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Learning Support at Kelburn

At Kelburn Normal School we promote an inclusive culture where students are valued and respected. All students have the opportunity to achieve their potential, and to participate in school life with their peers. We acknowledge that our tamariki all learn in different ways. Many have special abilities and learning needs or are neurodiverse learners, so we aim to provide them with personalised, enhanced, and additional programmes which meet their abilities and needs, and address their wellbeing.


At Kelburn our learning support programme is coordinated by our Special Education Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO - see contact details below). The SENCO together with the home teacher and team leaders is responsible for all students' learning support needs, including talented students, and for organising and overseeing the delivery of any learning support.


The SENCO arranges and supports additional provision for children with difficulties in the following areas:

  • Communication & interaction

  • Cognition & learning

  • Behavioural, emotional & social

  • Sensory & physical

The Purposes and Goals of identifying children with special abilities and needs: 
  • To identify these students, and provide a programme that caters for neurological diversity.

  • To provide a powerful learning culture and differentiated curriculum for all students.

  • To design learning with multiple means of engagement, representation, and expression.

  • To obtain the funding, support, and specialised services required by these students.

  • To work in partnership with parents and whānau.

  • To group children flexibly, according to their learning characteristics, and provide additional learning beyond regular lessons.

  • To make the best use of our resources: our teachers, our community, our technology, and our environment.

  • To enable this group of students, as learners with different perspectives and expertise, to make a positive contribution to the learning with their peers, and the overall learning culture of the school.

  • To build open-ended, social learning cultures which allow children to learn from each other.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What actually is Learning Support?

Some tamariki need extra support with their learning, therefore we identify their need and then try to match additional support.  These additional programmes are either run by a teacher or a learning assistant.  Often the child is given more teacher time and/or learning assistant time individually or in small group work, including specific computer programmes. 


What Learning Support programmes do we mainly use? 

Because of the importance of literacy in all learning, this is the focus for our younger children who need additional support.


How do we identify tamariki for Learning Support?

We identify tamariki needed support through a range of processes which includes dialogue with whānau. The teachers, along with team leaders, analyse data and classroom observations to identify the needs of tamariki.  Teachers use a range of assessment strategies and tools as outlined in the assessment section of the KNS Curriculum.  This identification process happens through four cycles during the year.  Student profile forms are sent home at the beginning of every year to enable parents and whānau to contribute their observations too.  Tamariki needs can be grouped into the following areas: cognition & learning; communication & interaction; behavioural, emotional & social; sensory & physical.  As we are not specialists, and as children’s needs are complex, in some cases, we receive and welcome specialist reports and advice.  


To identify our talented students, we use the system defined above that draws on teachers' knowledge of students. We are aware that some tamariki find testing anxiety-inducing, and they don't necessarily exhibit their talents in a one-off task.  These tamariki may have strengths in a variety of areas, including creativity, artistic performance, sports, thinking, and interpersonal relationships.


The information is gathered and recorded, which enables us to track learners' progress over time and includes tamariki who need additional support or programmes. 


What are the key organisational structures we use to cater for all our tamariki?

Key Practices

At Kelburn Normal, we have a number of key practices which we enact to build a powerful and coherent learning culture, centred on the child having agency and voice.  These strategies work well to cater for our talented students within our everyday learning programmes. Our key practices, especially dialogue, multiple literacies, inquiry, and learning environment, ensure that children are strongly engaged in programmes that address who they are. These programmes are personalised, give them ownership and responsibility, and strengthen their agency and voice so that they become lifelong learners. These practices are aligned with culturally-responsive practices.


Curriculum differentiation is the process of tailoring teaching and creating learning cultures to meet the different learning needs of each learner. At KNS, the differentiation of learning is broken into four key areas:

  1. Learning culture (student-centred, encouraging independence, open, perspectivising, complex, highly mobile and flexible)

  2. Content amplification (abstractness, complexity, variety, study of people, study of methods of inquiry)

  3. Process enhancement (critical thinking and problem-solving, creative thinking, open-endedness, group interaction, variable pacing, variety of learning processes, reflectiveness, choice).

  4. Quality products (authentic problems, real audiences, real deadlines, transformations, appropriate evaluation)


The main teaching strategies used to differentiate the learning are:

  • individual or personalised learning pathways - allowing individualised and student-negotiated programs that establish coherence and build expectations.

  • learning conversations - allowing student negotiation, control, and review to build the key competencies and learning to learn.

  • flexible grouping strategies – setting up children to work with and belong to groups of "like minds", and encouraging a variety of group interactions beyond functional groupings.

  • connected and authentic contexts of learning- the rich curriculum, including real life and future focus.


Universal Design of Learning

This pedagogy aligns with our key practices and curriculum differentiation by following three overarching principles: multiple points of engagement, multiple means of representation, and multiple means of expression. In other words, children engage with learning according to who they are, encounter a variety of learning resources and materials, and articulate their learning in different ways as well. 


Performing Arts Ensembles

Each of these ensembles has its own learning culture.  Each operates differently from much classroom learning.  Some children thrive by contributing to, and participating in these ensembles.  We identify and support a number of children to join in who may not otherwise have come forward.


Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC)

Our children thrive from learning in out-of-school environments, and EOTC enriches the learning of children with special needs or abilities. From trips to the rocky shore to a week in the Gryphon Theatre, many varieties of learning and environments are available. Regular school camps/overnight stays from year 3 are an essential way of ensuring learning is engaging and inclusive, and address diverse learners.


Do we encourage the use of technology/apps/websites? (eCompetencies)

Digital environments enable tamariki to practise important skills, extend their learning, engage in varieties of learning, and discover possibilities and affordances.  For neurodiverse children, online learning and apps become a key part of learning support and allow them to develop their capacity to learn. 


What about our English Language Learning (ELL) students?

Tamariki who are speakers of another language and need support in learning English are provided with extra English lessons, either individually or in groups by our ELL teacher, Liz Brown. More information for our international students and our ELL programme can also be found here.


How many tamariki are involved?

Around 33% of children have been catered for at some stage at Kelburn through our Learning Support programme, across all eight year groups. We track and support both children with talents or who require additional support over time. 


What are our ongoing Learning Support processes?

Once a child has been identified as needing additional support, either individually or in a group, an intervention plan is completed with the goals and the intervention/programme or activities for the teacher or learning assistant. An intervention cycle lasts for ten weeks and is reviewed at the end of the ten weeks with evaluation and assessment notes made on the intervention plan.


If a child receives additional support (Learning Support or ELL), their parents are notified; this includes the ten-week intervention cycle.   


How do we communicate with Parents/Whānau?

  • An email/letter is sent to the parents of students receiving additional support or TA support at the beginning of the year, and an email or phone call is made if the student is on a subsequent cycle within the same year.

  • Parents and whānau have been alerted to learning needs through 3-Way Conversations and goal setting sheets, as well as to how to support at home.

  • Teachers may hold a meeting with the parents and whānau to explain how their child is being supported in the class programme and about any extra follow-up home learning that is needed.

  • Record of parent/caregiver meetings recorded on eTap. 

Are staff involved in Professional Learning?

Aside from our vigorous in-school professional learning, teachers and learning assistants identify areas they would like to develop through their coaching discussions and attend courses relevant to the needs of tamariki. This information is then shared with their teams through team hui and discussions. 

How are we staffed to provide the programme? 

Currently, we employ four skilled learning assistants, two who work on learning support and two who support children in their daily learning environment. Our ELL teacher is employed two days a week. Please also refer to the details on our SENCO on the top of this page.

Learning Support Policies and Procedures

Policies and procedures related to our Learning Support can be found on our SchoolDocs Website - choosing Curriculum and Student Achievement then Learning Support in the left hand menu.

KNS School Docs:
Username:  kelburn
Password:  normal

Copyright: Except where stated, the content on this site is the copyright of SchoolDocs Ltd. It may not be reproduced without written permission from SchoolDocs Ltd.

For your child's individual needs please contact their home teacher in the first instance.

For further information you can also contact:


Danielle Sanders

our SENCO (Special Education Needs Co-ordinator)

and Deputy Principal

Fern Plant






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