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Te Aka

WEGC Supported Learning Class

From Akatarewa pā - Aka is a vine of any climbing plant, referencing a supportive growth environment.

At Wellington East Girls’ College we pride ourselves on being inclusive, accepting and able to adapt programmes to meet the needs of individual students. Our aim is to support students to become as independent as possible by developing literacy, numeracy, academic skills, life skills and social skills.

ORS and In Class Support funded students have the support of a learning support classroom which focuses on the individual student’s learning needs. Te Aka works as a hub for students to access mainstream classes. Te Aka staff work together with students and their families to create a meaningful programme for each student, including both mainstream classes and focused programmes within Te Aka. 

ORS funded students can stay at school until the end of the year in which they turn 21.

Individual Educational Plans (IEP)

The specialist team of teachers and therapists work together with parents to set individual goals for students. Specific programmes are then developed to suit each student’s individual needs. IEP meetings take place twice during the year. 

We use StoryPark as a tool to communicate between home and school. The teaching and therapy team take photos and videos to share student learning and successes.

Literacy and Numeracy

The Te Aka team has a strong focus on developing students literacy and numeracy skills, and applying these skills to real-life experiences. Students are assessed using standardised tests to find their next learning step. The teaching programme within Te Aka includes small group teaching as well as individual lessons.

Curriculum Areas

Students are able to access mainstream classes within our inclusive school environment. They are supported by both their peers and teacher aides.

Options for mainstream classes include: English, Mathematics, Science, Tikanga-a-iwi, Foods, Dance and Drama, Health and PE, Fashion, Music, Design Technology.

Classes are adapted to ensure students are successful with their learning, and the development of student timetables is completed in consultation with the student and their whanau.

Students are encouraged to be involved in extracurricular activities such as choir and clubs. Support is offered by staff or other students to ensure these activities can be accessed.

Within Te Aka students take part in learning experiences such as:

  • Art
  • Health and Values
  • Cooking
  • Community Participation
  • Sports and Fitness
  • Special Olympics
  • Dance
  • Work Experience
  • Life Skills
  • Sign Language
  • Music
  • Hygiene
  • Science
  • RDA
  • Aquatics
  • Literacy and Numeracy
  • Duke of Edinburgh Award

We enjoy creating a broad and rich curriculum which follows students’ interests and needs.

ORS - Very High Needs

Wellington East Girls’ College provides an accessible environment for students with Very High Needs. This includes:

  • Accessible bathrooms, including change beds and shower facilities
  • Sensory Programmes such as Sensology, TAC PAC, Sensory Volume and Intensive Interaction.These programmes are individualised to assist students in gaining an understanding of the world around them, to develop communication and exploration
  • MOVE trained staff. Mobility Opportunities via Education focusing on developing functional physical skills
  • Focus on communication as a fundamental life skill. Staff are trained in using a variety of alternative communication devices and have a total communication approach
  • Sensory spaces and learning experiences for developing vision
  • Support with transition into post-school programmes

Specialist Support

WEGC is directly funded by the Ministry of Education to provide specialist services for our ORS funded students. This means that therapists and other specialists are contracted directly to the school. The following therapists are currently working at WEGC, and we have the opportunity to contract other specialists depending on individual student need.

Music Therapy

Ruby Solly is a Registered Music Therapist. Ruby works at Wellington East Girls’ College one day a week.

Music therapy is the use of music, within a therapeutic relationship, to support a student’s development, strengths and resources. It is a holistic approach that includes social, emotional, physical, and cognitive needs. During sessions, students are involved in playing instruments, singing and creating music.

Ruby takes a person-centered approach and works in a collaborative way with students. Ruby sees some students for individual sessions, and works with everyone in small group situations

Occupational Therapy

Please let me introduce myself:  Ruth Marin Schlüter (Ruut)

My German first name is almost as much of a tongue twister as my  North European family name for English speakers: it is pronounced   “Ruut”. Therefore you will often see my person referred to as Ruut.

With your basket and my basket the people will live.

Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te iwi.

I am a  private Occupational Therapist with a Wellington based  Mobile Occupational Therapy Service called “Ergo in a Suitcase”.

Occupational Therapy focuses on daily life skills and supports the participation into important and meaningful activities of any person with physical, sensory, emotional or cognitive challenges.

Sensory stimulation and modulation is one of my special Occupational Therapy interests and I believe that learning and well-being is much related to how well we manage our environment.

Where required  I therefore assess an individual’s sensory profile with sensory preferences / dislikes through questionnaires, observation and trial of “sensory diet recommendations”.

My role at Wellington East Girls’ College involves group facilitation for awareness and exploration of sensory needs, stressors and strategies. All students are working on individual tool boxes to help them manage their day by staying  in a “just right” state without too many highs and lows.  Therefore emotional learning and well-being blends into this work. I run a group session focused on this area.

Another part of my role covers assessments and training around daily life activities (ADLs), such as fine motor skills including writing or ability to participate in school and leisure activities as well as best independence with personal care (e.g. oral hygiene after food intake).

I am also able to support students with equipment such as wheelchairs and assistive technology.

Speech-And-Language Therapy

My name is Shannon Hennig. I am a speech-language therapist with a special interest in literacy, autism, neurodiversity, and AAC (augmentative communication). I have an American accent, but call New Zealand home.

I am passionate about ensuring that students develop strong and confident communication skills. I believe in respecting and honouring a wide range of communication methods. Evidence based practice is important to me, as is making sure that communication is fun, personal, and meaningful.

Supporting the people around a student is also important. I work closely with the adults (family and teaching staff) to ensure that they understand how they can be the best communication partner possible. I have also lived overseas (Italy) and understand deeply the thrill and frustrations of learning a second language.

Shannon’s website:


I work with students who require support with their physical skills. This includes creating stretching and muscle building programmes, monitoring their development and offering advice and guidance to ensure students can reach their potential physically. I also support the students who need equipment reviewed (wheelchair, walking frame or standing frame) and work with other agencies such as the Child Development Service, orthotics clinic and the Occupational Therapist to organise appropriate equipment

Transition out of school

Moving on from school can be a difficult time for students and their families. At Wellington East Girls’ College we work closely with families, transition providers and post-school agencies to ensure that students have a wonderful future to look forward to once they graduate from school.

When do we start?

The college years are all about developing independence and creating pathways for the future. During the Individual 

Education Plan (IEP) meetings the home and school team work together with the student to identify their next steps in learning to enable them to follow their desired pathway.

Students who are ORS funded are able to stay at school until the end of the year in which they turn 21. From 18 - 21 years of  age their programme will have a strong emphasis on community participation. Work experience, linking in with day bases, becoming more independent with recreational activities, and using public transport will be included in their learning experiences. 

Transition Wheel

When students turn 18 years old a transition wheel is completed during the IEP meeting as a way of focusing on what is important to the student and her family. This will guide the planning for essential learning and experiences that need to be focused on during the final years of transition.

At this meeting parents will be offered support with exploring options for their daughter, for example, Community Participation providers, day bases, residential homes, courses, work opportunities, work experience, and voluntary work.

For more information about Supported Learning at Wellington East Girls’ College please contact:
Sue Perry, Head of Supported Learning,
Email: or phone 04 3858514