Education Act update

Our current Education Act became law in 1989, and a lot has changed since then. It's time to bring it up to date and reflect New Zealand now, and for the future. This consultation presents ideas for change to help us get there.

Consultation on updating the Education Act 1989 has now closed.

Education is a partnership between early learning services, schools, family, whānau, aiga, communities, organisations, and government. Everyone has a role to play. By taking part in this consultation, you’ll be helping to strengthen the education system that all our children and young people deserve.

We’ll be updating information about the consultation regularly on this page, so keep checking back for more information and ways to be involved.

The focus of this consultation

One of the biggest changes suggested is to make it clear in our law that children and young people, and raising their achievement, comes first.

The law should help schools, kura and early learning services by setting out a clear direction, saying who is responsible for what, and saying how schools and kura should plan their priorities and report their progress.

The law should also make it easier for schools, kura, Communities of Learning and early learning services to work together more to deliver the best education for every child and young person and to try out great ideas.

It’s important for parents, whānau and communities to know how schools are helping their children and young people achieve and what their role is. They should also be helped to understand why certain decisions are made about education.

We want to hear your views on the following 5 proposals:

  1. Making sure everyone knows the goals for education - What the goals for education should be, and how national priorities for learners aged 0-18 years could be set out.
  2. Supporting school and kura boards to focus on what’s important - How the responsibilities of boards can be made clearer, unnecessary red tape can be removed, and boards can respond more effectively to lift student and school performance.
  3. Enabling collaboration, flexibility and innovation - How resources can be better focused to get the best whole-of-community education outcomes.
  4. Making every school and kura a great one - How a graduated range of responses could be developed to better support schools when difficulties arise.
  5. Making best use of local education provision - How local arrangements can support choice and diversity.

Regional meetings to discuss the proposals

We are holding a series of regional workshops and hui to discuss what is being proposed and how you can have your say. Further workshop dates will be added soon so check back regularly.
Go to the workshop schedule to find out more [PDF, 84 KB]

Have your say

There are 3 ways you can make your submission:

  1. Go to the consultation website to make your submission online (external link) .  Here you will find a video from Education Minister Hon Hekia Parata talking about the consultation, and a copy of the full discussion document.
  2. email your submission to
  3. write to:

Education Act Update
Ministry of Education
PO Box 1666
Wellington 6140
New Zealand

We need to receive your submission by 5pm on Monday 14 December 2015.

Personal information and confidentiality

Submissions and documents associated with the consultation process meet the definition of official information and are therefore subject to the Official Information Act 1982. Please clearly indicate in your submission if you do not want your name to be included in any summary of submissions that we may publish.

What happens after the consultation closes

Once we know the outcome of the consultation, any decisions made by the Minister of Education about changes to the Education Act 1989 will need Cabinet’s agreement. If Cabinet agrees, a Bill will be drafted. The Bill will be introduced to Parliament in 2016. You will then have the opportunity to provide feedback on the specific proposals in the Bill to a Parliamentary select committee.

Things this consultation doesn’t cover 

  • the tertiary education sector
  • the self management of schools/kura
  • recent government initiatives such as National Standards, Partnership Schools, Investing in Educational Success and the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • changes that would increase government spending on education
  • the content of Te Whāriki (Early Childhood Curriculum), The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa.

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