IHC's Education Complaint

IHC has lobbied for the right of children with an intellectual disability to attend their local school for more than 65 years.

What is the complaint about?

In 2008 IHC lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission. IHC’s complaint said that children with a range of disabilities experience discrimination at their local school.  Families had told us about the ongoing difficulties they experienced in having their child’s right to education recognised. Children with disabilities are treated differently to non disabled children in matters to do with enrolment, access to the curriculum and participation in school life.

IHC believed that these practices contravened New Zealand’s commitments to important international human rights conventions. IHC decided to have these practices examined within a human rights context using the mechanisms available within Part 1 A of the Human Rights Act.

In April 2014 IHC’s legal counsel, Frances Joychild QC, filed an amended claim with the Human Rights Review Tribunal. The claim was further amended in August 2014 in response to an application from the Crown requiring further details of the nature and extent of the treatment of disabled students IHC claims is discriminatory. Results from both surveys were used to illustrate the types of discrimination disabled children and young people are currently experiencing within the school system.

The Human Rights Review Tribunal, we understand, is thinly resourced with most members working on a part time basis. New Zealand’s widely celebrated commitment to human rights on the national and international stage must be matched with appropriate resourcing of the Human Rights Review Tribunal.

Information you might find helpful

Things you might be interested in

IHC Library

Our Library is free to use for anyone living in NZ. We have information on all aspects of intellectual disability, autism and other developmental disabilities.


IHC provides advocacy support wherever there is a need to stand up for the rights of one or all people with intellectual disabilities in New Zealand.


Play a big part in the life of a person with an intellectual disability and the work IHC does by joining our One-to-One Friendship or Skills-based Volunteer Programmes.