01 July 2022

Understanding inclusive practices

Inclusive education means that all learners are welcomed by their local early learning service and school, and are supported to play, learn, contribute, and participate in all aspects of life at the school or service.

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The purpose of the guide

This Leading Inclusive Schools guide provides strategies and information to support tumuaki in reviewing the inclusive values, policies, and practices in their kura.

The guide focuses on working in partnership with kaiako, ākonga, and whānau to create accessible, supportive, and inclusive environments through:

  • establishing collaborative, authentic relationships 
  • developing shared knowledge
  • creating shared expectations 
  • acknowledging, planning for, and supporting the diversity of all learners.

Understanding our responsibility

Providing a caring, safe, respectful, and inclusive school environment in which learning can flourish is a key priority for educators.

Using good quality assessment information, schools are required to identify, develop, and implement effective teaching and learning strategies for students and groups of students:

  • who are not achieving
  • who are at risk of not achieving
  • who have identified needs (including gifted and talented students)
  • who require support in a specific aspect of the curriculum.

– National Administration Guidelines (NAG) 1


Supporting wellbeing, equity and inclusion

Access and participation for every learner is an integral part of any education system.

The National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP) recognise that developing educationally powerful connections and partnerships with learners/ākonga, whānau, Māori, Pacific, and diverse ethnic communities will improve outcomes and wellbeing across the education system.

The NELP priorities will help create education environments that are learner centred, and where learners, and especially more Māori and Pacific learners, are successful. 

The NELP priorities encourage all places of learning to focus on:

  • ensuring that they are safe and inclusive and free from racism, discrimination, and bullying  
  • strengthening the quality of teaching our learners receive to give our learners the skills they need to succeed in education, work, and life 
  • collaborating more with whānau, employers, industry, and communities
  • taking account of learners’ needs, identities, languages, and cultures in their practice
  • incorporating te reo Māori and tikanga Māori into everyday activities.
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Those in governance positions for places of learning, including boards and early childhood centre licensees, are responsible and accountable for implementing the NELP.

Next steps

Return to the guide “Leading schools that include all learners ”