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The vision for the Highest Needs Review is that children and young people with the highest learning support needs get the right support, at the right time, for as long as they need it.

We are committed to give practical effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Ka Hikitia – Ka Hāpaitia (the Māori Education Strategy). We also have commitments to the rights conventions ratified by the New Zealand Government alongside commitments to Pacific learners and families as outlined in the Action Plan for Pacific Education 2020-2030.

The Review is guided by the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD) and options and recommendations from the Review will work towards achieving the vision of the New Zealand Disability Strategy 2016 – 2026 and upholding the principles within the Enabling Good Lives approach. These are:

  • Beginning early.
  • Self-determination.
  • Person-Centred.
  • Ordinary life outcomes.
  • Mainstream first.
  • Mana-enhancing.
  • Easy to use.
  • Relationship building.

Children and young people in scope of the Review

The Review will focus on children and young people and their families/whānau/aiga in all education settings from early childhood through to preparing to leave secondary schooling, including those who:

  • currently receive individualised supports
  • have an unmet need for individualised supports
  • are in settings that don’t have equitable access to supports.

Areas we are exploring through the Review

The areas within scope are based on what the Ministry of Education heard through previous consultations and during an initial engagement phase in mid-2021.

There are six scope areas included in the Review:

  • The journey through the education system from early childhood to preparing to leave secondary school.
  • Access to supports.
  • Responsiveness of supports.
  • Fluid boundaries.
  • Support for adults across the network.
  • Alignment across agencies.

Accessible formats

Our engagement material is available in NZSL, Easy Read and Braille.


Easy Read


Timeline of the review

Thank you to everyone who has shared with the Review during the second phase of engagement. We are analysing submissions and other feedback we received.

The final phase is to develop a report for the Minister with recommendations for Cabinet in October 2022.