EDPROFST 764 : Disability Policy and Practice

Education and Social Work

2023 Semester One (1233) (30 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Explores contemporary issues and influences in the education of learners with disabilities. Critically examines a range of contemporary social, political and educational responses to disability.

Course Overview

This course provides you with an opportunity to dig deep into an area of disability policy of particular interest to you and/or your wider community. We will be exploring the meanings of policy and the ways disability is taken up (or not) in policies and practices. This prompts three early considerations:

  1.     What do we mean by policy?
  2.     What level or levels of policy are we analysing?
  3.     What is our framework or frameworks for analysis?
Policy also operates at many levels and with different scopes or spheres of influence. Policy can be developed at the international level, national and regional levels, community or  local body  organisational level, even at the personal or family level.
We'll be comparing and contrasting three frameworks for policy analysis: critical policy analysis, critical policy sociology and critical discourse problematisation policy analysis. The assessment activities in the course are designed to scaffold you into undertaking a piece of policy analysis of interest and relevance to you.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Master of Education

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Understand and apply a range of approaches to policy analysis relevant to disability policies and practices. (Capability 1.1 and 2.3)
  2. Critically analyse the relationship between a range of theoretical approaches to disability and scope of policy provision. (Capability 2.3, 4.1 and 6.2)
  3. Demonstrate understanding of the role of legislation and policy in balancing individual and societal responsibility for all citizens (Capability 2.1 and 2.3)
  4. Critically examine links between policy reform and ableism. (Capability 1.1, 2.1, 4.1 and 6.2)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Essay 40% Individual Coursework
Presentation 20% Individual Coursework
Research Report 40% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Research Report

To pass this course you must achieve at least 50% for the course overall

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 30-point course.  

A typical semester including the study/exam period totals approximately 15 weeks. On average, students are expected to spend 20 hours per week in each 30-point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 2-4 hours of online and face-to-face lectures and related content,  4-6 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 8 hours of work on assignments.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience or Online & Campus Experience or Online

This course is offered in two delivery modes:

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled weekly classes. We will be joining our online colleagues via Zoom.       

Lectures will be available as recordings.     

The course will include live online events including group discussions.

This course runs to the University semester timetable and all the associated completion dates and deadlines will apply.

The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.


Attendance is expected at scheduled online weekly classes. We will be joining our on campus colleagues via Zoom.

The course will include live online events including group discussions and these will be recorded.

Where possible, study material will be available at course commencement. Additional reading material may be provided throughout the course.

This course runs to the University semester timetable and all the associated completion dates and deadlines will apply.

The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Spratt, J. (2017). Wellbeing, equity and education. A critical analysis of policy discourses of wellbeing in schools. Switzerland: Springer Publishing.  Available as an e-book through the University of Auckland library.

Policy Quarterly
is a New Zealand online, open access journal canvassing a range of policies - including debates about those policies - in Aotearoa. Please browse the archives of this journal to find examples of policy debates and reports of interest to you.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Students valued the opportunity to do a detailed and supported investigation of policy that directly impacts their workplace and their own work:
"It is very helpful to understand how education policies "trickle" down to impact those of us in the school community and the unintended negative consequences of policies that appear benign. This course is also a great opportunity to look critically at your particular area of interest within inclusive education. If you have an interest in changing the system, this class is a must!"
"First and foremost I really want to thank you both for the course. For me it was a really helpful and illuminating experience in so many ways. I learnt a lot, both in terms of the discipline of critical policy analysis and the details and histories of our current system.  I found the final assignment undeniably cathartic - and constructive - for me as a disciplined and focused outlet for some thinking I've been needing to do (and will keep on doing) in my professional life."

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.