Learning Support

I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).


Different schools offer different philosophies and approaches to education of students with special needs. The aim of education for all Bethlehem College students is to develop children socially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually while at the same time ensuring they are progressing toward mastery of the skills and content of the national curriculum as set out and measured by the Ministry of Education.

The Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) is responsible for coordinating the provision of education for children with special education/learning support needs. This involves working closely with staff, parents, and other agencies.


Your contact for Year 1 - 6 SENCO: Mrs Miriama Smith

Your contact for Year 7-13 SENCO Mrs Lisa Higgins – Head of Learning Support college wide

Why do students attend supported learning?

There are many reasons a student might benefit from supported learning, such as:

  • Recommendation from an external support person / specialist, such as physiotherapist, occupational therapist or psychologist.
  • Student interest and motivation.
  • To gain from a recognised therapy programme with clear benefits for the student.


Learning support goals for students

Our aim is for all students to have the opportunity to experience: 

  • An inclusive educational environment
  • A range of academic and practical subjects
  • Teaching assistant support in mainstream core or option subjects for eligible students
  • Flexible learning programmes that cater to individual student learning needs and interests.


All students will work toward nationally recognised qualifications like National Standards and NCEA. Some students will achieve at their age expectancy, with some or minimal support from a teacher aide. Other students need a more individualised education programme because the pace and complexity of the curriculum increases as it unfolds over the years.


Most students with special learning/physical/social or emotional needs are catered for within general classroom experiences and adaptations. Some students will need the additional support of a teaching assistant from time to time. A few will need more prolonged contact with a teaching assistant to support their learning.


How do I involve my child in learning support?

As part of the enrolment process, parents are invited to share specific needs or any concerns they have about their child’s learning or development so this information can be considered when arranging a student’s programme.

For ongoing support from the Learning Support department, parents must give their consent for their son/daughter to be included on the Special Education Learning Register. This enables us to collect and share information with school staff and relevant support agencies while still adhering to relevant privacy laws and responsibilities.

Teaching Assistants

We have a wonderful group of teaching assistants ready and fully trained to assist your children. Teaching assistant support is provided for eligible students. Talk to us about eligibility for your child.

Generally, teaching assistants are used to support students in the classroom on work set by the class teacher. For some, their duties may include assisting with a student’s personal care. It is normal for teaching assistants to change from year to year, rather than to accompany any child or group of children throughout their schooling.

Individual Education Plan (IEP)

IEP meetings are set regularly for those students who receive special funding from an outside agency such as the Ministry of Education or ACC.

At these meetings, the education team who supports the student come together to develop and set goals. Parents are always invited to attend.

We also offer transition meetings at the beginning and end of the year to look at how we can best support a student into their next room/year level. Talk to us about how we can support your child.

Additional Enrichment Activities

The benefits of these programmes not only assist with physical therapy, but also social and emotional development. These programmes complement the co-curricular activities offered on-site at school, such as music lessons and sports practices.

Additional learning support information for Year 7 - 13

NZQA Special Assessment Conditions (SAC)

For students who qualify under national guidelines, assistance for examinations and assessments is available from Years 9 - 13. Students in Year 10 - 13 can choose to apply for Special Assessment Conditions (SAC) when undertaking NCEA assessments. Contact the Year 7 - 13 SENCO for more information. NZQA website

South Pacific Educational Courses (SPEC)

Some students require modified programmes, which focus on developing competencies and the skills needed for work and/or further learning. Bethlehem College is accredited to provide the New Zealand Certificate in Skills for Living (Supported Learners), using the South Pacific Educational Courses (SPEC) programme. Further information can be found on the SPEC website.

Senior work experience and transition programmes

The transition programme for senior students involves preparing for leaving school. Work-based experiences and opportunities to explore further educational opportunities can be provided. Outside agencies can become involved at the parents’ request, such as CCS, IDEA services, Supported Employment Agency (SEA), Arohanui, Workbridge, and the Toi-Ohomai Polytechnic. Please contact David Dyer for more information.