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Special Education Today in New Zealand

Special Education International Perspectives: Practices Across the Globe

ISBN: 978-1-78441-096-4

Publication date: 16 September 2014


This chapter considers the development and current state of special education in New Zealand. The chapter provides a critique of current policies and practices regarding special and inclusive education for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). It describes how New Zealand has followed similar patterns to other developed countries with regard to how special education facilities and specialist teacher training have evolved, and how the trend towards inclusive education has progressed. It points out that New Zealand has gone further in the inclusion of children with SEND within mainstream schools than most developed countries and that, at the same time, there has been less development of provision for children with SEND in mainstream schools. That has led to a situation where many children with SEND, who are in the lowest 20% of achievers, are not getting the specialist help that they need. As a result New Zealand has one of the largest gaps between high achieving and low achieving children in the developed world.


Hornby, G. (2014), "Special Education Today in New Zealand", Special Education International Perspectives: Practices Across the Globe (Advances in Special Education, Vol. 28), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 643-660.



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