • provide career pathways for RTLB
  • ensure opportunities for RTLB to specialise, for example, Māori, Pasifika, or special education needs.

To achieve this, the Ministry worked with the education sector and RTLB to develop the new service and plan the transformation process. The Ministry ensured that the process was transparent and all interested parties (for example, RTLB, other stakeholders, parents and children) were kept informed about the transformation. They published feature articles in the Education Gazette during 2011 to keep the sector informed.

During May and June 2011, the Ministry ran a series of hui throughout the country for principals and RTLB. Additionally, the TKI website provided information about the background of the transformation, along with continuous updates. There was a 'questions and answers' section where interested parties could request and receive additional information.

Transformation in progress

Minister Tolley set the design brief and programme timeline for the transformation (see Programme Timeline.pdf  105 kB ). Initially, the Ministry set up two working groups, a Principals' working group and a Practitioners' working group, and invited key educational groups such as PPTA and NZEI to provide nominations for both groups (see Principals\' and Practitioners\' Working Group.pdf  125 kB ). They considered all nominations and chose members who represented all possible interests. A third group, the Ministry’s Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) reference group, provided the governance for the transformation. Representatives from the following organisations were also a part of this group:

  Principals’ Council
NZEI New Zealand Educational Institute
NZSTA New Zealand School Trustees Association
NZPF New Zealand Principals' Federation
NZSPC The New Zealand Secondary Principals' Council
PPTA Post Primary Teachers’ Association
SPANZ Secondary Principals’ Association of New Zealand
ECC Early Childhood Council
AE Alternative Education

The design phase of the transformation ran from September 2010 until July 2011. During this time the two working groups provided advice to the PB4L sector reference group. These groups worked collaboratively with the Ministry and had input into every decision.

The Principals' working group

The purpose of the Principals’ working group was to provide advice on how the changes could be managed with minimal disruption to the service. In a discussion paper from the February 2011 meeting, the principals outlined the problems in the service delivery that needed to be addressed. They discussed ways to reallocate funding and RTLB positions so there was a more equitable provision of the service. This meant those with the greatest need would receive support, for example, groups such as Māori and Pasifika students and schools in isolated and rural locations. The Principals’ working group proposed a reallocation formula based on:

  • needs
  • population
  • decile
  • Māori students
  • Pasifika students
  • isolation factors.

The Ministry adopted this formula.

The Practitioners' working group

The Practitioners’ working group advised on effective practice and the best ways to improve support to teachers and students. This group discussed the important characteristics of effective RTLB and the underlying principles of a transformed service. They also discussed practice models for RTLB issues, such as career pathways for RTLB and minimum qualification requirements. In May 2011 the two working groups had a joint meeting. Some of the key messages from this meeting related to the design of the service, support systems, transition issues, and policies and procedures (see Principals\' and Practitioners\' Working Group.pdf  125 kB ).

The 2012 RTLB Clusters

As a result of recommendations from the Principals' and Practitioner's working groups, the Ministry of Education restructured the clusters and reduced the number from 200 to 40 (see RTLB Clusters for 2012.pdf  50 kB ). Each of these 40 clusters is attached to a lead kura/school and the BOT of each lead kura/school is responsible for the governance and operation of the RTLB service for that cluster. Each cluster is now required to conduct a needs analysis to inform the cluster’s future practice and decision-making.

The application process for the lead kura/school in each cluster began in September 2011. Any school in the cluster area was entitled to apply (by using the Lead School application form.pdf  40 kB ). The Ministry appointed the lead kura/schools by November. From December 2011 the lead kura/schools began appointing their cluster managers and practice leaders. The cluster managers have overall responsibility for the day-to-day management and coordination of the service across the cluster. This role will enhance the RTLB service and contribute to improved outcomes for schools, students, and teachers. Practice leaders are RTLB with additional responsibilities for professional supervision, performance reviews, and leading teams that focus on specialist areas, for example, Māori education.

The new RTLB cluster system started at the beginning of 2012. The Ministry of Education has an ongoing relationship with clusters and provides staffing, funding, and support. For the first few years of the new system, this support will include organising quarterly cluster manager forums, annual practice leader forums, and ongoing communication with clusters. The expectation is that schools and students will receive improved support through the transformed service.

For information of the RTLB clusters, go to The RTLB service.

RTLB Timeline

RTLB Timeline (PDF, 279 KB)