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Inclusive education in New Zealand: rhetoric and reality

Inclusive education in New Zealand: rhetoric and reality Purpose– New Zealand continues to struggle with interpreting and implementing its current policy of inclusion, especially as it relates to children traditionally known as having “special educational needs”. The purpose of this paper is to trace the discursive development of institutionalised Special Education in New Zealand and examines how the funding and policy mechanisms of neoliberalism within which rights-based inclusion was introduced have complicated the planning and delivery of services in schools. Design/methodology/approach– The paper draws on Gillian Fulcher’s (1989) discourses of disability as they are expressed through policy documents and educational reports to examine the language and values that have underpinned the development of Special Education policy and provision in New Zealand. Findings– The paper has identified and attempted to explain the extent to which traditional forms of exclusion have continued to structure current policy and practice despite a paradigm shift to inclusion. It argues that this has militated against clear understanding, acceptance and success of this major paradigm shift. Research limitations/implications– In examining the social nature of disability, and its implications in the structures of education today, it is possible to consider opportunities for acting to address these. Originality/value– The value of this work is in taking an historical approach to help understand why there continues be a distance between policy rhetoric and the reality of its implementation in practice. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png History of Education Review Emerald Publishing

Inclusive education in New Zealand: rhetoric and reality

History of Education Review , Volume 45 (1): 15 – Jun 6, 2016

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0819-8691
DOI
10.1108/HER-04-2014-0029
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose– New Zealand continues to struggle with interpreting and implementing its current policy of inclusion, especially as it relates to children traditionally known as having “special educational needs”. The purpose of this paper is to trace the discursive development of institutionalised Special Education in New Zealand and examines how the funding and policy mechanisms of neoliberalism within which rights-based inclusion was introduced have complicated the planning and delivery of services in schools. Design/methodology/approach– The paper draws on Gillian Fulcher’s (1989) discourses of disability as they are expressed through policy documents and educational reports to examine the language and values that have underpinned the development of Special Education policy and provision in New Zealand. Findings– The paper has identified and attempted to explain the extent to which traditional forms of exclusion have continued to structure current policy and practice despite a paradigm shift to inclusion. It argues that this has militated against clear understanding, acceptance and success of this major paradigm shift. Research limitations/implications– In examining the social nature of disability, and its implications in the structures of education today, it is possible to consider opportunities for acting to address these. Originality/value– The value of this work is in taking an historical approach to help understand why there continues be a distance between policy rhetoric and the reality of its implementation in practice.

Journal

History of Education ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 6, 2016

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