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Western Springs College – Ngā Puna O Waiōrea provides an inclusive, culturally responsive and mainstream education environment. The Learning Support Department (LS) is in a centrally located space (Maungakiekie). The LS Department provides a support base for students with a variety of academic and social-emotional learning needs such as Dyslexia, Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, mental health (anxiety), cognitive challenges and other diagnosed/undiagnosed learning needs.

The Inclusive Learning Assistants (ILAs) are highly skilled and experienced in working with students with additional needs. The staff in the Learning Support Department (LS) demonstrate manaakitanga and whanaungatanga to all students. Students’ programmes may include a personalised programme with a mixture of classes in Learning Support and also working in classes alongside their peers, with adaptations to their learning, as appropriate.
Students are encouraged to participate in the full range of school activities, while recognising the particular needs of each individual. The goals include that all students will have the opportunity to experience a range of core and practical subjects; flexible learning programmes that are tailored to individual student learning needs and interests.

There are a range of supports to meet high- and complex- needs students, and moderate-needs students.

High and Complex Needs Students (On-going Resource Students / ORS)

  • Specialist Teacher manages ORS programmes
  • Hauora Plans outline the differentiated programme/support for student
  • Programmes could include  – Life Skills Programme (Years 11 to 13) / Functional Adaptive Movement (FAM) / Raukatauri Music Therapy Programme,Te Kura Pounamu (NZ Correspondence)

Moderate Needs Students

The Learning Support Department provides support for students who may have a moderate needs profile such as Dyslexia, Developmental Coordination Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, and/or other neurodivergent profiles. Students may access funding such as In-Class Support (ICS), Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) and other funding streams. The Learning Support Department offers:

  • Individualised programmes
  • A reduced programme in Maungakiekie whereby students reduce their cognitive overload, access ILA support so they can focus on their homework and assessment tasks.
  • Support with curriculum (in-class and one-on-one)
  • Relationship building with Learning Support Staff to create connection and provide support with well-being
  • Coordination with Heads of Houses and kaiako to support and help inform teacher practice
  • Students may have access to Te Kura Pounamu (Formerly the NZ Correspondence School) and the Supported Numeracy Programme (available until December 2025)

Special Assessment Conditions (SAC)

The Learning Support Department SENCo makes applications to NZQA for (SAC) – e.g. Reader/Writers/Computer Use/ Rest Breaks/ Extra Time.  

Whanau can privately access an Educational Psychologist’s Report.  The report is summarised and made available to kaiako to inform teacher practice.  The recommendations for SAC will be used to make an application to NZQA.

The Learning Support Department is also actively involved in testing and assessment for students, who may qualify for Special Assessment Conditions (SAC) for NCEA assessments. Further information on SAC is available on the NZQA website


The Learning Support Department works closely with a number of agencies/organisations to provide cohesive and holistic programmes – these include;

  • Ministry of Education (MOE) specialists
  • Resource Teachers of Learning & Behaviour (RTLB),
  • Resource Teacher of Vision from Blind and Low Vision, New Zealand (BLENNZ)
  • Resource Teacher for the Deaf (Ko Taku Reo)
  • Feeder schools to support with transition into Year 9
  • Northern Health School (NHS)

Parents are encouraged to indicate any specific learning needs at the time of enrolment to ensure a smooth transition into Western Springs College – Ngā Puna O Waiōrea.

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