The education and disability legislation guiding our approach to learning support
Schools are required to be inclusive under the Education Act 1989 (the Act). The right to an inclusive education is enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC), and reinforced by the New Zealand Disability Strategy.
- Education and Training Act 2020
- United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
- New Zealand Disability Strategy
These national and international obligations are backed up by the:
- New Zealand Curriculum
- Te Marautanga o Aotearoa — the curriculum for Māori-medium settings
- Te Whāriki — the early childhood education curriculum.
Section 34 of the Education and Training Act 2020 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".
The Act also requires schools to be inclusive of and cater for students with differing needs. Additionally, boards must take all reasonable steps to act in a manner that's consistent with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi when performing their roles and responsibilities.
New Zealand ratified the UNCRPD in 2008.
Article 24 relates to the rights of persons with disabilities to education.
Signatories to the convention are to ensure equal access to:
- primary and secondary education
- vocational training
- adult education
- lifelong learning.
New Zealand ratified the UNCROC in 1993.
UNCROC is a comprehensive human rights treaty that enshrines specific children's rights in international law. It was adopted by the United Nations in 1989 and defines universal principles and standards for the status and treatment of children worldwide.
The New Zealand Disability Strategy's vision 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 all of the Disability Strategy’s outcome areas, particularly outcome 1 — Education, ‘We get an excellent education and achieve our potential throughout our lives’.
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