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Literacy Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Resource Teachers of Literacy (RTLit)

The RTLit Service provides short intensive support to years 0–8 students with high literacy needs. There are approximately 109 RTLit supporting and assisting school staff, and working with children. Each RTLit is employed by a host school and works across a number of schools within a cluster.

There is a manual for the RTLit service that everyone involved in the service should be familiar with, regardless of their role.

Cover page of Resource Teacher: Literacy Manual.

The Resource Teacher: Literacy Manual:

  • describes how RTLit practice might look and sets out the responsibilities of the various professionals who play a role in delivering an effective service. 
  • explains how the specialist service led by cluster management teams and provided by RTLit helps teachers and school leaders support students to learn, achieve, and reach their potential. 
  • provides guidance to enable everybody in the Service to play their part in meeting the needs of young people with literacy difficulties.


Roles and responsibilities of those involved in the service

Each school has an appointed regional Ministry of Education Advisor. Advisors are the first point of contact because of their advisory position to the school.

The Ministry of Education manages the funding and evaluation of this service.

The New Zealand Resource Teachers: Literacy Association provides support and advice to its members with issues that arise for them, and provides annual professional development by arranging an annual conference. To contact the RTLit National Executive, email RTLit National Executive.

The implementation of the service is done by individual RTLit under the supervision of the management committee who are, in turn, directed by the Ministry of Education through the Resource Teacher: Literacy Manual.

Regardless whether you are a RTLit or part of school management, please refer to the manual in the first instance. If you still cannot find the information you require, then please contact your school’s regional Ministry of Education Advisor. (To contact the MoE national office RTLit team, email Ministry of Education’s national office RTLit team).

To be reimbursed for RTLit training, email invoices to the Ministry of Education’s national office, email RTLit Mailbox. More information about what can be claimed can be found on page 60 of the manual.

Annual data collection

Data on students supported by RTLit is collected annually, around December. The purpose of this data collection is to identify the nature of the support the RTLit provided to students during the year, and to report on students' outcomes and progress while receiving RTLit support. The annual report does not cover all aspects of RTLit work. It focuses on the outcome of the students who received the intervention.

Forms and more information: Resource Teachers Literacy 2021 Data Collection forms


What training is required to be a RTLit?

Newly appointed RTLit are expected to complete a specific postgraduate literacy course. The Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Literacy Education).

  • Refer Clause 3.6.4 Primary Teachers Collective Agreement (1 July 2019–June 2022)
  • Training requirements (Resource Teacher: Literacy Manual, pp 39-41)

All RTLit employed by the host school must have completed a training course approved by the Ministry, or commence one within one year of their appointment, or have been granted exemption by the Secretary of Education.

For RTLit with graduate status, four graduate-level papers must be completed in the first three years of appointment as an RTLit. For RTLit without graduate status, two 300-level papers and then two diploma-level papers must be completed in the first three years of appointment.

The relevant higher qualifications will be considered on a case-by-case basis and could include:

  • a New Zealand master's degree in education, completed after 1998, including at least two papers (or the equivalent if completed by thesis) in literacy learning
  • a master's degree in education from overseas, deemed by NZQA to be equivalent to a New Zealand master's degree, completed since 1998, including at last two papers (or the equivalent if completed by thesis) in literacy learning
  • a masters' degree in education, in progress, with at least two papers in literacy learning completed.

Are there exemptions to training?

RTLit with higher qualifications in literacy may apply for an exemption or partial exemption from the training. If you are considering becoming an RTLit by completing a higher qualification (for example, Masters of Education), please discuss this with the faculty staff at the university you want to study at, as they will need to provide confirmation that:

  • the content of the course is comparable to substituted papers
  • that there is not a significant cost difference between the two papers.

It is imperative that the course meet the literacy specialisation requirements of the Post Graduate Diploma. The Ministry will only reimburse papers up to the Post Graduate Diploma in Education (Literacy Specialisation).

Any requests for exemptions should be sent to the RTLit Mailbox

Who provides training?

Massey University: Postgraduate Diploma in Literacy Education
This course is available at the Albany Campus in Auckland and via distance learning.

Auckland University: Postgraduate Diploma in Education, Literacy Specialisation
The majority of the course is distance learning with some on-campus days.

University of Canterbury: Specialist endorsements in Education (Literacy Education)
Most literacy courses are exclusively available via distance learning.

How are training fees reimbursed?

The Ministry will reimburse host schools for tuition fees and direct travel costs (travel (flights, mileage), accommodation, meals (no alcohol) for on-campus days required by the approved course.

We ask that any invoices comply with the Inland Revenue Department’s standards and include:

  • a date
  • a unique invoice number
  • a GST number
  • the words ‘tax invoice’
  • the school/university bank account
  • GST amounts (net and gross)
  • the name of the RTLIT the reimbursement is for
  • the name of the course studied
  • copies of all relevant receipts.

As invoices for reimbursement usually come from the school where the RTLit teach, please check that the invoice includes all these things before sending to the  RTLit Mailbox.

How does supervision and study leave work?

RTLit are linked through email systems into study groups, and professional supervision is provided.

Each semester, they are required to attend some block courses.

While RTLits are training, they are entitled to be released for half a day per week for study leave during term time. 

Ongoing professional learning and development must be:

  • planned and based on RTLits’ identified learning needs
  • evidence-based
  • both formal and informal
  • linked to national curriculum initiatives and Ministry priorities
  • responsive to the cluster strategic plan and identified RTLit needs
  • led by credible facilitators
  • identified with the appraiser
  • funded at cluster level through the RTLit administration grant. 

The process of identifying, planning, doing, recording, sharing and reviewing professional development is a cyclical one.

How is performance management handled?

The host school principal is responsible for the management of the RTLit's performance. It is expected the host school will have an already established performance management process that can be adapted for use with the RTLit the principal is responsible for. 

Performance management for RTLit will likely be done in collaboration and discussion with the cluster management committee (where appropriate).

An integrated performance management framework:

  • implements quality performance management
  • aligns efforts to build capability, capacity and effectiveness
  • maintains strong sustained performance
  • shares a common language to guide communication and understanding
  • appreciates the value of robust personal appraisal and cluster review processes.

How are performance concerns handled?

Concerns should initially be raised by the host principal with the RTLit involved.

If there is no resolution, the matter should be dealt with through the Board of Trustees’ employment policies, as is the case with other teachers.

Who resolves difficulties within the service?

  • Difficulties between RTLit, or RTLit and other parties in the service, are managed by the host principal in a problem-solving manner.
  • The host principal may consult with members of the cluster management committee, if required.
  • Request support from (NZEI)
  • Contact your regional Ministry of Education Advisor

Who manages the departure of a RTLit?

The host school principal has responsibility for managing the exit process when an RTLit leaves the service.

How do I appoint or replace a RTLit?

  • Please check with your regional Ministry of Education office before advertising a RTLit position. The Ministry need to keep an up-to-date record of who the RTLit are.
  • The host school tumuaki/principal is responsible for appointing new RTLit.
  • A principal representative from the cluster management committee should be on the appointment panel.
  • A professional with experience of teaching students with literacy difficulties should also be on the appointment panel (this could be an RTLit).
  • Clusters are allocated a given number of full-time RTLit positions, as advised by the Ministry of Education. Clusters may only appoint RTLit within their allocation.
  • The appointment process for an RTLit should largely be the same as employment of any other itinerant teacher in a school. The employment process, requisite steps and resources can be found on the New Zealand School Trustees Association website, see ‘board as employer’.

Funding, including: who is responsible for the management of cluster funding?

The RTLit is responsible for preparing a detailed annual budget, in consultation with the host principal and the cluster management committee (where appropriate).  

The cluster management committee is responsible for monitoring and approving this budget.
The host school board of trustees is responsible for managing the funds on behalf of all the cluster’s schools. The board:

  • has overall responsibility for budget, expenditure, and accounting, with cluster funds and financial position being included in the school’s usual annual planning and reporting cycle
  • reports regularly to cluster schools on the use of cluster funds.

There are three grants for each RTLit position; an establishment grant, an administration grant, and a travel grant. For more information on the funding that schools receive, refer to pages 48 and 49 of the manual.

How are surpluses handled?

Surplus funds from one year to the next should also continue to be used for the service and move with a transferred position.

Note: the manual is the true official source on this when there may be confusion caused by how funding is treated in other services, including Resource Teachers of Learning and Behaviour.

How do I find out about operational funding rates?

Knowing the financial operational rates for the administration and travel grants, you can plan better. The rates are updated annually around August.

How do I apply for increased travel funding?

If a cluster management committee considers an application for increased travel funding is necessary, it can apply through the regional or local office of the Ministry of Education. The instructions for applying for changes in travel grants are on the Ministry's website – Attached teacher staffing and funding.

The management committee will need to provide evidence of:

  • total cluster travel expenditure for the previous year and the current year to date
  • the number of kilometres travelled in the previous year and predicted for the current year
  • the level of additional funding requested
  • whether the expenditure to date is inclusive or exclusive of GST.

How do I decide which children to enrol in the service?

The Cluster Management Committee is responsible for prioritising need. It can be difficult to decide on need due to a range of factors, such as:

  • the priorities listed in the Cluster Strategic Plan, as each RTLit cluster works under a strategic plan for the cluster
  • the range of learning and behaviour interventions available
  • the limited number of RTLit teachers
  • changing demographics
  • changing regional populations
  • the areas a cluster cover are vast.

In deciding who gets support it is important to consider the intent of the service and the role of RTLits. The RTLit service provides short, intensive supplementary support to students with high literacy needs. The goal is that students make accelerated literacy progress and are able to work at, or near, the appropriate reading and/or writing level. This will enable the students to benefit from effective classroom teaching, and maintain the expected accelerated progress to close the gap with their cohort.

RTLit support may focus on: 

  • reading and/or
  • writing and/or
  • oral language development.


  • work with referred students and their teachers, within a cluster of schools, to provide advice and support on meeting the needs of these students
  • provide advice, modelling and guidance for classroom teachers who work with students on the RTLit roll
  • provide expert direct instruction to individuals or small groups of students who require intensive support
  • liaise with school leaders to contribute towards the establishment of effective systems and practices for ensuring positive, measurable outcomes for all learners whose achievement in literacy is not being fully realised.