An RTLB is a Resource Teacher: Learning Behaviour. Around schools and among students they are commonly called RTLBs. An RTLB works within schools giving support and providing assistance to teachers of students who are at risk of not achieving or achieving at a low level because of their learning or behaviour difficulties.

This means an RTLB’s major aim is to improve what a student gains from their education. These students are typically what is called ‘moderate’ learning needs students.

RTLB’s work very closely with the Ministry of Education, Special Education (GSE) specialists and support staff, but are employed by and based in schools.

At present there are over 900 RTLBs working around New Zealand. Each RTLB generally works with a ‘cluster’ of schools. This means he or she does not necessarily work exclusively with students in the one school, but instead works with students in a group of schools situated near one another.

What do they actually do?

An RTLB’s work involves firstly assessing the needs of the student he or she is working with.

This may be

  • by sitting in on classes the students attends and watching his or her behaviour and learning style;
  • assessing student’s work completed/not completed;
  • asking teachers of the student to provide information about behaviour and learning;
  • collecting other information – achievement data, medical records;
  • observing their relationships with their peers.

Once the RTLB has a good handle on how the student learns and any barriers he or she might have to learning, he or she then works on developing a learning programme that aims to overcome these barriers. They can work with the student individually, with groups of students, or with the school system as a whole to accomplish this.

An RTLB’s work may consist of directly teaching, demonstrating a practice to a teacher or teachers of a student and/or providing some teaching strategies that may work for that particular student. He or she then monitors the process and progress of those involved.

Who does an RTLB work with?

An RTLB doesn’t necessarily work with individual students. A group of students may also be referred to an RTLB if their behaviour as a group is hindering their learning.

Typically RTLBs provide support and guidance to students Year 0 – 10 who have ‘moderate’ learning or behaviour difficulties.

The school the student attends, along with the RTLB for their cluster and the GSE manage referrals made about a student and allocate the appropriate support based on their needs.

How does the referral and support process work?

If a school thinks a student needs RTLB help, then they refer the student to a local committee of RTLB who then considers the case and whether or not there is a need for RTLB assistance.

If there is deemed a need, an RTLB is assigned to the student. Sometimes the committee will refer students with especially severe needs to the Ministry of Education, Special Education (GSE).

The RTLB then assesses the students needs (see What do they actually do?)

After collecting information about the student, the RTLB together with teacher/s draft an individual education plan (IEP) for the student. The plan describes the possible learning and behaviour strategies to be used in the student’s classroom and at home. It outlines how the strategies will help raise the student’s achievement.

There are then meetings to ensure everyone involved in the education of that student is ‘up to speed’ with the IEP and their roles. These meetings will include all the people who support a student’s learning and behaviour, including the student, their parents, and the student’s other teachers and other significant agencies.

Who is the RTLB answerable to?

An RTLB is employed by the school’s Board of Trustees and so is obliged to behave as any other employee of the school.

More information

You can find out more information about RTLBs on the TKI website.

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This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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