The nature of education that children with disabilities should receive has been subject to much debate. This article critically assesses the ways in which the international human rights framework has conceptualised ‘inclusive education’. It argues that the right to education for children with disabilities in international law is constitutive of hidden contradictions and conditionality. This is most evident with respect to conceptualisations of ‘inclusion’ and ‘support’, and their respective emphases upon the extent of individual impairment or ‘deficit’ rather than upon the extent of institutional or structural deficit. It is vital that the new Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities pays close attention to the utilisation of these concepts lest the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities further legitimises the ‘special needs’ educational discourse to which children with disabilities have been subject.