An ITLP is a learning development plan designed to include desired learning experiences based on career aspiration, strengths, interests and goals. It is increasingly recognised as the way of the future, as the way education needs to go if young people are to develop the knowledge, skills, values they need to be successful in our complex and rapidly changing world.


ITLP is about bringing “Life to Learning”, about creating an environment in which students are motivated by learning, and in which learning has meaning and value.


ITLP is about student-centred learning, in which the what, the how and the when of learning is determined by the strengths, interests and aspirations of students, and where they are at in their learning and personal development. It is about one student at a time.


ITLP is about holistic/inter-disciplinary learning, making connections, making sense of the world in which students live, and will live, their lives.


ITLP is about the development of the whole person; it brings together all those learning experiences that lead to learning in the broader sense; it helps to give “Purpose to Life”.


ITLP is about rich, authentic, and motivational learning experiences.


ITLP is about creating an environment for students in which the four basic needs we all have as human beings are met:


  1. Belonging or Connecting: which comes out of being able to develop caring, and mutually respectful and co-operative relationships with fellow students and adults.

  2. Power or Competence: which comes out of students being internally motivated to develop achievement and mastery, recognised for their achievements, involved in decisions that impact on their lives, and self-responsible.

  3. Freedom: which comes out of students having choice to master new skills, to evolve, adapt and thrive in ways that are respectful of others.

  4. Fun: which comes out of students enjoying learning, and having a sense of discovery which then leads to learning that is deeper and stronger.


ITLP is about recognising different stages in the development of students:


  • The Career Development Plan provides opportunities for exploration of the world of opportunities, gaining sense of their aspirations for their futures.

  • The Exit Strategy involves the setting of clear and firm goals for the achievement of those aspirations.


Each of these stages includes the setting of personal as well as ‘learning’ goals.  Each student has a personal ‘timetable’ or Work Plan that can include individual goals, individual or group tasks and activities, projects, or elements of specific programs. Plans cover a week or a fortnight at a time; progress is monitored and ‘signed off’ at the end of each time period. Students are guided on how to refer to and to build/internalise standards and quality into their learning, and how to gain credits to NCEA and/or other qualifications.


Each student [in groups of 10-15] are guided, coached and mentored through these stages by one Kaitiaki. Each student, and each group has his or her own space. Each ‘advisory’ is made up of students across the age range. Students are encouraged to support each other and take leadership roles within the group and the wider whānau. Students remain in the same group with the same Kaitiaki while they are at Tai Wānanga.

ROLE OF KAITIAKI (Learning Facilitators)


Kaitiaki have a critical role in ensuring the success of the Tai Wānanga educational model.


In Tai Wānanga, the learning process is overseen by kaitiaki. Their role is to support, encourage, motivate and assist a group of students to engage in learning that is reflective of the strengths, interests, needs and aspirations of the individual involved.   Each student has an ITLP, aligned to the individual, tailored, learning approach practised by Tai Wānanga.  Kaitiaki assist students to develop ITLP and are also responsible for regularly monitoring progress, assisting with evaluation and for reviewing and where necessary revising the learning objectives involved.


Kaitiaki are not expected to limit their contribution just to fields of learning for which they have specialist skills and qualifications.  While they will often have important contributions to make associated with these fields, they are also expected to facilitate learning in other areas.  Much of the learning at Tai Wānanga involves learning experiences that incorporate aspects of more than one subject.  Such project-based learning (PBL) requires a Kaitiaki to apply their skills and capabilities beyond their specialist field, should they have one.


Kaitiaki are also encouraged to recognise the potential of others to contribute to the learning experience of the students.  Tai Wānanga promotes the view that learning occurs all the time, in many different locations and circumstances, not just at school within a classroom.  Accordingly, taking students out of school to specific locations appropriate to their particular learning activity is considered acceptable practice at Tai Wānanga.  Similarly, the contributions of community members, whānau, mentors and experts in their field are welcomed and appreciated and considered to enhance the learning experience of the students.  Kaitiaki have an important role in sourcing these out of school learning locations and in identifying suitable learning contributors and in assisting and supporting them during their engagement with the students.

In the process of fulfilling their role, Kaitiaki also assume collective responsibility for the health and well being of the students during their time at Tai Wānanga.  They are expected to be mindful of such factors in their engagement with students and to provide appropriate support, advice, and guidance where necessary.


Career aspirations and exit strategy are critical components of ITLP AND developing future pathways. Whilst attending University may be the goal for some students, there are many vocational pathways that do not require University Entrance or NCEA Level 3. Examples include NZ Defence Force, electrical trades, building and construction, land based sector, and sports fitness industry.

At Tai Wānanga we continue to build collaborative relationships that enable students to attend relevant courses, gain relative experiences, and on occasions internship placements.


Our collaborative partners include:


Massey University

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa



Manawatu Rugby Football Union

NZ Army