IHC: Calling on Govt to put words into action

Media release
26 July 2019

IHC is pleased the Government is listening to the voices of disabled students and their families on the barriers they currently face at school.

In its new Action Plan to improve the support for children and young people with learning needs released today in Auckland, the Government put forth their priorities and goals leading up to 2025.

IHC Director of Advocacy says it’s a promising sign to see the Government restating its commitment to inclusive education, and that they’ve acknowledged that disabled students’ rights to education have not been responded to.

“IHC has been saying for more than a decade now, and our Government has agreed, that disabled students are discriminated against at school,” says Trish.

“We know, and the research supports this, that the best outcomes for disabled students happen when they learn and belong in the local community school, and we want to ensure the Government is investing in that choice.

“While we see the plan prioritises new ways of working, we don’t see the investment in children and schools that we were hoping for that will make a tangible difference for disabled students today.

“It’s hard to envision how the problems students are experiencing currently will change anytime soon.

Trish says it’s important the Action Plan has acknowledged that there is a serious need for more capacity in initial teacher training and development.

“Disabled children and their families talk about how important it is for all teachers to be able to teach all children.

“We understand this is a big ship to turn around, and this is just one cog in the ongoing wider reform of the education system.

“Does this Action Plan address all the problems the system currently creates for disabled children and their teachers? No, but the emphasis on disabled children’s rights to education is welcomed.

“We’re seeing more commitment to more coordination, but what is lacking is the detail on dollars around that.

“Many of these priorities are reliant on additional funding that hasn’t yet been approved.

“We look forward to seeing the outcome of the Tomorrow’s Schools review, where we anticipate more action on equity and accountability for disabled students in the classroom.”