About the Inclusive Practices Tools

What are the Inclusive Practices Tools?

The Inclusive Practices Tools include:

What is the purpose of the review process?

The Inclusive Practices Tools are designed to support primary, intermediate and secondary schools to engage in a review process. The aim of the review process is to support schools to engage in an ongoing journey towards building inclusive practices for all learners (including learners with extra support needs).


What are inclusive education practices?

Inclusive education practices are about ensuring all students are made to feel welcome at school and are able to take part in all aspects of school life. Diversity is respected and school-wide practices and classroom programmes respond to students’ different needs, skills, interests, cultures and backgrounds.

What is the focus of the tools?

The Inclusive Practices Tools and review process are designed to assist school staff to consider what inclusion means, and encourage schools to engage in a dialogue with their community to think critically about how best to support a diverse range of learners.

The tools use examples of practices that are related to the experiences of students with special education needs. However, the items in the tools have been written in a way that enables schools to use the tools to review school practice in relation to all students, or another group of students who have been identified as experiencing barriers to learning. The Inclusive Practices Tools:

  • focus on practices, systems and structures rather than disabilities
  • describe inclusive education practices as they apply to all students while using examples that are drawn from research on common barriers experienced by students with special education needs
  • use language that is inclusive of all students
  • aim to promote the view that the idea of inclusion applies to all students, and student diversity is a resource for learning


The Inclusive Practices tools and reports explore different facets of school practice that research indicates are key aspects of inclusive practice.

Read more about the Themes and sub-concepts explored by the Inclusive Practices Tools

How were the Inclusive Practices Tools developed?

Development of the tool framework and content

The starting point for the development of the Inclusive Practices framework (themes and sub-concepts) and tool content was the evaluation indicators developed by the Education Review Office (ERO) to review the extent to which schools were including students with high needs (ERO, 2010).

The Inclusive Practices Tools have a broader focus than the ERO indicators. They explore inclusive practices from the perspective of all learners, whilst drawing on common experiences and barriers to learning experienced by students with special education needs.

To develop a framework for the tools we drew on the tool framework and development processes used in the Wellbeing@School project (Boyd, 2012). The research, policy, and practice expertise of reference group members, Ministry of Education staff and staff and community members from pilot schools were vital in assisting us to further shape this framework and the content of the tools. Reference group members assisted in the development of a revised framework and in the identification of school practices that reflected the key sub-concepts. Staff, parents and whanau at three pilot schools reviewed the tools for relevance to their context.

To develop the framework for the tools we also drew on the understandings and perspectives found in international tools (e.g., the Index for Inclusion, Booth & Ainscow, 2002, 2011) and recent NZ research about inclusive practices (e.g., Kearney, 2011; MacArthur, 2009). Statements in the Inclusive Practices tools are also designed to align with key messages from the New Zealand literature about effective educational leadership practices, home-school partnerships, culturally responsive practices, and teaching practices for diverse learners.

Development of the school review cycle

The Inclusive Practices tools are intended to be used within the framework of a school review process such as the planning and reporting process. To support the review process, the Wellbeing@School school review cycle is available for schools to use. This review cycle was developed as part of the Wellbeing@School project (Boyd, 2012).


Booth, T., & Ainscow, M. (2002). Index for Inclusion: Developing learning and participation in schools. Bristol: CSIE.
Booth, T., & Ainscow, M. (2011). Index for Inclusion: Developing learning and participation in schools (Revised 2011). Bristol: CSIE.
Boyd, S. (2012). Wellbeing@School: Building a safe and caring school climate that deters bullying overview paper. “Work in progress” document (updated March 2012). Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.
ERO. (2010). Including students with high needs. Wellington: ERO.
Kearney, A. (2011). Exclusion from and within school: Issues and solutions. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
MacArthur, J. (2009). Learning better together: Working towards inclusive education in New Zealand schools. Wellington: IHC.