Students with special educational needs often require extra support to access the curriculum.  Such support could be extra adult help, adapted programmes or learning environments, specialised equipment or materials.

The Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) at Maungawhau School is Faye Philps – she can be contacted by email

At Maungawhau School we work with students and their families to identify special learning needs and provide the appropriate support to enable them to access the curriculum.


Facilitating Transition to School

For children who have had any of the following, please contact the principal at least 1 term before start date and provide all relevant information:

  • Early intervention in preschool years
  • ORS funding
  • Significant medical needs

Identification of Learning Needs Once At School

Children are identified as needing additional help in a number of ways – through teacher observation/identification, parents’ information and educational psychologists’ assessments.

If you suspect your child may have special learning needs, please speak to your child’s teacher or SENCO for information and advice.  See the referral process below.

Overall, Maungawhau School seeks to address children’s learning needs within the school programme.  However, if parents choose to access learning support outside the school it is recommended they share the school generated Action Plan / IEP with the agency if one is in place.  Where appropriate, recommendations from outside agencies can be incorporated into an Action Plan / IEP.  Should you propose your child attends additional outside school learning experiences during the school day, please make requests in advance via the principal.  

The names of all students with identified learning needs in our school are placed on a Special Needs Register and carefully monitored.

Referral Process 


Flowchart for special learning needs Referral













To download a PDF version of this flowchart, click here.

To inform the school of any special need, please download and fill out this student profile.

In School Learning Support Interventions

Bannatyne Literacy Support Programme

Many students in the Whanake team benefit from extra literacy support through the Bannatyne programme.  Students are selected on the basis of their current literacy performance as assessed by the class teacher.

The objectives of the programme are to: develop phonemic awareness; produce fluent and accurate reading; develop accurate spelling skills; to write legibly and efficiently.

STEPS Learning Staircase – Spelling and Reading Programme

The STEPS Learning Staircase is a New Zealand based programme that incorporates teacher-led computer and workbook activities, including literacy games.  There is a strong emphasis on vocabulary and language development to help students progress with their spelling and reading.

The programme actively develops processing skills involved in literacy, including phonological awareness (how letters, blend and words sound), visual discrimination (how words look), visual and auditory memory and tracking (reading/following text from left to right in sequence).

Writing Groups

A variety of intervention writing groups take place across the school and go for varied lengths of time depending on the needs of the students involved.  Students are selected on the basis of their current writing performance as assessed by the class teacher.

Trained teachers work with students in small groups to target specific areas of difficulty and to provide stronger writing support.

Maths Groups

Intervention math groups take place across the school  and focus on identified areas of students’ weakness in both strategy and knowledge.  Students are selected on the basis of their current performance as assessed by the class teacher.  

A trained teacher works with students needing support with strategy development.  Those students needing knowledge development work with learning support assistants in small groups.



USEFUL WEBSITES with Information on Special Needs

KidsLink is an online resource available to parents to find a range of services that specialise in working with children, teenagers and their families with issues that affect their learning, development and well-being.

KidsLink (R)