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.
Schools face a formidable task as they come to terms with the effective management of the special educational needs response in the light of changes in culture, legislation and public expectations. Explores new ground in the development of flexible training modules which are designed to be practical and relevant for schools. These modules are designed collaboratively between serving teachers, LEA staff and local providers of accredited training. The process which has evolved ensures flexibility and maximizes the most efficient use of GEST and LEA funding.