News Archive

Congratulations to Jill Bevan-Brown

Nga mihi nui to Associate Professor Jill Bevan-Brown ((Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Wehiwehi, Ngati Awa, Ngai Te Rangi)  from Massey University for receiving the New Zealand Association of Research in Education’s Te Tohu Pae Tawhiti Award.

This prestigious award recognises researchers who have made a significant and long standing contribution to Maori education.

Jill Bevan Brown

Jill's area of interest and expertise is in finding culturally appropriate and effective ways to teach children with special needs, particularly Maori.

Her research is recognised internationally and had led to many widely used resources such as the Cultural Self-Review tool and a DVD on autism, In My Shoes, hich has been distributed to 22,000 schools, hospitals, tertiary institutions, social and M?ori organisations all over the world.

Dr Alison Kearney, of Massey’s Institute of Education, nominated Dr Bevan-Brown because of the significant and positive impact she had made over the years.

“Jill is an outstanding scholar and researcher who has made significant contributions at national and international levels to indigenous and Maori education, inclusive education, gifted education and autism research,” she says.

“For Jill it has always been about improving things for children, young people and their wh?nau as well as for teachers.”

Jill is the Director of Massey University's Inclusive Education Research Centre of Excellence. Congratulations Jill!

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Education in the news

Here's some recent activity in the media around education of students with learning disabilities.

IHC's education complaint

In response to the many complaints received about discrimination of children with disabilities in the education system, IHC took a complaint to the Human Rights Commission in 2008. Five years later, the Director of the Human Rights Commission Office of Proceedings has decided that he will not proceed with the complaint in its current form.

IHC is now funding the legal action themselves and  are still looking for stories and evidence of discrimination against disabled children in the education system. To read more about the complaint and how to get in contact, visit IHC's website.


Reversing our commitment to exclusion

Giovanni Tiso (Board of Trustee Chair, Berhampore School, Wellington) spoke recently at a forum in parliament on Best Practice in Quality Public Education. The text of  Giovanni's excellent speech is published on his blog Bat, Bean, Beam.


The Nelson Mail

On 28 November 2013, The Nelson Mail ran a front page article suggesting that students with disabilities, whose schools have made property modifications to accommodate them, should be bonded to that school. Despite the Ministry of Education and the schools themselves saying that making these property improvements benefited all students and were required regardless, to make the environment inclusive  of all, the The Nelson Mail sought to make an issue when there was none. They implied that children with disabilities are a burden on the system and insinuated that the families were wasting Ministry of Education money. 

IEAG's response to the article  was published in the Letters to the Editor section of the Nelson Mail on 7 Dec 2013. Parent to Parent New Zealand and some individuals also had their letters published. 


National Standards - What difference are they making?

A NZCER report  "National Standards - What difference are they making?" authored by Cathy Wylie and Melanie Berg was published in November 2013.  It shows, amongst other things, that 96% of teachers and 97% of principals felt that National Standards do not help the inclusion of students with special education needs. Read about the report here.


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Volunteers Celebrated

Volunteers were thanked and celebrated at IEAG's Annual General Meeting in Wellington on the 25th November 2013.

Particular recognition was given to Ian Armstrong who is stepping down from the committee after 5 years as Co-convenor.

Ian Thank You PresentationIan is a founding member of IEAG and spoke at our launch at parliament in 2007. He is a long time campaigner for inclusive education and has played an important part in keeping inclusive education on the agenda of the decision makers.

Ian has been instrumental in developing the organisation, and while we will miss his wise counsel on the committee, Ian will still be involved in IEAG in other roles.  

Apprecation was also offered to Gill Rutherford, Tony Paine and Debbie Rickard who were stepping down from the committee at the AGM.

AGM participants thank Ian Armstrong


Jude MacArthur and Gill Rutherford were thanked for their work in developing and running IEAG's successful seminars (held in partnership with IHC).

Thank You  presentation to Jude MacArthur

 Jude and Gill volunteered many hours over the past three year to put together and present a high quality learning opportunity for principals, teachers and parents. 


Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and the seminars are now being developed into an E-learning module. 


The 2014 Committee: 

Bernadette Macartney, Denise Astill, Ally Attwell, and Trish Grant were re-elected and co-opted on to the committee.

A big welcome was offered to Colin Gladstone, Kate McAnelly and Shane McInroe who are new to the committee this year.

To read more about our work over the past year, our annual report and financial report for 2013 are now available.





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Otago's Most Inclusive Teachers Recognised

Inclusiveness in Teaching Awards from the Otago University Students Association (OUSA) recognises excellence in inclusive teaching and a commitment to understanding disability as a human rights issue, thus enriching the Otago experience for students who have a disability, impairment or medical condition.

Congratulations to School of Physiotherapy Associate Professor Leigh Hale, College of Education Senior Lecturer Dr Gill Rutherford and Biochemistry Teaching Fellow Tony Zaharic who were presented with this award.

We are especially proud of Dr Gill Rutherford, IEAG governing committee member and seminar presenter, who has won this award for four years in a row. 

Gill Rutherford photo

Well done Gill!

The teaching awards form part of the OUSA representation system, which aims to include students in the creation and improvement of the education experience. The awards provide students the opportunity to give positive feedback to the lecturers who stand out as high quality teachers.                                                                                                                                                                             Dr Gill  Rutherford



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Inclusive Early Childhood Reading

Te Aotuuroa Taataki  book cover

Gordon-Burns, D., Gunn, A., Purdue, K. & Surtees, N.  (Eds). (2012). Te Aotuuroa Taataki – Inclusive Early Childhood Education: Perspectives on inclusion, social justice and equity from Aotearoa New Zealand. Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research, NZCER Press. $39.95

This book’s  relevance includes and also extends beyond the specific topic of early childhood education. The editors and authors describe themselves as passionate about growing  inclusive (early childhood) education and socially just communities and society.

Addressing how teachers and policy makers can work for inclusion with diverse children and families, this book focuses on the development of positive attitudes to difference and diversity. It suggests possible ways to reduce and eliminate barriers to learning and participation in early childhood communities.

The authors interrogate notions of difference, inclusion and exclusion from the perspectives of Maori and cultural responsiveness, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and biculturalism, interculturalism, gender, sexualities, economic disadvantage, age, religion and disability. Each chapter is informed  by critical, human rights, bi- and socio-cultural perspectives and frameworks on education.

There is plenty of food for thought and action about  ‘inclusive education’ and what that might mean  in Aotearoa New Zealand.  The book  engages well with Te Whaariki, the Aotearoa New Zealand early childhood curriculum from  multiple, critical perspectives. This encourages  some very interesting and home grown, flax root ideas and possible directions for inclusive education here.

The book will be relevant to teachers, families, policy makers and anyone with an interest in inclusive and bicultural education.

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NCEA Special Assessment Conditions

IEAG has prepared a response to the Review of Special Assessment Conditions for NCEA.

The Ministry of Education's and NZQA's review of the Special Assessment Conditions for NCEA  is in relation to students who have permanent or long term medical, sensory, physical or learning difficulties that they believe will impair their performance in internal and specified external assessment.

The review will look at equity of access to special assessment conditions, the effectiveness of support provided, the capacity of schools to manage special assessment condition requirements, the efficiency of systems for managing applications and the impact of technology on assessment.

IEAG's response can be read here.

Our response drew on Kia Orite -Achieving Equity, the New Zealand Code of Practice for an Inclusive Tertiary Education Environment for Students with Impairments, developed by the student organisation Achieve.

Information on Special Assessment Conditions for NCEA can be found on the Ministry of Education website

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Meeting School Trustees

Eight hundred and fifty school trustees from around the country converged on Auckland one weekend in July for their annual conference.

IEAG and IHC hosted a trade stand at the NZ School Trustees Association (NZSTA) Conference, where we distributed resources and information. They were well received, particularly Supporting your School to Be Inclusive, questions for Board of Trustees to consider that support inclusive values and practice when building their charter, policies and procedures. Each trustee took home our booklet FAQs on schooling for disabled students and young people in their conference bag.

We heard stories of great inclusive practice, such as a school where all the students have learnt sign language to support a student who doesn't speak verbally. Now the students are teaching their parents and the community.

Unfortunately we also heard of many struggles and issues such as students being asked to leave or not made to feel welcome.

On a positive note, we have seen a shift in understanding over the past 3 years and most trustees now know that they are legally required to include disabled students in their schools and have an obligation to ensure that their school is inclusive of all.

The next challenge will be putting this understanding into practice. 

iEAG_stand_at_Sta_ Conference

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IEAG Co-convenor wins award

A hearty congratulations must go to IEAG Co-convenor, Dr Bernadette Macartney, for receiving the Emerging Scholar Award for Disability Studies in Education (DSE) at the DSE Conference earlier in June.


Well done Bernadette!

Bernadette is an early childhood education teacher, teacher educator, researcher and disability rights advocate. She recently completed her PhD which explored the experiences of two families, each with a disabled child, within early childhood education, early schooling and daily life. Her research used a DSE framework for critiquing and understanding the families’ experiences of inclusion, exclusion and resistance in education. 


Congratulations must also go to Professor Roger Slee, who was awarded the DSE Senior Scholar Award at the conference. Roger is the Director of the Victoria Institute for Education, Diversity and Lifelong Learning, Victoria Univeristy, Melbourne. Roger has a long history in education and is passionate about the right of all to be included in education. Roger spoke at IEAG's launch at parliament in 2007.






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DSE Conference news

From 7-9 June 2013 Chrischurch was abuzz with visitors and locals meeting together to discuss and explore Disabiity Studies in Education (DSE).

IEAG presented two papers at the conference, Dr Bernadette Macartney presented (Re)imagining and (Re)building education: Resistance, narrative and the 'intelligence of experience'. 

IEAG_presentation_DSEOur second presentation Inclusive education: Young disabled people's perspectives is a collaboration between IEAG and People First.

Young disabled people shared their education stories and experiences and explained why regular schooling was so important to them. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear from our young people. The panel was well received and as a result, Craig Bellis, James Skinner, Olivia Bovey and Shane McInroe have since presented to Ministry of Education staff and community organisations.


IEAG  staffed an information stand at the conference  where we met delegates,  discussed issues shared stories and  distributed our resources.



To view other conference presentations visit the DSE Conference site.



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Susan Gabel visit

Professor Susan Gabel is a visiting Fulbright Specialist Scholar from the College of Educational Studies, Chapman University, California. She is in New Zealand to speak at the Disability Studies in Education (DSE) 13th Annual Conference at the University of Canterbury, 7th to 9th June 2013.


Susan will present in Auckland and Wellington and the meeting details can be found here. 

Auckland University Meeting 22 May 2013

Wellington Lunchtime Meeting 4 June 2013

Wellington Evening Meeting 4 June 2013

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SESTA Reference Group

IEAG is represented by Denise Astill (IEAG Governing Committee member) on the Special Education School Transport Assistance (SESTA)  Reference Group, set up recently by Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye to improve the provision of SESTA services.

Key outcomes for IEAG are:

1. More inclusive ways of transporting students to school e.g Ministry of Education (MOE) support for walking buses, supporting students to catch buses and trains independently.

2. Flexible SESTA service so that students can participate in extra-curricular activities and be included in school activities before or after school e.g. sport, art, drama. 

3. MOE addressing the issue of students being taxi-ed past their local schools to other schools outside of their community.

4. Inclusion of disabled students and their families in decision making.

SESTA Reference Group information

Questions for our members:

1. What do you think a child-centered Special Education School Transport Assistance (SESTA) would look like?
2. How can SESTA support students to receive an inclusive education?
3.How can the SESTA complaints policy and procedures be improved?

Ministry of Education's SESTA information

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Latest Inclusive Reading

Two book that address inclusive education in New Zealand have recently been published:

Teaching_in_inclusive_school_communities_book_coverTeaching in Inclusive School Communities, by Suzanne Carrington and Jude MacArthur, (2012), is an essential resource for pre-service teachers and those wishing to gain a comprehensive understanding of the framework of inclusive education and how to incorporate inclusive practices in the classroom. 

The book is divided into four parts: Part 1 introduces Inclusive Education, Parts 2 and 3 explore "Inclusive School Communities" and"Developing Positive Identities:Language, Beliefs, Values and Relationship"  and Part 4 concludes with "The Practical Skills of Working in Inclusive Schools".

Throughout the book Key Learning Points are noted, Inclusion in Action vignettes illustrate the main issues and Points for Discussion and Connection to Practice stimulate critical thinking and reflection and create points for discussion.

Easily accessible, this book is not just for pre-service teachers but for anyone wanting to develep a comprehensive understanding of inclusive education. it is available to purchase in print and as an e-book from Wiley or borrowed from libraries such as the IHC Library


Inclusive Education Perspectives on Professional Practice book cover

The second book," Inclusive Education: Perspectives on Professional Practice", (2012) is written by members of the Centre of Excellence for Research in Inclusive Education, Massey University. 

This book discusses policies and practices that relate to inclusive education in Aotearoa/ New Zealand, challenges existing thinking and practices, and explores new approaches.

The book looks at a diverse range of children in Aotearoa/ New Zealand's educational settings; children with special educational needs,  Maori and Pasifika children, those for whom English is an additional language and those who are gifted and talented. The reasons behind why these children are at risk of being excluded is explored and each chapter ends with further questions for reflection.

This book will also be a valuable resource for teachers, teacher educators and students of inclusive education. It is available from Dunmore Publishing.


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Rights in Early Childhood Education

Protecting the rights of disabled learners and their families to quality, inclusive early childhood education.

Dr Bernadette Macartney, IEAG's co-convenor, writes in Children Magazine No.81, Winter 2012, the Journal of the Office of the Children's Commmission. 

The article looks at the quality of education available, the presence and participation of disabled children, funding issues including diagnosis and labelling and funding allocation.

Barriers to an inclusive education in early childhood education are identified and some solutions going forward are suggested. 

You can read the article here



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Charter Schools Media Release

IEAG has written a submission and made an oral presentation to the Education and Science Select Committee opposing the proposed amendments to the Education Act that will allow for the establishment of Charter Schools.

"We are deeply concerned at the National Government’s push to introduce charter schools through these proposed changes to the Education Act. Charter schools are likely to result in
discrimination against disabled students” said Dr Bernadette Macartney of the IEAG. Read our media release  and our submission.

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IEAG resources now on website

New to this website is a collection of resources developed from IEAG's seminars and conferences. 

"FAQs on Schooling for Disabled Children and Young People" is a comprehensive booklet with answers to the frequently asked questions that IEAG has encountered during our work.  

"Supporting your School to be Inclusive" is designed for Boards of Trustees to develop charters, policies, practice and curriculum that is inclusive of all.  

Other resources such as "Recommended Websites" and "A Prick in the Minister's Side" can also be found on this page.

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IEAG's Submission on Charter Schools

IEAG opposes the Education Ammendment Bill (no 4) that would establish Charter Schools (or Partnership School/ Kura Hourua).

We are concerned that the establishment of Charter Schools would infringe on students' rights to an inclusive education, disadvantage disabled students and compromise NZ's public education system. You can read our full submission here.

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