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IEAG calls for action on ERO Report

MEDIA RELEASE: The Inclusive Education Action Group (IEAG) calls for action in response to the latest Education Review Office (ERO) report Inclusive Practices for Students with Special Needs in Schools.

IEAG acknowledges that the report provides some examples of good practice but cautions against concluding that more schools have become more inclusive.  The report itself states “The information may not be strictly comparable across the years, as the 2010 rating referred to students with high needs while the 2014 rating referred to students with special education needs.”

The latest report shows that 1.3% of schools have few inclusive practices down from 20% in 2010. This statistic is remarkable and is contradicted by the IHC Education Complaint testimony, complaints to the Ministry of Education, Human Rights Commission and Children’s Commissioner.  Evidence used to derive this statistic is observational and based on snapshots. IEAG notes that there is no evidence in the report of improved student achievement from hard data such as NCEA achievement trends.

As well as the methodology used, IEAG questions the lack of clarity as to what constitutes inclusive education. ERO’s definition of inclusion doesn’t address settings that exclude within a local school, such as segregated units. Schools could consider themselves inclusive while still maintaining a segregated environment.

It is concerning that there is no reference to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPWD).  Inclusive education is a right of all students, including those with disabilities, and the UNCRPWD is a vital framework against which performance should be reviewed.  Additionally, IEAG is concerned at the Ministry of Education and ERO’s reluctance to take action against schools that exclude and deny this right to education.

IEAG calls on the Ministry of Education to:
1. Establish an enforceable right to inclusive education, as recommended by the Human Rights Commission and UNCRPWD, and take action against schools that deny that right.
2. Recognise that achievement data is required in order to measure progress in inclusive education.
3. Require compulsory pre-service teacher education and demonstration of competence in inclusive education in order to upskill and better prepare teachers to be inclusive of all.

 

For more information contact:
Ian Armstrong
Media Spokesperson
Ph: 027 333 7840
Email:  [email protected]


YOu can read the ERO report Inclusive Practices for Students with Special Needs in Schools here

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