Education for all – Open Letter

Dear Minister Parata

The Education for All network is made up of disabled people, families, educators and service providers.  We are disappointed and frustrated at the continued lack of commitment to ensuring that disabled people have access to a properly resourced and inclusive education.

We have had countless reviews, consultation and inquiries into ‘special education’ for many years and yet the barriers remain the same:

  • Children unable to exercise their right to attend their local schools
  • Children being sent home part-way through the day because of lack of learning support
  • Children being excluded from accessing the curriculum, as well as participating in sports, recreation and cultural activities.
  • Families having to pay for their children’s Teacher Aides and additional learning supports.
  • Schools having to fundraise and use operational funding to top up special education funding.
  • Extremely limited tertiary and adult education options for disabled people, particularly those with learning disabilities.
  • Lack of access to assistive technologies.
  • Lack of inclusive education training for graduating teachers.
  • Piecemeal access to professional development for teachers, support staff and schools.

We ask that this Government makes a full commitment to disabled people and inclusive education by:

  1. Meeting New Zealand’s international human rights obligations and our own legislative requirements to provide every disabled person with an inclusive education.
  2. Putting an end to children, families and schools having to compete against one another for funding.
  3. Removing the disincentives for schools at all levels (i.e. ECE, primary, secondary and tertiary) to enrol and include students with disabilities by providing proper resources, supports and funding.
  4. Adopting a policy of universal design for learning so that everything, from the built environment, curriculum, teaching practices and support services, is accessible for everyone.
  5. Working with the disability community, families, educators and service providers to implement a system that works.

Yours sincerely

Education for All 

EDUCATION FOR ALL is:

  • Berhampore School
  • Blind Citizens NZ
  • CCS Disability Action
  • Deaf Action
  • Disabled Persons Assembly NZ
  • IHC
  • Inclusive Education Action Group
  • Inclusive NZ
  • Joanne Dacombe, Parent
  • NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • NZ Down Syndrome Association
  • People First New Zealand Inc – Ngā Tāngata Tuatahi
  • Workbridge

Supported by:

  • Action for Children and Youth Aotearoa
  • Ara Taiohi
  • Child Poverty Action Group
  • Council of Trade Unions
  • Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA)
  • The PSA Network for Deaf and Disabled Members

If your organisation would like to co-sign this letter please email Tess: [email protected]

If you are an individual, please support our petition on the Change.org website.

Speakers from the rally at Parliament will be available on our YouTube channel.