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Make education inclusive, not special, says CCS

Make education inclusive, not special, says CCS Disability Action

CCS Disability Action supports National Party Associate Education spokesperson Allan Peachey’s recent comments wishing that the Government "gave greater emphasis to the needs of children and their parents.”

“However, the New Zealand Disability Strategy, supported by the National Party, aims to increase the participation of disabled people in society. Expanding segregated provision as suggested by Mr Peachey, i.e. special schools, does the opposite,” says CCS Disability Action spokesperson Paul Gibson.

Current research shows that children with disabilities do better, both academically and socially, when they are taught in regular education settings. Their non-disabled classmates do better as well. Children taught in segregated settings such as special schools have more difficulties in these areas, and are much more likely to face challenges when it comes to finding work and participating in the community as adults. The research also shows that children with disabilities fare best when schools actively work to be inclusive of all students.

“In light of the research, New Zealand should not be bolstering its special schools to provide for children with disabilities. Instead, the focus needs to be on supporting the rights and needs of children with disabilities to receive a high quality education in their local school,” adds Mr Gibson.

The solution is for Government and the education sector to commit itself to ensuring that all schools become welcoming and inclusive. This means rethinking how we train and support teachers and principals, and how we resource and support our schools.

We welcome engagement with Alan Peachey and the National Party’s Education spokesperson Katherine Rich. We must be aspirational for all our students. New Zealand has the ability to create an education system where everybody is welcome, has friends, is achieving, successful, and grows to be a connected contributing citizen. In short, an inclusive education system.

ENDS

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