2022 Leadership

Cluster Roles & Responsibilities

 RTLB Cluster Roles and Responsibilities

The Lead School Board of Trustee

Effective governance ensures the provision of a quality RTLB service for all cluster schools.

The Ministry of Education (Ministry) works with cluster schools in the selection process to choose the lead school.
The board of trustees in each cluster is appointed to the RTLB lead school position by the Ministry to provide the cluster's RTLB service through a funding and service agreement with the Ministry. The appointment of a lead school is for a specified term of three years, reviewable in the final year of the agreement.
In addition to meeting the expectations in the funding and service agreement, the lead school board (board) is expected to meet the requirements of the National Education Guidelines (NEGs), and the National Administration Guidelines (NAGs), uphold the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and be committed to key Ministry policies and strategies, in particular
•Ka Hikitia
•Pasifika Education Plan
•Success for All
•Disability Action Plan

Governance responsibilities
The Board will ensure a high quality and effective RTLB service is provided, the service is accessible to cluster schools and contributes to positive student outcomes and inclusive practices across all cluster schools.

Success measures:
•cluster schools know how and when to access the service
•cluster schools have equitable access to the full range of RTLB services and funding
•the service is based on a comprehensive cluster needs analysis, is strategic and planned
•the service is seamlessly integrated with the service provided by Ministry Learning Support
•the service is provided in accordance with the RTLB Professional Practice Toolkit
•the service is well-documented; service outcomes are monitored, recorded and reported in accordance with Governing and Managing RTLB Clusters and the RTLB Professional Practice Toolkit
•the service is continually improving, is responsive, flexible and innovative
•cluster schools use the service and value the service provided.
Note: Boards need assurance from the principal and cluster manager who are delegated to ensure a particular success measure is achieved.

National Priorities
The Board will ensure the annual service priorities and service expectations; set out in Part 5 and Part 6 of the Funding and Service Agreement (FSA) are met. The priorities may be varied by the Ministry of Education by 27 January each year over the term of the FSA to reflect any changes in Ministry policy or national priorities.

•When employing a new principal, ensure that the successful applicant has the experience and skills to manage both the school and the RTLB service.
•Employ the cluster manager, RTLB and any associated support staff.
•Appoint a full-time acting cluster manager when the cluster manager is unable to fulfil the role, for example when they are on extended leave or secondment.
•Allocate leadership payments to the cluster manager and practice leaders.
•Employ RTLB who are able to provide an effective service for all students, in all school/kura settings.

Appropriate authority and accountability is delegated to the principal and cluster manager (the RTLB strategic leadership and management team) for the day to day management of the RTLB cluster, RTLB funding and resourcing, and RTLB service provision.

•Support the principal and cluster manager to maintain an effective professional working relationship.
•Support the principal and cluster manager to maintain effective relationships with the RTLB.
•Be assured that the RTLB are included as staff members in the lead school.

Use of funding
•Responsible for the RTLB funds on behalf of cluster schools.
•Approve the RTLB annual financial budget.
•Ensure robust accounting practices for the use of RTLB funds; maintain a seperate bank account for RTLB funding; and keep a separate RTLB asset register.
•Be assured that there are transparent, needs based processes for allocating RTLB student support funding to cluster schools.

•Be assured that RTLB staff are housed in appropriate office accommodation.
•Be assured that the cluster manager and principal have worked through the Ministry local property advisor to negotiate a third party occupancy agreement with each host school or accommodation provider.

Planning, review and reporting
•Approve the cluster strategic plan and the annual action plan.
•Submit the strategic and annual action plans to the Ministry as part of the lead school's charter documents, within expected timeframes.
•Ensure the RTLB service is reviewed on a regular basis.
•Report annually on the operation of the RTLB service, including a financial report, to the Ministry as part of the lead school's annual report, within expected timeframes.
•Report twice a year to cluster kura/school boards on the use of RTLB student support funding, RTLB staffing levels and RTLB service outputs and outcomes.
•Ensure Ministry-specified reporting formats and templates are used.

Effective systems
•Ensure that there are effective systems to support RTLB service provision in cluster schools.
•Be assured that these systems take into account whānau and iwi needs and aspirations.
•Ensure the school has effective employment systems to support the RTLB workforce.

Content last updated: March 2017

Lead School Principal

The lead kura tumuaki/school principal will have delegations, along with the cluster manager, for cluster management on behalf of the board. Together, the tumuaki/principal and the cluster manager form the RTLB strategic leadership and management team.

The principal provides strategic leadership and management support for the cluster manager, particularly when there are employment, administrative, financial, relationship, education sector or community issues.
The principal ensures that the cluster manager is managing the RTLB service on a day-to-day basis so that kura/schools, kaiako/teachers and students in the cluster receive an equitable, quality RTLB service and RTLB are supported in their role.

Personnel management
The principal is responsible for the induction, attestation process, performance supervision and appraisal of the cluster manager.

In collaboration with the cluster manager the principal will ensure:
•the obligations of a good employer are met
•RTLB are suitably accommodated (housed)
•the development of a competent RTLB workforce
•all RTLB receive regular performance supervision and performance appraisal
•ongoing monitoring of Tātaiako cultural competencies.

Financial management
•Ensure the lead school has the financial systems to maintain RTLB financial records that support the RTLB service.
•Ensure RTLB funding is accounted for separately from the kura/school’s funding, and that RTLB funding is held in a separate bank account.
•In collaboration with the cluster manager establish the cluster’s annual budget.
•Approve and account to the board for expenditure against cluster targets.
•Ensure RTLB funding is included in the kura/school’s annual financial statements.
•Ensure that distribution of RTLB student support funding and/or resources is based on student or school need, not on a pro-rata basis.
•Ensure that there is a robust needs analysis process that informs the allocation of funds and resources.

Planning and reporting
•In collaboration with the cluster manager and key stakeholders, develop the RTLB service strategic and annual plans.
•Report regularly (at least quarterly) to the board on the activities of the RTLB service: issues and risks, service patterns, outputs and outcomes, staffing and expenditure.
•Support the cluster manager with the preparation of the annual narrative and financial reports.

Sector relationships
•Advocate for the RTLB service with cluster schools.
•Meet regularly with cluster school principals.
•Develop and maintain trusting and collaborative relationships with key stakeholders.
•Meet regularly with the local Ministry Learning Support manager.
•Where appropriate, include the cluster manager in meetings with community, sector and agency groups.

Appointing a new principal
When the board appoints a new principal, responsibility for the RTLB service must be included in the advertisement. A lead school principal needs to be an experienced principal, leader and manager. The new principal must be committed to the RTLB service and to its ongoing improvement.

The Ministry’s Learning Support manager should be on the appointment committee.

A new lead school principal should seek mentoring support from experienced RTLB lead school principals.

Content last updated: March 2017

Cluster Manager

The cluster manager is appointed by the lead kura tumuaki/school principal. The cluster manager must be a New Zealand registered kaiako/teacher. The position is a full-time role.

The cluster manager and the principal work together as a strategic leadership and management team for the RTLB service.


The cluster manager has the following responsibilities:

Service planning and review
•Facilitate a robust service planning and review cycle incorporating self and peer reviews.
•On behalf of the board and in collaboration with the principal and key stakeholders, lead the development of, and prepare a three to five year RTLB strategic plan and annual action plan that ensures the ongoing development and improvement of the RTLB service.

Financial and resource management
•Manage the day-to-day funding and resourcing obligations of the RTLB service.
•In collaboration with the principal, draft an annual budget for approval by the lead kura/school board.
•Develop rigorous systems for needs-based allocation of student support funding, and the reimbursement of RTLB travel.
•In collaboration with the lead school, maintain accurate financial records, and an RTLB asset register.
•Manage RTLB staffing so that the annual RTLB staffing entitlement is fully utilised but not exceeded.

Personnel management
•In collaboration with the principal, recruit and induct RTLB staff.
•Through the principal, advise the board on the allocation of RTLB leadership payments.
•Work closely with the practice leaders to ensure RTLB performance management tasks - including the provision of professional learning and development, performance supervision, performance management and appraisal processes - are actioned.
•Ensure RTLB in training are supported, mentored and supervised.

Systems, processes and policies
•Develop and maintain a cluster operational document, detailing cluster policies, procedures and systems.
•In collaboration with the local Ministry Learning Support team, develop and maintain a seamless and simple request for support process and ensure it is understood and followed by RTLB and by all cluster kura/schools.

Meeting cluster needs
•Ensure there is an effective process to identify and analyse cluster needs.
•Ensure the RTLB team has the specialist knowledge and skills to meet identified cluster needs, for example, RTLB able to support Māori students and Pasifika students, students in Māori-medium settings, and students in wharekura/secondary schools.
•Manage the RTLB workforce so that RTLB are assigned to best meet student and school needs.

Data and reporting
•Gather, collate, and report on outcomes data for all case types: individual students, groups of students, individual schools, and groups of schools.
•Prepare financial and service provision reports, at least quarterly, for presentation at the regular meetings of the lead kura/school board.
•On behalf of the board and in collaboration with the principal prepare reports, twice yearly, for cluster school boards of trustees showing service patterns, service outputs and outcomes, allocation of student support (LSF and Y11-13) funds across cluster schools, and the level of RTLB staffing against the cluster’s RTLB staffing entitlement.
•On behalf of the board and in collaboration with the principal prepare the RTLB annual report, financial report and quarterly reports for the Ministry according to the Ministry’s reporting requirements detailed in Schedule D of the RTLB Funding and Service Agreement.

•Develop and support a respectful and professional RTLB workforce and maintain collaborative, open communication with the practice leaders and the RTLB team.
•Manage and support the practice leaders.
•Maintain respectful and trusting relationships with key cluster stakeholders, cluster tumuaki/principals, iwi, Ministry and other relevant agencies.
•Develop strong networks across cluster kura/schools and with other RTLB clusters.
Content last updated: March 2017

Practice Leader

A practice leader is an RTLB who has additional delegated leadership responsibilities within a team/cluster. As a practising RTLB, a practice leader must be a New Zealand fully-registered kaiako/teacher with a current practising certificate. As Practice Leader responsibilities attract one or more leadership payments of $2,000, vacant positions should be advertised.

A practice leader is responsible for leadership, guidance and support of RTLB in their professional practice, under the direction of the cluster manager. A practice leader supports the decisions of the RTLB strategic leadership and management team (principal and cluster manager). Practice leaders work closely with their cluster manager and support them in their day-to-day management of the cluster.

Leading and supervising quality practice
•Ensure that RTLB practice is in accordance with the RTLB Professional Practice Toolkit.
•In collaboration with the cluster manager, ensure RTLB have the necessary resources to carry out their work.
•Support reflective practice processes in the team; develop and maintain communities of practice or project work that aligns with cluster strategic goals.
•Foster a commitment to evidence-based practice and service provision.
•Ensure that RTLB deliver a culturally appropriate and responsive service by supporting culturally competent practice through, for exampleTātaiako.
•In collaboration with the cluster manager, ensure RTLB receive professional learning and development that supports RTLB appraisal goals and that aligns with the cluster strategic plan.
•Support the cluster manager in leading RTLB professional development and performance appraisal processes.
•Provide professional support to RTLB including mentoring and coaching as necessary.
•Provide performance supervision of RTLB.
•Facilitate induction for RTLB new to the team.
•Support RTLB in training to attain the RTLB qualification within the specified time, and provide mentoring and/or supervision during the training period.

•Support RTLB to provide data on service outputs and outcomes to meet Ministry reporting requirements.

Professional relationships
•Support the lead school’s governance and management policies.
•Provide open and reciprocal communication within the RTLB team and cluster schools.
•Develop and maintain effective, professional and trusting relationships within the RTLB team.
•Ensure all RTLB provide consistent information on the RTLB service and the Ministry’s Learning Support service to cluster schools, communities, parents/whānau, and agencies.

Content last updated: March 2017


RTLB are appointed by the lead kura tumuaki/school principal. An RTLB must be a New Zealand fully-registered kaiako/teacher with a current practising certificate. The position is a full-time role.

The RTLB service and the Ministry’s learning support service work together with other services to provide seamless service provision for students who require additional learning and behaviour support. RTLB have an essential role to play supporting students with substantial barriers to learning, and building teacher and school inclusive practice capability.

The RTLB role, scope of practice, professional principles, practice sequence and service outcomes are detailed in the RTLB Professional Practice Toolkit.

RTLB are responsible for:
•providing the RTLB service in a cluster of schools in accordance with the RTLB Professional Practice Toolkit meeting the service priorities and expectations listed in the RTLB Funding and Service Agreement
•maintaining casework records according to cluster protocols
•maintaining trusting, professional relationships within cluster schools and with parents/whānau, communities and community agencies.

RTLB must hold the required RTLB qualification - the Post Graduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching endorsed in Learning and Behaviour issued by the Massey/Canterbury universities, or one of the previous qualifications: the Post Graduate Diploma in Special Needs Resource Teaching (PG Dip SNRT); or the Post Graduate Certificate in Education Studies - both issued by the Auckland/Victoria/Waikato consortium of universities.

Unqualified RTLB appointees (including those who hold an historic exemption) must attain the Post Graduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching endorsed in Learning and Behaviour within 48 months of appointment to their first RTLB position.

Professional organisations
Many RTLB choose to belong to professional organisations. The cost of individual membership is an RTLB’s responsibility.

Unless attendance is part of an approved professional development plan, RTLB require cluster manager approval for leave of absence to attend professional organisation meetings and conferences.

Content last updated: March 2017

Key stakeholders

The key stakeholders in the RTLB service include:
•Communities of Learning/Kāhui Ako
°cluster kura/schools who represent their communities, including:
°their teachers and students
°their families and whānau
°their iwi and Māori parents/community
°their Pasifika parents/community
•the local Ministry who represents:
°Learning Support
°Early Childhood Education.

The key stakeholders need to be assured that the service is managed in a transparent and needs-based manner. The lead school must formalise a way of engaging with key stakeholders to ensure this happens. There are many ways this can be done, for example through a stakeholder committee or advisory group, and/or through regular surveys and reporting.

Role of key stakeholders
Key stakeholders in the RTLB service must have genuine input into strategic planning and into service development and provision. They must receive regular RTLB service information from the lead school/RTLB management team and have the opportunity to provide feedback to the lead school.

Key stakeholders are expected to take an active interest in the RTLB service. It is in their, and the cluster’s interest to:
•advocate for the RTLB service
•support and advise the lead school board
•inform the development of the cluster strategic plan and cluster priorities
•provide feedback about RTLB service provision
•support culturally responsive cluster practice.

With due regard to student and school privacy, cluster kura/school stakeholders are encouraged to engage in referral and intake processes and with student support funding allocation processes.

Clusters are encouraged to establish and maintain joint request for support and review processes with Ministry’s Learning Support staff.

Content last updated: March 2017