National Coordinators’ Report
11 June2012

Tena koutou katoa

Traditionally the cut off point for those receiving messages from the Association has been the end of Term 1. Within the first term, all members have received emails and been eligible to attend Regional Meetings but after that time, communication has been restricted to those who have paid their fees. However, due to the fact that transformation has cut a swathe through the old clusters and created new ones, we have had some teething troubles creating a new data base. If you have not received an invoice, please email the Treasurer, Kris Purden at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and she will send you one. From next week, Regional Coordinators will be able to finalise their lists of members. Thank you to all the managers who have arranged cluster payment for their RTLB to become members. Just as principals have the fees of their professional organisation paid, so many managers have made similar arrangements for RTLB. For RTLB who have not been supported in this way by their management structure, we thank you for paying your own membership. It makes fiscal sense as Conference attendance is much cheaper for members than for non-members.

If you have attended a Regional Meeting recently, you will have heard that at the Hui, the Executive discussed the future direction of the Association. It is your professional association so we need your input. To obtain this, a survey will come out shortly that we would like you to complete. If this transformation is indeed going to make our service ‘better than before,’ we need you to contribute. We are at the ‘chalk face’ so who better to comment on the issues and how the service should look? We need to know from you how we, as an association, can offer and provide support. There is a danger that with the 40 clusters of managers, the voice of the individual RTLB may be lost. The NZRTLB Association is able to provide a regional snapshot of how the service is operating. As we know, one of the major drivers behind the transformation of the service was to gain consistency in service delivery. So far this goal is still aspirational. There is both regional and cluster variation in service delivery. Close communication between regions, RTLB and managers can help us achieve the aim of consistency in management and operation and ‘success for all.’

The NZRTLB Association is continuing to have a voice in issues pertaining to Special Education. We are very ably represented on the SLS & RTLB Amalgamation Reference Group by Kris Purden and Louise Palalagi. Louise wears the dual hat of RTLB Association Exec member and Maori Caucus co- chair. Key messages from the reference group meeting have been posted on TKI.

Your voice is also important in the debate over the future of the four Residential Special Schools. As you probably know, the deadline for feedback is 5pm Friday 15th June.  Details are on www.minedu.govt.nz You can also email the Ministry at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it You can also call 0800 776 552. Another point of contact specific to Salisbury is http://www.salisbury.school.nz/have-your-say/

The last few weeks have been tumultuous for the education sector. The debate over class size, teacher quality and performance pay is one that has raged in most staffrooms. Although the research referred to by John Hattie has been touted by the government as proof that class size is not an issue, this has not resonated with teachers or parents. John Hattie contends that it is the way teachers engage with and teach their students, that has the greatest effect. He has long maintained that money should be put into professional development for teachers. Many RTLB are providing just such professional development through MoE programmes such as Incredible Years. The RTLB service was created to help teachers support students with needs in learning and behaviour. However, some managers have alluded to problems stretching their budget to provide professional development for their RTLB. RTLB must have access to good professional development so they in turn can provide support to teachers. This makes the NZRTLB Association even more important as a body which can provide targeted professional development through Leaning Forums and Regional Meetings.

Another hot topic is the Year 11-13 funding. This is proving a contentious issue for many secondary schools. The money allotted now, is perceived as a drastic cut in some clusters where funds were dispersed equitably and in accordance with the Policy and Toolkit. Even though the rationale behind the change is the fact that previously this budget was underspent, it is cold comfort to those clusters which operated in a fiscally responsible way and where the funding was used to support students with special needs.

John M Richardson Jnr said, ‘When it comes to the future there are three kinds of people: those who let it happen, those who make it happen and those who wonder what happened.’ Although we may sometimes wonder about certain aspects of the transformation, we certainly are the people who make it happen. That is our mandate and our challenge.

Na maua ra

Belinda Kusabs                                  &                          Hahona Paraki
National Co-ordinator                                                   National Co-ordinator Maori