Special education

Special education in New Zealand is available for:

  • children with physical and/or intellectual impairments
  • children with hearing or vision difficulties
  • for children who struggle with learning, communicating, or getting along with others
  • children who have emotional or behavioural difficulties.

Whenever possible, and if it’s their parents’ preference, children with physical or other impairments are enrolled with other children in ordinary classes (mainstreamed).

Schools work with specialists to support students with high or very high needs or hearing or vision impairments.

The Ministry of Education provides specialist advice, guidance and support services not usually available in each school to ensure children and young people access the curriculum and take part in education. All schools receive a grant called the special education grant (SEG) and can access school-based resource teachers RTLBs.

For more information about the range of support available, go to the Students with learning support needs section of the Ministry of Education’s website. 

In New Zealand, a Special Education teacher obtains an initial teaching qualification before undertaking postgraduate study in special education. Schools occasionally have positions for speech and language therapists, educational psychologists and occupational therapists but applicants must be eligible for professional registration in their specialist fields.

For more information on jobs in special education, check out the vacancies in the Education Gazette.

New Zealand Teachers Council New Zealand Education Gazette New Zealand Qualifications Authority Immigration New Zealand