Our Beliefs

Basis for our work

Inclusive education is based on the principle that all people are equal and should be respected and valued, as an issue of basic human rights.

Inclusive education involves supporting all people to participate in the cultures, curricula and communities of their local educational setting. Barriers to learning and participation for everyone, irrespective of their ethnicity, culture, disability or any other factor, are actively reduced so that they feel a sense of belonging and community in their educational context.

Inclusive education involves more than placing disabled children and young people into the same mainstream schools and classrooms as their peers. It is also more than the current system of special education.

To achieve inclusive education the education system must undergo a radical change so that it has the resources, understandings, values and commitment to teach all children well in non-discriminatory settings. Inclusive education cannot occur alongside special education [1] and must replace the present dual system of mainstream and special education. The needs of all children will be met in inclusive environments.

Inclusive education works. Research and practice in New Zealand and internationally shows that inclusive education produces students who are better educated and better able to participate and contribute as members of their communities and society. Inclusive education can be both cost-efficient and cost effective [2].

Inclusive education helps build inclusive communities where each member is supported to contribute, and where the human values created as a result support our societies to achieve our most important goals.

Our beliefs

All children and young people have the right to learn together, so that they can develop relationships, skills and knowledge for everyday life.

No disabled person should be denied the right to participate fully in education alongside others of their age.

The role of education is to support people to be and become participating citizens in a civil democratic society.

To achieve inclusive education the education system must change so that it has the resources, understandings, values and commitment to teach all children well in non-discriminatory settings.

Inclusion is a process of removing barriers to participation and learning for all children.


[1]  “Special education” as it is used here refers to particular ways of thinking about disabled students and to educational structures that separate and differentiate them from their peer group. “Special education” refers to separate locations such as special schools, units and classes, and to the belief systems and structures in any school that identify students as “special” and separate.

[2] United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to education, Vernor Munoz, The right to education of persons with disabilities, (19 February 2007)