What we do | He aha ā mātau mahi

Learning Support plays a critical role in the Ministry of Education. We’re charged with leading the education sector in ensuring that children and young people with learning support needs are supported to achieve their full potential through education.

To deliver this we employ over a thousand front-line specialists who provide a diverse range of services in early intervention, communication, behaviour and complex needs.

We have more information on our website about the range of services that are available for students with learning support needs.

Learning Support

Why we do it | He aha mātau e mahi nei i ēnei mahi

Learning Support is focussed on delivering an inclusive education system, where every child and young person feels a sense of belonging, is present, makes progress, where their wellbeing is safeguarded and promoted, where learning is a lifelong journey, and where those with learning support needs get the right support at the right time.

As a Learning Support specialist you will play a vital role in achieving this. Our work can be challenging but it is varied and extremely rewarding.

Help shape the future of education | Tāraitia te āpōpō o te mātauranga

How we do it | Ka pēhea tā mātau mahi i ēnei mahi

The work our specialists do is complex and continuously evolving but the following describes some of the key aspects of how we work:

As well as working with children and young people, our specialists provide support and guidance to teachers and other education sector employees, parents, caregivers and families/whanau with a view to building the capacity of those who are best placed to support learning. We work to support educators to make long term sustainable changes to practice and environments to support all children and young people to learn and achieve.

We work as a team and look to draw on the combined wisdom of all of our specialists. This means that you will be working alongside people from other professional disciplines to ensure the support we provide is the best it can be.

We do this by taking account of the child or young person’s culture, identity and language within the context of their whanau as an integral consideration in providing the right service at the right time.

We provide support for a diverse range of learning support needs and we operate a tiered approach to service delivery. As one of our specialists you would be expected to work across the following:

  • Tier One (Universal) Practices and systems for all children, young people and staff, implemented across all settings
  • Tier Two (Targeted) Provides small-group interventions and strengthened classroom practices for children and young people requiring supplementary support.
  • Tier Three (Intensive) Supports children and young people who require individualised interventions tailored to their specific needs and circumstances.

We also provide support to learners from a diverse range of backgrounds and as such we expect our specialists to have a continuous improvement approach to their cultural competence.

As part of our ecological approach we work in the child and young person’s everyday setting. This means that our specialists work in a wide variety of settings, for example early learning services, primary and secondary schools, kura, residential schools, homes and community organisations.

We often work alongside other Government agencies including the Ministry of Health, Oranga Tamariki, the Ministry of Social Development and the New Zealand Police.

The Learning Support Action Plan sets out six priority areas for the period 2019-2025. These priorities are the ones that will make the greatest difference, to ensure that children and young people get the right support, at the right time.

They will strengthen learning support in both the early learning and schooling sectors. They provide a wider range of flexible support for neurodiverse children and young people with moderate needs, who don’t qualify for the highest level of support and resourcing.

More information about the Learning Support Action Plan

Hear from two of our specialists

As a Learning Support Specialist for the Ministry of Education, you’ll never be bored. No two days are the same, the work we do is always evolving and you’ll be working in a variety of settings including early learning services, primary and secondary schools, kura, residential schools, homes and community organisations.

Here’s a snapshot of what a day in the life could look like with the Ministry of Education and why two of our specialists love what they do.

Psychologist video


Whether Ellie is in the classroom observing, running a teacher capability session or collaborating with other specialists in the office, children are always at the heart of it.

Speech Language Therapist video

From beginning her day at the early learning centre to running a parent workshop and everything in between, no two days are the same and Carly is continuously up for the challenge.

The roles | Ngā tūranga

We employ a broad range of people within Learning Support but our key front-line specialist roles are:

Psychologist | Kaiwhakamātau hinengaro

Support children and young people, their parents, families and whānau and educators through the application of psychological theory and practice that includes providing advice and collaborative planning in education settings and community environments.

Speech Language Therapist | Kaiwhakaora i te Reo

Support children and young people, their parents, families and whānau and educators to understand the impact of communication difficulties and to develop speech and language skills.

Learning Support Advisor | Kaitohutohu Mātauranga

Support children and young people, their parents, families and whānau and educators with creating and adapting curriculum and teaching resources and plans.

Early Intervention Teacher | Pouako Whakawaeke

Work with parents, kaiako in early learning services, Education Support Workers and other specialists to develop education plans. Provides advice and support in the transition of children to school.

Advisor on Deaf Children | Kaitohutohu e kore rongo

Provide support to families, whānau and educators to achieve desired outcomes for babies and children who are deaf or hard of hearing. The focus of the support is in early years (from birth to Year 3 at school).

Occupational Therapist | Kaihaumanu tūroro

Work alongside parents, families and whanau, educators and other agencies to help children and young people participate in school.

Physiotherapist | Kaikōmuri

Through observation and assessment, provides advice and guidance to children and young people with physical needs and those who support them e.g. educators and family/whānau. The advice and guidance includes support for environmental changes, equipment and technology, with a focus on access and participation in their learning environment so that they can achieve educationally.


Use specialist cultural knowledge to enable successful engagement for whānau and tamariki, Learning Support colleagues and other adults involved with providing education. The role is also focussed on ensuring service provision is culturally affirming and responsive.

School Wide Practitioner

The Positive Behaviour for Learning School-wide framework helps schools to develop inclusive, positive, culturally responsive school climates that are conducive to learning by all. School–wide Practitioners train school teams to implement the framework with fidelity, and support schools to select the most appropriate, effective, and efficient practices to match their particular context and needs.

Benefits | Ngā painga

We offer a broad range of employee benefits including:

25 days annual leave

Support for professional development

A range of health and wellbeing related benefits

Competitive salary (with additional salary steps available through our Skills Progression Pathway) and a range of allowances (e.g. Te Reo and Tikanga and higher duties)

Premium concessions for medical and income protection insurance

Paying the annual practicing certificates for Psychologists, Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists

Our specialists have told us they value:

Our specialists have told us they value:
Having the opportunity

Having the opportunity to improve people's lives.

Our focus on children and young people.

Our focus on children and young people.

Our community of practice.

Our community of practice.

Working in a variety of settings.

Working in a variety of settings.

Being able to contribute to the big picture through projects and initiatives.

Being able to contribute to sector wide change through projects and initiatives.

Helping to build the capability of those around the child.

Helping to build the capability of those around the child and young person.


We have a big and important job to do and we need your help!

Apply now


Visit the Ministry of Education careers centre where you will be able to view and search for current vacancies.

We employ frontline specialists in each of the Ministry’s 10 regions (Tai Tokerau, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty Wairaiki, Hawkes Bay Tairawhiti, Taranaki Whanganui Manawatu, Wellington, Nelson Marlborough West Coast, Canterbury Chatham Islands, Otago Soutland).

More detail on the specific locations within these regions can be on viewed on our main website.

Regional Ministry contacts on Ministry of Education website


Our frontline specialist positions require a variety of degrees and qualifications. Please carefully review the qualifications requirements listed in the position description of any advert.

Yes we will. The Ministry of Education is an Accredited Employer with Immigration New Zealand and if you are successful in obtaining an offer with us, you may be able to apply for the Talent Accredited Employer work visa.

For more details on this and other work visa options, visit the Immigration New Zealand website.

We are also currently engaged in an overseas recruitment process for Psychologists and Speech Language Therapists and we have appointed the following as our preferred suppliers in this work:

Psych-Recruitment for Psychologists
Accent Health Recruitment for Speech Language Therapists

If you are a Psychologist or a Speech Language Therapist outside of New Zealand and you haven’t yet started your job consideration, it might be worth contacting them as they can help you to better understand the many factors involved in applying for and moving to New Zealand.