This week DPA made a submission to the Ministry of Education on their Highest Needs Review.

DPA believes that a review of provision for only a subset of disabled learners will not bring about the necessary changes needed to create a truly disability inclusive education system in Aotearoa, rather we need a whole system change to make this a reality.

Enforceable right to disability inclusive education

  • Disabled students in Aotearoa/New Zealand do not currently have a right to inclusive education and this review does not provide for this.
  • New Zealand has obligations under the UNCRPD to provide and uphold the right to inclusive education.
  • Reasonable accommodation and what this means needs to be defined in law and policy.
  • Reasonable accommodation requires an individualized / flexible approach rather than “one size fits all”.  For example, Deaf children require an Educational Interpreter, not a Teacher Aide.
  • A child-centred approach would reflect knowledge of and investment in reasonable accommodation rather than the rationing system we have now.
  • A child’s right to inclusive education requires well prepared schools which are able to accommodate the child’s individual requirements and provide accessible learning environments.  A whole school and whole system approach is required.
  • The current resourcing and policy framework which is based on the rationing of capped funding buckets is the antithesis of a child-centred approach. The policy and resourcing framework needs to be transformed to respond to disabled children’s rights to reasonable accommodation and accessible learning environments.

DPA made a number of recommendations around how to achieve disability inclusive education in our submission.

Read DPA's submission on the Ministry of Education Highest Needs Review

Ministry of Education Highest Needs Review - consultation period extended for disability community

The engagement phase for the Ministry of Education’s Highest Needs Review  closed on 31 March 2022 and the online submission portal is now closed. However, the consultation date has been extended to 14 April 2022 for the disability community.

You can find out more about the consultation, including information in NZSL, Easy Read and Braille on the Highest Needs Review consultation page.

Submissions can be sent directly to the Highest Needs Review mailbox before the end of 14 April 2022.