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Vision, policy and principles

Vision: Success for All - Every School, Every Child

Success for All every school every child

Success for All – Every School, Every Child (2010)(PDF, 1.1MB) – sets out the government’s vision of a fully inclusive education system by 2014

Confident schools, students, parents/caregivers, whānau, and communities are at the heart of this vision. The IEP process needs to support this goal.

A teacher guiding two primary age students in a reading and writing exercise, at a table.

The strategy states that all schools should be ready for all children, whatever their needs. School learning should be a positive experience for every young person, including those with special education needs.

Parents/caregivers, whānau, and communities need good information without having to fight for it. They need to see that their child belongs, has friends, is learning, and is getting the extra help needed.


The National Administration Guidelines (NAGs) provide the policy framework for IEPs.

According to the NAGs, every school must develop and implement its students’ educational programmes, including those contained in IEPs.

NAG 1 states: Each board of trustees is required to foster student achievement by providing teaching and learning programmes which incorporate The National Curriculum as expressed in The New Zealand Curriculum 2007 or Te Marautanga o Aotearoa.

NAG 1 requires that all boards of trustees, through the principal and staff, identify, and support students with special education needs (refer to NAG 1 [c] iii and [d] on Ministry's main website).


The principles that inform IEP processes apply to all teaching and learning. They are backed up by recent research and extensive experience.

By following these principles, schools, students, parents/caregivers, whānau, and their communities can be confident that an IEP will result in positive outcomes for all.

All teaching and learning occurs within the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa. These curricula are relevant to all students, including those with special education needs. (See Curriculum context)

Key principles include the following.

  • The student is recognised as an active, capable learner. IEPs are a way of adapting the school programme to fit the student rather than expecting the student to fit the school programme. (See What is an IEP?)
  • The special education needs of many students can be met by class- and school-wide strategies. Only some students with special education needs require an IEP, and few need one that captures every aspect of their learning. (See Who needs an IEP and when?)
  • Student engagement, learning, and achievement depend on the relationship between the teacher and student.
  • Language, identity, and culture count. Knowing where learners come from, and building on what they bring with them, is essential.
  • Teachers draw on a range of effective assessment approaches, using the principles of assessment for learning. They use overall teacher judgments (OTJs) to inform teaching and learning programmes for all students. (See Assessment - what, who, and how)  

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