The education and disability legislation guiding our special education policy

The Education Act 1989, the New Zealand Disability Strategy and the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, all guide our Special Education policy.

Education Act 1989 – Section 8

The Education Act 1989 - Section 8 (external link) , relates to special education. The Act says, "People who have special educational needs (whether because of disability or otherwise) have the same rights to enrol and receive education in state schools as people who do not".

All children and their parents should feel welcome when approaching any school to enrol. If a local school has an enrolment scheme, then a child usually has to live within the school’s enrolment zone.

National Education Guidelines

The National Education Guidelines provide schools with direction for their policies and practices. 

New Zealand Disability Strategy

The New Zealand Disability Strategy's vision (external link) is of a society that highly values the lives and continually enhances the full participation of disabled people. It provides a framework to guide government agencies when making policy and services affecting disabled people.

We contribute to the Disability Strategy’s objective 3 (external link) – to provide the best education for disabled people.

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

New Zealand ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (external link)  in 2008.

Article 24 (external link)  relates to the education of people with disabilities. Signatories to the convention are to ensure equal access to:

  • primary and secondary education
  • vocational training
  • adult education
  • lifelong learning.


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