IHC welcomes ERO proposal to give disabled students a fair chance at school

Media release
28 September 2022

IHC says today’s ERO report on Education for Disabled Learners in Schools provides strong evidence that the education system fails disabled students and identifies what changes are needed for improvement.

ERO partnered with the Office for Disability Issues and the Human Rights Commission to carry out the evaluation of learning experiences of disabled students.

IHC’s Inclusive Education Consultant Trish Grant says that this partnership and the inclusion of the views of disabled students and their whānau means the report is sharply focussed on how all layers of the education system need to change.

“It provides an unprecedented opportunity for the Ministry of Education to better support disabled students to thrive by resolving the identified systems problems in a focused and coordinated way.

“The timing of ERO’s report will enable government to plan and fund improvements in the next budget round. IHC is keen to work with the Ministry on that plan.”

ERO’s report confirms the problems identified in IHC’s legal action against the Crown about the disadvantage and discrimination experienced by disabled students:

  • disabled students are discouraged from enrolling at some schools, they are sent home from school because of a lack of resources, they are stood down and often have to move schools
  • many teachers lack the confidence and capacity to teach disabled students due to problems in initial teacher education and support for beginner teachers, and school leaders and boards lack understanding of their legal obligations and national policy objectives for disabled students
  • disabled students’ learning is not monitored at school or national level and disabled students have poor learning outcomes
  • whānau are not involved in planning and are unaware of their rights to raise complaints about a lack of action by schools or the Ministry of Education.