Find out about inclusive education in New Zealand schools, including your school's legal obligations. Our resources can help your school or early learning service support students with diverse needs.
Children and young people learn best when they:
- feel accepted
- enjoy positive relationships with their fellow learners and teachers, and
- are able to be active, visible members of the learning community.
Inclusive education means all children and young people are engaged and achieve through being present, participating, learning and belonging. It means all learners are welcomed by their local early learning service and school, and are supported to play, learn, contribute and participate in all aspects of life at the school or service.
Our Inclusive Education website explains how the Ministry of Education defines and describes inclusive education, and the values that underpin inclusive education.
Inclusive education is founded in the Education and Training Act 2020, which states: “people who have special education needs (whether because of disability or otherwise) have the same rights to enrol and receive education at state schools as people who do not”.
New Zealand schools also have binding obligations to include and provide a quality education for all learners under the:
- New Zealand Disability Strategy
- United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
This obligation is backed up by the:
- New Zealand Curriculum
- Te Whāriki (early childhood education curriculum)
- Te Marautanga o Aotearoa (curriculum for Māori-medium settings).
The New Zealand Schools Trustees Association (NZSTA) website provides guidance on effective governance and building inclusive schools. It outlines the responsibilities of school boards to lead inclusive schools.
Board webinars can assist your board to prioritise aspirations for students with diverse learning needs.
We’ve created a catalogue listing many of the resources available to support schools and boards.
Inclusive Education website
Our Inclusive Education website has a collection of practical ‘how to’ guides aimed at supporting teachers and school leaders to meet the diverse needs of all learners.
You can also watch more than 20 videos of teachers and students talking about and demonstrating inclusive practices.
Inclusive Practices and School Curriculum online modules help school leaders and teachers plan for all students within the NZ Curriculum and adapt and differentiate in the least obtrusive way.
The Everyone’s In teacher planning tool on TKI takes teachers through a step-by-step process for planning a lesson that works for all students. It's underpinned by the principles of Universal Design for Learning.
Our Wellbeing@School website has a series of student, staff and community surveys and audits to help your school identify its strengths and areas to develop.
Our IEP website provides practical information to help anyone involved in developing or implementing individual education plans (IEPs) to support students with special education needs.
Teachers and Teacher Aides Working Together are nine modules on TKI that teachers and teacher aides complete together to strengthen working relationships, improve role clarity and build knowledge of inclusive practice.
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