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Communtity Law Manual | Disability rights | Education: Access and learning support for disabled and Deaf students

Education: Access and learning support for disabled and Deaf students


Education Act 1989, s 8

New Zealand aims to have an inclusive education system. However, sometimes students are denied access to some or all of the curriculum because they have an impairment of some kind. This section has information that can help disabled and Deaf people or their parents and whānau to understand and enforce their rights.

Examples of disabled people being denied proper access to education include:

  • children with behavioural difficulties not being allowed to go on a school’s camp
  • children not having enough teacher aide hours to enable them to be at school for the full day
  • parents being asked to keep “difficult” children home during visits from the Education Review Office (ERO)
  • children with high physical and intellectual not being encouraged or not being allowed to join school outings because of the many resources they require
  • a child with diverse needs facing a board of trustees disciplinary hearing for behaviour that’s a recognised symptom of their impairment
  • parents being pressured to “voluntarily withdraw” their child, supposedly because another school may better fulfil the child’s needs – here, parents may be made to feel their child is responsible for the fact that classmates’ needs aren’t being met.

This section on education explains what rights you might have in these kinds of situations and how you can take action.

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