2018 Learning Support Satisfaction Survey

Publication Details

This report presents the results from the Ministry of Education’s 2018 Learning Support Satisfaction Survey. The Ministry carries out this survey every year to learn from parents and educators what aspects of service delivery are doing well, and areas for improvement.

Author(s): SE&S Manager Performance Quality and Capability

Date Published: February 2020

Executive Summary

The survey covers the following Ministry Learning Support services:

  • Early Intervention
  • Communication
  • Behaviour
  • Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS)
  • Deaf or hard of hearing*
  • Physical disability support*
  • Te Kahu Tōī, Intensive Wraparound Service*
  • *included for the first time in 2018

The survey measures responses using Service Quality Score (SQS). In a SQS system respondents indicate their level of satisfaction or agreement with a rating between 1, Very Dissatisfied and 5, Very Satisfied. At the end of the survey results are collated and scores are converted to an SQS ranging between 0 and 100.

Changes to the methodology and survey questionnaire

The SQS method for calculating satisfaction was used for the first time in 2017 and again in 2018. The survey asks respondents to rate their satisfaction with services or agreement with service related statements using a scale from 1 to 5. Each five point rating scale is converted to a SQS ranging from 0 to 100. This is the second year that the SQS approach has been used with the Learning Support Satisfaction Survey.

The 2018 survey has also been redesigned and contains new set of questions, some of which are new to 2018. The new set of questions are aimed to be more relevant to the Ministry service delivery.

Key findings

Overall Satisfaction Service Quality Score

Parents and educators are generally satisfied with Learning Support service delivery, though there is room for improvement. Overall satisfaction was higher for parents (73) than for educators (65).

The SQS for overall satisfaction with Learning Support services is 67, which is two points less than it was in the 2017 Satisfaction Survey. In comparison with other public services, it is 10 points below the SQS for the overall quality of public services (77) and one point below the average private sector (68).

Service Quality Score 73 65 67

Aspects of service delivery that parents and educators rated most highly

Parents and educators reported the highest levels of satisfaction with the following aspects of service delivery:

  Service Quality Score
Learning Support staff treated the child with respect 89 84 85
Learning Support staff respected what is important to me and my family/whānau 81 75 77
I felt involved in the decisions about the child’s learning 77 70 72

Aspects of service delivery that parents and educators were least satisfied with

Parents and educators reported the lowest levels of satisfaction with the following aspects of service delivery:

  Service Quality Score
I was satisfied with the progress the child made6759 61
I feel confident to support the child with their needs in the future 67 61 62

Satisfaction of parents and educators of Māori and Pacific students

The Ministry has a commitment for all children and young people achieve their best and be strong in their cultural identity.  Difference between ethnicity groups was analysed to determine potential cultural differences. Parents of Pacific children scored overall satisfaction in Learning Support services more highly than parents of other ethnic groups. Parents and educators of Māori children scored Learning Support services in line with other ethnic groups.

Implications of findings

The survey findings highlight the areas where Learning Support services are delivering well, and provide feedback on the areas where service delivery could improve. The findings show that educators are less satisfied with the overall quality of Learning Support service delivery than parents.

The feedback from the survey mirrors feedback the Ministry has received from the sector previously.  Comparisons against the 2017 Learning Support Satisfaction Survey show a decrease in satisfaction across following three measures:

  • Overall satisfaction with the quality of support provided
  • Satisfaction with the progress the child made as a result of the service
  • Confidence to support the child with their needs in the future

What we're doing to improve service delivery

Updating our service delivery approach and practice

The Ministry has been working to reduce fragmentation in the delivery of learning support with the Learning Support Delivery Model (LSDM). The model organises learning support based on what best meets the needs of the student, rather than focusing on specific criteria. With less fragmentation and a greater focus on need, barriers to access learning support will be reduced. These changes bring a shift from a deficit-based system that looks at what a child can’t do and what needs ‘fixing’, to instead a focus on a flexible, strengths-based system that ensures early learning services and schools have what they need to welcome and meet the learning needs of all ākonga.

To support this, the model involves changing the way we work to not only focus on individual work with children, but targeted or system-wide solutions. This may include providing professional development to educators, or giving advice to whānau on ways to support their child at home. With this, we will see more of our work focusing on building the confidence and capability of the adults around children and young people and therefore expect to see improvements in the feedback from parents and educators in this area.

The LSDM involves schools, kura, early learning services me ngā kōhanga reo coming together with the Ministry, service providers and other agencies to identify needs, plan support, and decide how best to use available resources. By collaborating, local communities can draw from a more diverse and skilled group of experts, pool resources, and coordinate supports to meet the needs of individual and groups of learners. They have greater flexibility to create and more coherent support to improve the way support is provided.

The delivery model was originally piloted in August 2017 and then rolled out further utilising current resources but without additional investment.  Full implementation of the delivery model will occur with the implementation of the Learning Support Coordinators from 2020.

Alongside the work above, the Ministry is looking at the practice of its specialist learning support staff. We are developing an overarching framework that will:

  • support our specialist learning support staff to work in an integrated cohesive way
  • provide clear and consistent practice direction
  • incorporate a more flexible and tiered approach where support provided could be system wide, building the capability of adults (parents and educators) around the child and including individual support for a child.

Learning Support Coordinators

Learning Support Coordinators (LSCs) are an in-school role that will work to identify and address barriers to learning to ensure all children, including those with disabilities, neurodiversity, behavioural issues, and those that are gifted get the support they need. The first tranche of the LSCs have been allocated and will be employed at the beginning of 2020.

The LSCs are an important connection between schools and the LSDM. Part of their role is to deliver support as quickly as possible close to where children are learning. They do this by connecting with the LSDM through the Ministry’s learning support facilitator function. This should result in more efficient access to Ministry provided or funded supports such as RTLB, specialists, and support services from other agencies.

LSCs will strengthen in-school support. A key focus of the LSC will be to work alongside teachers and strengthen their capabilities to meet the diverse learning needs. This means that teachers will not need to do this on their own. LSCs will work with the teachers, specialist providers and parents to identify the support children need at school and develop ways to respond and provide access to tools, resources and guidance.

LSCs will also be available to support children, as well as their parents and whānau. The intention is that they will strengthen the communication between the school and whānau and simplify the system, so it’s easier to access services.

Learning Support Action Plan

The Ministry’s Learning Support Action Plan released in July 2019, builds on the LSDM and sets clear priorities for investment and further development of the learning support system. Each priority is an important first step in achieving a more inclusive education system for New Zealand and it is expected to have widespread benefits for children, whānau, teachers and other educators.

A number of the actions under each priority focus on building the confidence and capability of teachers and other educators, and increasing the resources and guidance available to them to assist children and young people to learn.

Strengthening early intervention is another Action Plan priority. Intervening earlier, in ways that are family centred and embedded into the child’s daily life, will reduce need for more intensive intervention later on. By identifying the volume, mix and types of services needed, we will reduce waiting times and improve early intervention for children and their whānau.


  1. As reported in Kiwi Counts Survey 2018.

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