Inclusive Education

ERO 2019 


“The school has a highly inclusive culture for learning. Students with additional needs are well catered for through individualised planning. There is a strategic approach to supporting learning through targeted programmes and interventions. Leaders effectively liaise with a wide range of outside agencies to support student learning and behaviour.”

Defining inclusive education

Inclusive Education is where all children and young people are engaged and achieve through being present, participating, learning and belonging. At fully inclusive schools, all students are welcome and are able to take part in all aspects of school life. Diversity is respected and upheld. Inclusive schools believe all students are confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners and work towards this within the New Zealand Curriculum. Students’ identities, languages, abilities, and talents are recognised and affirmed and their learning needs are addressed.

Find out more about inclusive education on our Inclusive Education website .

Governance tools

Guidance on effective governance and building inclusive schools outline the responsibilities of school boards of trustees to lead inclusive schools.

Self Review Tools for Boards of Trustees and Schools: 

ERO indicators  Look at how the Education Review Office evaluates inclusive schools.

 Including Students with High Needs

We have a legal and binding obligation to include all learners!

Inclusive education is founded in the Education Act 1989, which says: “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 under the New Zealand Disability Strategy  and United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to include and provide a quality education for all learners.

This obligation is backed up by the New Zealand Curriculum, Te Whāriki (the early childhood education curriculum) and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa (the curriculum for Māori-medium settings).

Additional support

When the needs of students are beyond what the school can provide for by utilising existing school supports, schools may access support from the Ministry Learning Support teams and/or the RTLB. These specialists then work alongside the whānau and teachers of these students to develop learning plans.

A teacher aide is a valuable, extra resource in the classroom. Their time and role is directed by the classroom/subject teacher, who is the expert in teaching and learning.

Teacher aide time supports students to be fully engaged in their learning alongside their peers and improves students' presence, participation, and educational outcomes


Success for all [PDF, 1.1 MB] looks at how the Ministry of Education defines and describes inclusive education and the values that underpin inclusive education.


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