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This section draws together research, digital resources, and examples to support schools as they consider the inclusion principle.

Resources, research, and inspiration

Resources | Research | Inspiration


Inclusive education: Guides for schools
This site contains a series of guides which provide New Zealand educators with practical strategies, suggestions, and resources to support learners with diverse needs. These guides maybe particularly useful: Leading schools that include all learners, Developing an inclusive classroom culture, Making the curriculum accessible to all, Universal Design for Learning.

What an inclusive school looks like
This information sheet describes what an inclusive school looks and feels like in the English-medium context. Use the information to reflect upon and review the inclusive values, policies, and practices in your school.

Success for all: Every school, every child
The Government has set a target of 100% of schools demonstrating inclusive practices and improving special education systems and support. The Success for All resources can be downloaded from the Ministry of Education website.

Inclusive toolkit
The Inclusive Practices Tools explore the extent to which school practices are inclusive of all students.

Inclusive practice in secondary schools: Ideas for school leaders
The purpose of this resource is to give secondary school leaders ideas for discussing inclusive practice in your schools. It is intended to start the discussion and help school leaders reflect on what is working well and what may need to improve.

Developing learner profiles
A learner profile tells teachers about students. It sits alongside assessment data. It helps school staff to build relationships with students and to understand things from a student perspective. This can inform planning, classroom layout, and supports to enable students to participate and contribute in all classroom learning.

Sexuality Education: A guide for principals, boards of trustees, and teachers

Sexuality education: A guide for principals, boards of trustees, and teachers (2015)
The guide will assist boards of trustees, principals, and teachers in all New Zealand state and state-integrated schools to comply with the requirements of the Education Act 1989 (as amended in 2001) to consult with the school community on the way in which the health curriculum should be implemented. This revised guide is aimed at helping encourage problem solving and decision-making for students in relation to sexual activity, as well as assertiveness skills and identifying pressures from others.

Health learning area image.

Sexuality education is part of the Health and Physical Education learning area of the New Zealand Curriculum and also has a place in the wider school by helping to create a safe physical and emotional environment for everybody. The Ministry of Education provides clear information for parents about how sexuality education is taught in New Zealand, how they can support their child’s learning, and how they can have their say. There is information specifically for:

Language Enhancing the Achievement of Pasifika
Strategies that teachers can use to ensure that Pasifika students are not silenced by indifference to them or by patterns of classroom interaction that are linked to European cultural practices. One strategy is for teachers to foster a caring and inclusive environment in the classroom and to use cooperative learning.

Gifted Learners Tukuna kia rere
As schools design, develop, and review how they provide for gifted learners, they need to address the five key components described in Gifted and Talented Students: Meeting Their Needs in New Zealand Schools (2012).

Students first
The decisions made in schools focus on the diverse learning needs and achievement of the best outcomes for all students. How schools support students' culture and identity is central to students experiencing success and realising their potential.

Creating culturally safe schools for Māori students
The article presents findings about ways to create culturally safe classrooms in New Zealand schools. In particular, it focuses on ways in which teachers and schools can create inclusive environments for Māori students. The authors remind us that all students benefit from being in culturally inclusive classrooms.

Tools for learners with special education needs: Numeracy framework
Central Region Special Schools (CRSS) cluster has collaboratively created an extended Number framework and matrix that is inclusive of all learners, recognises progression and achievement, can be used for precise diagnosis and to inform the next teaching and learning step, and links to the key competencies.

A caring and inclusive classroom environment
It’s important for Pasifika students’ achievement that their teachers create a caring and inclusive learning environment. Investigate how well supported your students feel in their learning environment.

Ka Hikitia – Accelerating success: The Māori education strategy 2013- 2017 
Ka Hikitia promotes a Māori potential approach – that is, an approach that invests in success. Inclusion is integral to this approach. Identity, language and culture count. Students do better in education when what and how they learn builds on what is familiar to them, and reflects and positively reinforces where they come from, what they value and what they already know. Māori students are more likely to achieve when they see themselves, their parents, whānau, hapū, iwi and community reflected in learning and teaching.

Pasifika Education Plan 2013-2017
The Pasifika Education Plan 2013 – 2017 (PEP) is aimed at raising Pasifika learners’ participation, engagement and achievement from early learning through to tertiary education. Critical to the achievement of equitable educational outcomes for Pasifika learners is the right to be included appropriately in all processes of education. Such inclusion is reliant upon schools, teachers, and other students acknowledging the right of Pasifika learners to “be themselves” and to “see themselves and their culture reflected” in the classroom environment. (Literature review on the experiences of Pasifika learners in the classroom, 2008 )


Quality teaching for diverse students in schooling: Best evidence synthesis iteration (BES)
This best evidence synthesis has produced ten characteristics of quality teaching. The central professional challenge for teachers is to manage simultaneously the complexity of learning needs of diverse students.

School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why best evidence synthesis iteration (BES)
This BES provides examples of principals and others in leadership activities that advance achievement and social outcomes for students. The theory included in the synthesis explains how and why is critical to enable leaders to adapt and use the findings in their own contexts.

The New Zealand Curriculum principles: Foundations for curriculum decision-making
This is ERO’s second national evaluation report looking at the extent to which the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum are evident in schools’ curricula and enacted in classrooms. The curriculum principles are intended to be the basis of curriculum decision-making at schools. The findings in this report show that there is considerable variability across schools in the level of evidence of the curriculum principles.

Te Kōtahitanga phase 1:The experiences of Year 9 and 10 Māori students in mainstream classrooms
Researchers talked with Māori students, who clearly identified the main influences on their achievement. They said that teachers, in changing how they related and interacted with Māori students in their classrooms, could help students succeed.

Inclusive practices for students with special education needs in schools (March 2015)
This ERO report examines how well students with special education needs are included in New Zealand schools. The report provides an update on progress towards meeting the Government target that, by the end of 2014, 80 percent of New Zealand schools will be doing a good job and none should be doing a poor job of including and supporting students with disabilities.

Ki te Aotūroa: Improving inservice teach educator learning and practice
A literature review to help in service teachers learn more about inclusion in NZ classrooms.

Literature review on the experiences of Pasifika learners in the classroom
This literature review examines the current practices of schools, teachers, and the wider education system in relation to Pasifika achievement,  as well as outlining the proven pedagogical methods that facilitate inclusion and lift success.

Wellbeing for young people's success at secondary school (February 2015)
This report presents the findings of ERO’s evaluation of how well 68 secondary schools in Term 1 2014 promoted and responded to student wellbeing.

Inclusion: Cultural capital of diversity or deficit of disability? Language for change  Timoti Harris – Sabbatical report 2014
If we do not change our language to match changes in thinking, we perpetuate what always was. If we keep talking about “special education, disability, dysfunction, disorder”, we focus on the deficit. We have changed theory, we have changed practice, but we haven’t changed the language. Timoti Harris reports on creating an environment truly inclusive of ability, ethnicity, culture, gender and language at Otorohanga College.

Leadership in the development of inclusive school communities
Dr Jude McArthur gives an overview of the research she and others have undertaken in the schooling sector about the experiences of young people who have disabilities. She connects the key themes to what school leaders can do to support developing their schools as inclusive communities. Learning better together: Working towards inclusive education in New Zealand schools is Dr McArthur’s research into inclusive education in a New Zealand context.

The gifted child and the inclusive classroom
Rosemary Cathcart presents two decades of research on ability grouping. She looks at arguments both for and against grouping, and at various forms of grouping, poses some crucial questions for policy-makers, offers a re-definition of 'inclusive', and suggests an approach relevant for Aotearoa/New Zealand.


Inclusive culture in schools transforms communities
Can changing how we address differences in the classroom raise the bar for every student while creating a more compassionate, inclusive culture better suited to complex problem solving in the world? Education leader Heidi Heissenbuttel explores a new school model based on inclusivity in the classroom in this video.

The inclusive classroom: Martyn Rouse interview
Education expert, Martyn Rouse points to the successes of inclusive classrooms and describes how these can be developed to provide the right support for young learners in this video.

Universal Design for Learning
Learning facilitator, Chrissie Butler discusses Universal Design for Learning (UDL). UDL is a framework for planning, teaching approaches, selecting appropriate resources and materials, and the way we design assessments. UDL ensures that there are options for all learners to have equal access to learning.

Why UDL is valuable
This CORE Education blog highlights the benefits of UDL. 

Success for all
Lynne Silcock, from the Ministry of Education, discusses how UDL and digital technologies can support success for all.

Using technology to include more students
Lynne Silcock, from the Ministry of Education, discusses inclusion in the classroom and what every teacher can do to assist more learners. Lynne talks about UDL, which is focused on developing curriculum materials to support all learners.

Updated on: 23 Jun 2015