Learner Support


At Westlake, we recognize that our learners present a very wide range of needs. Each learner is unique and we respect their individual personalities, their strengths and weaknesses. In responding to diversity, we are constantly open to learning about new conditions, alternative teaching methods and strategies and our progress and interventions are regularly discussed and reviewed.

A whole-school approach is adopted and specialist staff, subject teachers and RTLB work collaboratively to optimize the teaching and learning process for students with learning differences. In this way, students with particular needs are supported in their pursuit of individual excellence.

Within the Learning Support Department, the curriculum is tailored to suit each student’s particular needs. These needs are determined by an assessment of the student’s particular strengths and weaknesses. This can be informal or by a professional Educational Psychologist assessment; following this, an individual learning programme is devised.

Sometimes the learning needs of a pupil have been identified prior to entry to the school, and provision is put in place from the outset with regular monitoring and review. Parents need to make the school aware of any learning difficulties at the initial enquiry stage and to provide copies of assessments that have been carried out.

Support Delivered

Learning Support is offered in a variety of ways. There is a dedicated team of specialist teachers who withdraw boys from class for individual or small-group sessions. Specialist teachers also provide Class Support. There is a multi-sensory approach to teaching and learning, and the students benefit from the expertise of the staff, who are aided by the provision of a wide variety of up-to-date resources.

Examples of learning support delivered to students are:

  • Specialist Literacy lessons
  • Specialist Mathematics lessons
  • Touch-typing sessions
  • Handwriting advice
  • Individual Mentoring: Weekly meetings with students to set milestones, track progress and acknowledge achievements.
  • Sessions on Study Skills and Exam Technique
  • STEPS Computer-based literacy sessions
  • Curriculum-based support with close collaboration between Learning Specialists and teachers
  • Computer and Device Support Groups to develop computer competency
  • Lunch Time Peer Tutoring

The Learner Support Department also aims to support the self-esteem of pupils with learning difficulties.  Students are encouraged to take an active role in managing their learning and to set themselves high standards. Parents are involved in decision making and are kept informed of recommendations, actions and interventions, by email, telephone, consultations and meetings.


Volunteers are able to assist us in a variety of ways. We are very grateful for people who can assist by acting as a Reader/Writer for assessments during the year and for formal  NCEA examinations.

We provide special assessment conditions (SAC) for students whose educational psychologist’s report recommends that they are supported in their internal and external tests and examinations.

Full training is provided. If you are keen to assist, please contact us to discuss your possible involvement.

Peer Tutoring:

What is peer tutoring?

All tuition is provided FREE by senior Westlake students – they have chosen to tutor their best subject(s) and are enthusiastic about helping others succeed. Students register for tuition at the Learner Support department or in the Library by filling in a form. All tutoring takes place at school.

How do students get involved?

Students have to register with us so we can match them with a tutor.  They can do this at the Learner Support Department or in the Library by filling in a form. Then they are matched with a senior student who will tutor them at a time which is suitable.

The students have the freedom to choose when, where and often they want to meet. They are in charge.

What is your role?

Please let your son know that tuition is available at school – from some of our top scholars at Westlake.
This is a school-run system and is FREE.

Student co-ordinator and student tutors

Each year a student coordinator is appointed to lead the programme and applications are welcome from October onwards for the following year.

At any time of the year, senior students may apply to become a tutor and gain valuable community experience and enjoy serving their school.  We always need MORE!

English and Mathematics support

The Learner Support Department is able to help students who are really struggling with their class work by withdrawing them from one class out of the week. In this time we can give them some 1:1 or small group tutoring to keep them on track with their academic studies. We also target struggling Year 9 students at the beginning of the school year and offer a programme to help develop their comprehension of written text, study skills and their number skills.

We are a small and dedicated team who try to help as many students as possible within the time we have available.

We also help students from all year levels who are finding Mathematics difficult and who would benefit from small group tuition.

Readers / Writers

We provide special assessment conditions (SAC) for students whose educational psychologist report recommends that they have either a  reader or a writer or a reader and a writer or extra time or that they use assistive technology for all their internal and external test and examinations.

As we are a small team we really appreciate parents helping us to provide this service.

We will give you a short introductory session and a handout to support you if you have not done anything like this before.
You would be paid by NZQA for working during the senior external examinations. Even if you are not available to help, perhaps you know someone else who could.

Teacher Aides

The Learner Support Department has a team of teacher aides who provide friendly, in-class support for struggling students. Sometimes a  student may have funding for individual teacher aide support and the Teacher Aide will focus their support on them. At other times they may be a general support for a class of students.