Lynda Stuart

Lynda Stuart

We are responsible for making education inclusive for all

Kia ora e hoa mā.

This edition of Ako begins our year with a focus on inclusion and what this really means for our tamariki and the adults who work alongside them.

One of the great opportunities that I have in the role of National President of NZEI Te Riu Roa is the chance to talk to many of you over the year. Over last year a topic that seemed to be at the forefront of most people’s minds was the need for a level of resourcing that would meet the needs of all of our learners. One of the groups that has certainly been identified as missing out are those students who have additional learning or behavioural needs.

No matter what role we have within education, we all come to this place with a deep and burning desire to make a difference for each and every one of the children who we work with. It is deeply disturbing for us all when we are confronted by the fact that we simply do not have the specialist support, financial support or human resource that is needed for a particular child.

I know that for many of you this is a very deep worry as you try and find the way to provide a learning environment that enables each child to access the curriculum in a safe and positive way. For many of you that involves trying to tap into new learning that will help you to better understand the needs of the child. The time to do this and the professional development needed is often not forthcoming and is certainly something that we as NZEI Te Riu Roa are trying to address currently.

The work with inclusive education is never done – that is the challenge and the reward. When I think of special schools, and their evolution, it shows how far we can travel. Many special schools now act as conduits for the identification and dissemination of good practice models to support diverse learners, for example, offering outreach programmes in their communities. This has been a very positive development.

When I think of inclusion within our education system I also think of the importance of embracing each child’s language, culture and identity.

As a teacher and principal this has always been important to me. Knowing and understanding each child and their family, whānau and aiga is absolutely crucial and our education system must have this embedded at its heart.

I believe we have the responsibility and the opportunity to make our system inclusive for all. It is time to stand up and speak out for what really does matter in order to meet the needs of all our learners.

“In diversity there is beauty and there is strength” – Maya Angelou.

Lynda Stuart is the NZEI Te Riu Roa National President, Te Manukura

Related Posts

Putting the Educational Leadership Capability Framework into practice as a middle and senior leader

Deputy principal Tania Yorke recently completed her Master of Educational Leadership. She shares what she learnt about developing as a leader and why the Teaching Council’s Educational Leadership Capability Framework is a goldmine of a tool.

Read More

Every teacher should have the opportunity to develop their own leadership capabilities

What should you be looking for in a formal effective leadership PLD programme? Victoria University of Wellington professor Kate Thornton provides some of the answers.

Read More

Ensuring access to te ao Māori

In 2022, 50 years after the Equal Pay Act was passed into law, Kaiārahi i te reo won a pay equity settlement, with an average pay increase of 79 percent. Āwhina Kihi tells us what being a kaiārahi means and why the pay increase is such a big deal.

Read More

Built in – the future of inclusive education

In the future, inclusive education won’t be bolted on to the system, it will be built in.

Read More