Rights in education
No matter what stage of education you or your children are at, you have the right to access support to assist in the learning process.
It may take a while to work out the best support for you and you should start the search for support early if you can.
Support options range from “person based” support (teacher aides, notetakers and learning support) to equipment and scholarships.
Two pieces of legislation govern rights to education in New Zealand – the Human Rights Act and the Education Act.
The Human Rights Act makes it:
Unlawful to refuse or fail to admit a person as a pupil or student; or to admit a person as a pupil or a student on less favourable terms and conditions than would otherwise be made available; or to deny or restrict access to any benefits or services provided by the establishment; or to exclude a person as a pupil or a student or subject him or her to any other detriment, by reason of disability.
The Education Act states that “people who have special educational needs (whether because of disability or otherwise) have the same rights to enrol and receive education at State schools as people who do not”.
Find more information
- Youthlaw is a nationwide community law centre for children and young people under the age of 25. Youthlaw can help with education advocacy, including appealing funding decisions. Youthlaw do not charge any fees for people under the age of 17
- A press release from the Human Rights Commission about schools having the legal duty to enrol students with disabilities.
- Inclusive Education Action Group - a group of people committed to ensuring that all disabled children, young people and adults participate fully in their local, regular educational setting
- Special education support: where can I go for help? (PDF 127 kB) - Children's Commissioner
- You can make a complaint to the Office of the Ombudsmen if you feel you have been treated unfairly by a tertiary education institution