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Inclusion

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

Discussion tools

School leadership and the inclusion principle

"The beliefs of those in leadership positions are one of the most influential variables in the development of school cultures and teaching practices that contribute to inclusion."

McArthur, J. (2012)

The following review questions can help you reflect on successful inclusion at a school wide level:

  • What policies does your school have that specifically address inclusion?
  • What systems, initiatives, and programmes in your school best support the achievement of an inclusive school community?
  • Is teamwork between staff a model for the collaboration of students?
  • What expertise is available within your community and how that can be utilised? 
  • To what extent do staff at your school have access to a wide range of professional learning and strategies to support and include all students and their whānau/families?

Plan and lead self-reviews of inclusive practices

As a school leader, model, develop, and maintain an effective professional development and appraisal programme.

Create opportunities for teachers to identify:

  • areas where students will need support based on ongoing data collection
  • immediate professional learning needs related to individual students or teacher inquiry
  • areas of personal experience and knowledge that they are happy to share with colleagues
  • preferred learning pathways, for example: workshops, staff meetings, 1-1 conversation, coaching and mentoring.

Offer teachers flexible professional support they can personalise to meet their immediate needs and learning preferences. Seek feedback on what works and why.

Wellbeing@School
This site supports schools to engage with the school community in a self-review process. The Inclusive Practices Tools explore the extent to which school practices are inclusive of all students. 

Have you seen?

Effective governance: Building inclusive schools
These guidelines, developed by the Ministry of Education, are a resource for boards on how to show ethical leadership and build an inclusive school with confidence.

Sexuality education: a guide for principals, boards of trustees, and teachers (2015)
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. 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.

Inclusion in the classroom

"Effective inclusion (in the classroom) can be described as a continual organic evolution of improving practices, attitudes and valuing of diversity, that can always be further improved"
Goodall, 2013

The following review questions can help you reflect on successful inclusion at a classroom level:

  • How can you gather and use information about student achievement, social, and physical skills, to plan for inclusion of all students?
  • What barriers to learning do students face in your classroom? How can you modify the environment to remove these? What technologies would support inclusion?
  • Are you providing multiple options for students to create, learn, and collaborate?
  • How can you create a flexible teaching and learning programme that allows all students to participate fully?
  • Are learning activities inclusive? Can students with differing backgrounds, experiences, levels of achievement, and abilities participate fully?
  • How do you integrate elements of students’ identity, language and culture into teaching and learning?
  • How could you address problems with bullying behaviour or exclusion?
  • How does the concept of ako underpin your practice?

Classroom Life Measure
The Classroom Life Measure provides a way of finding out how well supported students feel in their learning environment.

Learner profile
A learner 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.

Students, whānau, and inclusion

"If the teacher demonstrates cultural knowledge it has an effect on the children. They see the teacher as an individual who respects them and knows where they are coming from. The children see those teachers who have made an attempt to try and get on the same thought patterns, wave-length as them."

Māori parent, Te Kōtahitanga Phase 1:The experiences of Year 9 and 10 Māori students in mainstream classrooms

Including parents and whānau

Consider how you will:

  • make personal connections with parents and whānau?
  • make language and invitations inclusive?
  • approach and partner with parents and whānau to seek their perspectives and address their concerns?
  • create opportunities to connect parents and whānau with students, other parents, and community leaders?

What kind of workshops, presentations, parent evenings can you plan? How will you organise these so parents and whānau are able to come, feel welcomed, and have their ideas and concerns listened to and addressed?

Including students in developing a successful learning programme

  • In what ways can you gather student voice in your school?
  • Do staff observe each other's lessons in order to reflect on the perspectives of students?
  • How effective is your school in actively talking and listening to students at risk of underachievement?

Developing an inclusive classroom culture
An inclusive classroom is one that values the contributions of all students, their families/whānau, and communities. This guide, from the Inclusive Education website, includes strategies, suggestions and resources to encourage more student and whānau input in developing an inclusive classroom.

Updated on: 23 Jun 2015


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