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History of Special Education in New Zealand and our Journey Towards Inclusive Education

New Zealands journey towards inclusive education began nearly 150 years ago with the provision of a centrally funded system of regionally controlled schools. Schooling was available for all children from the ages of 5-15 years and compulsory for children from the ages of 7-13 years. The exception to this was children who were unable to attend due to illness or geographical location. Since then this journey has been influenced by new theories and a changing landscape of models for disability, as well as by policy and legislation at both a global and national level. This article considers contemporary models of disability that facilitate the journey towards inclusive education and the contribution of policies and legislation towards inclusive education in New Zealand. It concludes with a summary of the strengths and weaknesses of the system based on these policies plus personal perspectives and the perspectives of professionals working in the field of special education.

Models of Disability
In order to understand contemporary models of inclusion it is first necessary to agree on a definition. Often the terms special education and inclusion are used interchangeably or as components of the same system but contemporary definitions see the concepts as quite different. The Ministry of Education Special Education Policy Guidelines (1995) defines special education as: the provision of extra assistance, adapted programmes or learning environments, specialised equipment or materials to support young children and school students with accessing the curriculum in a range of settings. Ballard proposes a definition for inclusion that goes beyond considering only children with special needs or disabilities towards a perspective that includes any child who is excluded as a result of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or other difference that is given significance within a particular cultural setting(2004). Ainscow and Miles describe the purpose of inclusive education as eliminating social exclusion that is a consequence of attitudes and responses to diversity in race, social class, ethnicity, religion, gender and ability (2009) Ballard (2004) suggests that the traditional view of special education is based on medical and psychological models of deficit, illness and impairments supporting the need to segregate these children through the use of special settings, special resources, special support and creating a culture of otherness. A different educational approach, that of special education was taken for these children further categorising education into special and not special. By nature special education has been grounded in assessment of what a child cannot do in order to obtain

funding. Unless sufficient deficiency is identified the resources and support a child needs may not be available. Ballard argues that special education is in fact a key component in exclusion of disabled children. Special education has developed into a separate field of thought with its own approaches, specialists, resources and curricula. A more contemporary view of inclusive education no longer includes the model of special education but adapts current mainstream practice to remove barriers that deny disabled children opportunity, and physical access and transforms ideas around disability to maximize learning and social development, valuing the presence and participation of all children and valuing diversity and difference. Through this social justice approach all children will experience self-determination, be challenged by teachers, be viewed as competent and have access to the culture and resources they require. The literature identifies a number of requirements for a school to move towards inclusion: increased professional development for teachers and staff to respond to disability in the educational setting professional development around communicating with disabled children and the use of assistive technology sufficient knowledge of the curriculum to be able to extend it into areas not presently covered removal of barriers to disabled childrens participation, presence and achievement in the mainstream classroom ensuring positive visibility of disabled children sufficient staffing in the classroom but with the classroom teacher being responsible for the direction the childs learning takes appropriate class sizes developing a school community that values diversity, that respects and values differences rather than isolating them removing the necessity to justify the need for resources, all children should have equitable access to resources they need identification and removal of barriers to learning and participation an end to categorising children as special needs Segregation still supported by a number of educational professionals and families of disabled children and until schools are competent in providing a truly inclusive education there will always be a place for this. However, research shows that disabled children in mainstream classes have better academic success, better social development and a better life in the community outside of school. Various social justice models have been put forward to facilitate inclusion in schools, 2 of these are examined below. Higgins, MacArthur and Kelly, a, c, d model, 2009 This model was developed after consideration of models of social justice described by Gale (2000, as cited by Higgins, 2009). Gale considers 3 models:

retributive justice: the biggest part of the pie goes to disabled children distributive justice: the biggest part of the pie is allocated to compensate for disability recognitve justice: this includes some components of the retributive and distributive models but also considers processes involved, positive views of diversity, positive group attitudes, participation in decision making and opportunity for all children to affirm their capability and agency The application of Higgins a, c, d model based on agency, competency and diversity means that teachers are able to value disabled children as competent individuals, with autonomy and to celebrate diversity.

(Higgins, MacArthur and Kelly, 2009, p.474)

Ainscow and Miles, Inclusive Framework, 2009

(Ainscow and Miles, 2009, p.5) This framework is based on 4 themes as shown in the diagram above. For each of these themes Ainscow and Miles suggest performance indicators: Concepts overall principle of inclusion curriculum and assessment account for all learners all agencies understand and support the goal of inclusive education systems monitor presence, participation and achievement Policy inclusive education is prominent in key documents leadership on inclusive education is provided by senior staff aspirations for inclusion are consistent across policies and leaders non-inclusive practices are challenged Structures and systems high quality support for vulnerable groups agencies and services work collaboratively toward inclusive policy and practice distribution of resources benefits vulnerable groups specialist provision has a role in promoting inclusive education Practice strategies to promote presence, participation and achievement for all learners support for learners who are marginalised, excluded or underachieving teacher training includes responding to learner diversity ongoing professional development on inclusive practice. Ainscows framework allows schools to use an inquiry approach to their responsiveness to inclusion starting with an evaluation of systems already in place, identifying good practice and also barriers that need to be removed.

Policies and Legislation


This next section looks at the history and development of New Zealand and global policies and legislation that contribute towards inclusive practice in our schools.

New Zealand Education Act 1989


Section 8 of the Act states that "People who have special educational needs (whether because of disability or otherwise) have the same rights to enrol and receive education in state schools as people who do not". The Act also states that families of children with special needs should be made to feel welcomed when enrolling in a new school.

United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child 1990


This convention came into force in 1990 when the regulatory number of signatories were obtained; Zealand signed in 1993. In the child friendly version of the convention Article 23 states: You have the right to special education and care if you have a disability, as well as all the rights in this Convention, so that you can live a full life.

Special Education Policy Guidelines 1995


These guidelines state the principles forming the foundations of the Special Education 2000 policy 1. Young children and students with special education needs have the same rights to a high quality education as people of the same age who do not have special education needs. 2. The primary focus of special education is to meet the individual learning and developmental needs of the young child and student. 3. All young children and students with identified special education needs have access to a fair share of the available special education resources. 4. Partnership between students' families/whanau and education providers is essential in overcoming barriers to learning. 5. All special education resources are used in the most effective and efficient way possible, taking into account parent choice and the needs of the young child or student. 6. A young child or student's language and culture comprise a vital context for learning and development and must be taken into consideration in planning programmes. 7. Young children and students with special education needs will have access to a seamless education from the time that their needs are identified through to post-school options. ("Special Education Principles." - Ministry of Education. Para. 1, n.d. Web. 13
Sept. 2013)

Special Education 2000 1996


Special Education 2000 aimed to achieve a world class inclusive education for New Zealand over the following decade. 1998 by:

Improving opportunities and outcomes for children with special needs in Early Childhood and school settings Ensuring resourcing is clear, consistent and predictable Providing equitable resourcing regardless of school or geographic setting Enabling school ownership in fulfilling the full range of students' needs.
("Introduction." - Ministry of Education. Para. 2, n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2013)

Special Education 2000 Evaluation and Monitoring 1998


Reports across 3 phases of Special Education 2000 were produced by Massey University. The table below shows the areas focused on the policy and how the level of schools satisfaction with each area changed across the 3 phases. Satisfaction with the principle Satisfaction with the practice Phase 1 Phase 3 Phase 1 Phase 3 SBI - Severe Behaviour Intervention 36% 26% 16% 20% ORS - Ongoing Resourcing Scheme ORRS - Ongoing and Reviewable Resourcing Scheme SLI - Speech-Language Initiative SEG Special Education Grant RTLB Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour 58% 56% 40% 50%

34% 52% 64%

34% 54% 75%

22% 37% 49%

32% 50% 69%

(adapted from Special Education 2000: Monitoring and Evaluation of the Policy, Final Report Summary)

New Zealand Disability Strategy 2001


The aim of this strategy is to ensure that all people in New Zealand are have the rights to inclusion, participation and opportunities. The strategy comprises 15 objectives. Objective 3 Provide the best education for disabled people deals explicitly with education. Ensuring that: all disabled children can attend their local school all disabled people have help to communicate effectively all disabled people have fair access to resources to get the best education that teachers and educators understand their learning needs of disabled people schools meet the needs of the disabled person disabled people have further education beyond school (Office for Disability Issues, 2003). Other objectives, although not directly related to education still have a part to play in the journey towards inclusive schools e.g.

Objective 1: Encourage and educate the community and society to understand respect and support disabled people Objective 15: Recognise the importance of families, whanau and people who provide support for disabled people: provide education and information for families and people who support disabled people. (Office for Disability Issues, 2003).

New Zealand Disability Strategy Implementation Review 2007


The purpose of the review was to: evaluate the effectiveness of the promotion and implementation of the strategy identify area for improvement identify areas for expansion plan for a 10 year review The review report on 13 areas including: barriers to learning, improving learning for children with ASD, professional development, assessment, resourcing, behaviour screening, interim support funding, Early hearing screening and New Zealand Sign Language Act

New Zealand Autism Spectrum Disorder Guidelines 2008


This takes the form of an evidence-based summary to inform practice and decision making for professionals and families providing for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. It looks at diagnosis and assessment,

The New Zealand Curriculum 2007


The new curriculum makes specific references to children with special needs or disabilities on 8 occasions including the Inclusion Principle: The curriculum is non-sexist, non-racist, and non-discriminatory; it ensures that students identities, languages, abilities, and talents are recognised and affirmed and that their learning needs are addressed. (Ministry of Education, 2007, p.9)

ERO evaluation of inclusive schools 2010


Education Review office evaluation of the inclusion of students with high needs in mainstream schools reported that 20% of schools were fully inclusive and 35% were partially inclusive.

Review of Special Education 2010

This 2 year Ministry of Education (Special Education) review of Special Education focused on: ensuring fairness, consistency and accessibility of policies and processes choice for families and whanau efficient use of government funding A public discussion document received responses from 2000 people. The highest priority changes that respondents wanted to see were: retaining the range of settings currently available including support special schools level of funding and services, especially in main stream schools professional development of teachers and other school-based staff promotion of inclusion to improve attitudes towards students with special education (aligns with Objective 1 of The New Zealand Disability Strategy 2001)

Success For All Every School, Every Child 2010


Government 4 year plan building on the findings of the 2010 Review of Special Education. The vision is for all New Zealand schools to be inclusive by 2014 and to create confident schools, parents and children. The initiatives put forward to achieve this goal include: measuring schools performance mode children receiving support effective transitions outreach service for regular schools distribution of funding for students with sensory needs transformation of Resource Teachers; Learning and Behaviour Improved complaint and disputes resolution systems within the Ministry of Education training for Boards of Trustees (Ministry of Education, Success for All Every School, Every Child, para. 2, n.d. Web. 14 Sept.
2013).

IHC Code for New Zealand Schools 2010


The code draws from global and national legislation and policy 1. Education is a human right. 2. Support, maintain and defend the right of children and young people to attend and participate equally and successfully in inclusive schools in Aotearoa New Zealand. 3. Rights and duties are based on and governed by international agreements. 4. Consider New Zealand legislation, strategies and plans relating to rights and duties. 5. Schools must be available, accessible, acceptable and adaptable, affirm diversity and provide opportunities for all to realise their abilities. 6. All children and young people have the right to learn together, at their local school, developing relationships, skills and knowledge for everyday life. 7. Children and young people learning together benefits everyone. Friendships, respect and

understanding are built; fear, ignorance and prejudice are reduced. 8. No discrimination or exclusion due to disability or learning difficulty, against children and young people with special educational needs. 9. Education is a public good. New Zealand schools have a high level of autonomy, but are bound by legal rights and duties. Everyone benefits when families and schools work together. 10. Matters relating to enrolment and inclusion unresolved at the local level, or with the Ministry of Education should be submitted to the Education Review Office. (adapted from: ihc, A pocket-sized guide to Code for New Zealand Schools, 2009)

Special Education Business Plan 2011


This plan focuses on: 1. Increasing the number of inclusive schools through the Success for all Every School, Every Child" initiative 2.Transformation of the RTLB service 3. Positive Behaviour For Learning initiative 4. Provision of culturally responsive services around early intervention, behaviour, communication and complex needs 5.Development of the workforce 6. Building productive partnerships 7. Monitoring Ka Hikitia 8. Ensuring fair and efficient systems and processes are in place

Collaboration For Success Individual Education Plans 2011


This new approach to IEPs sees the child as an active, capable learner with potential to learn within the class and the whole school setting. It ensures the child is engaged, learning, and an active participant and develops a good relationship with the teacher. It values the childs culture, language and identify and involves a collaborative team and a variety of assessment tools.

New Zealands Journey Towards Inclusive Education


Ballard (2004) considers how historically, and still in some cases, New Zealand schools have been run on a commercial-competitive model of state education in which schools may choose to value their market position over commitment to social justice. (p. 323) Since the 1989 in New Zealand Education there has been a growing acceptance of the fundamental rights of all children, including disabled children and marginalised groups, to an education in a main stream setting. The New Zealand Disability Strategy has been crucial in raising awareness of the need to ensure disabled children are fully included and participating in our schools and that they have the opportunities to develop their learning and social skills. The new Collaboration For Success Individual Education Plans released in 2011 reflect many components of the social justice theory of inclusiveness such as: valuing the child, collaboration between the childs team, family and the child themselves. Ensuring achievement and engagement for the child and security in their own identity. However, this applies to only a small

percent of children in our schools who experience marginalisation. The 2010 ERO report on inclusive schools points to some examples of fully inclusive schools but highlights the large percentage of schools who are yet to start their journey. Barriers still remain in the form of the language used (e.g. Advisory Group of Special Needs), battles for funding that require categorisation and identification of deficits and teachers own values and beliefs that may not be positive towards inclusion fuelled by lack of knowledge or experience. These issues need to be addressed through more professional development, wrap around support and equitable funding of material and human resources. This quote from an RTLB underlines the progress towards inclusion and the work yet to be done:
Inclusive education - there have been some good developments over the last few years, particularly in primary schools with far more teachers having access to specific PD for teachers relating to curriculum differentiation and increasing knowledge of the challenges faced by students with disabilities. With the demise of separate institutions far more students are present, at their chosen school with siblings and peers. Unfortunately however, there are still more instances of attempts to adapt the child to the classroom rather than adapting the classroom to the child. There are also, still many instances, of students spending a large amount of time out of their classrooms with a teachers aide. There is also the problem of having individual teachers within a school developing skills working inclusively but problems arise when the student moves on. It needs to be a school-wide culture that all children with needs have programmes specifically differentiated to meet their different learning needs. (personal communication)

In order to reach the Success For All Every School, Every Child 2014 target of 100% of schools being totally inclusive a shift in paradigm is required. Thinking needs to move away from a special needs approach towards an adaptation of the current mainstream approach which celebrates and values and diversity in our schools affording all children agency, presence and achievement. This transformation needs to come from the top, from the Ministry of Education, from local MoE branches, from Principals and senior management. It needs to involve families, communities, media, schools, local government and religion. For many involved it will require an enormous shift in thinking but one that has been shown to produce far better outcomes around learning, social development, community involvement and transition beyond the school setting. The Ministry of Education Statement of Intent 2007-2012 gives an indication that this degree of change may yet be possible: We believe innovation and change are essential to ensure our education system continues to be world leading (chapter 1).

References
Ainscow, M., & Miles, S. (n.d.). Developing inclusive education systems: how can we move policies forward? Retrieved September 2013, from http://www.ibe.unesco.org/fileadmin/user_upload/COPs/News_documents/2009/0907Beirut/D evelopingInclusive_Education_Systems.pdf

Ballard, K. (2004). Children and disability : Special or included? Waikato Journal of Education, 10, 315326. Higgins, N., MacArthur, J., & Kelly, B. (2009). Including disabled children at school: Is it really as simple as 'a,c,d"? Internetional Journal of Inclusive Education, 13 (4), 471-487. IHC. (2009). Pocket sized guide to Code for New Zealand schools. Retrieved from IHC New Zealand: http://www.ihc.org.nz/items/code-for-new-zealand-schools/ Massey University. (2002). Special Education 2000: Monitoring and Evaluation of the Policy Final Report Summary. Wellington: Ministry of Education. Retrieved from http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/15194/massey-researchphase-three-summary.pdf Ministry of Education. (2001). The New Zealand Disability Strategy. Wellington: Ministry of Education. Ministry of Education. (2010). The Review of Special Education 2010: Public Response Summary. Wellington: Ministry of Education. Retrieved from http://www.minedu.govt.nz/~/media/MinEdu/Files/TheMinistry/EducationInitiatives/PublicRes ponseSummary.pdf Ministry of Education. (2013, September). Education and disability contexts. Retrieved from NZ Education: http://www.minedu.govt.nz/NZEducation/EducationPolicies/SpecialEducation/AboutUs/Context OfOurWork/EducationAndDisabilityContexts.aspx Ministry of Education. (2013, September). Special Education Principles. Retrieved from NZ Education: http://www.minedu.govt.nz/NZEducation/EducationPolicies/SpecialEducation/AboutUs/Context OfOurWork/SpecialEducationPolicyGuidelines/SpecialEducationPrinciples.aspx Ministry of Education. (2013, September). Statement of Intent 2007 - 2012 . Retrieved from The Ministry: http://www.minedu.govt.nz/theMinistry/PublicationsAndResources/StatementOfIntent/SOI200 7/Chapter_1__What_we_stand_for.aspx#What_we_stand_for Ministry of Education. (2013, July). Success for All Every School, Every Child . Retrieved from NZ Education: http://www.minedu.govt.nz/NZEducation/EducationPolicies/SpecialEducation/OurWorkProgram me/SuccessForAll.aspx Ministry of Education. (n.d.). IEP Online. Retrieved September 2013, from TKI: http://seonline.tki.org.nz/IEP Ministry of Social Development. (n.d.). New Zealand Disability Strategy Implementation Review 20012007. Retrieved September 2013, from Office For Disability Issues: http://www.odi.govt.nz/nzds/progress-review/index.html