Enabling the Minister to issue a statement of National Education and Learning Priorities

In the past, the Education Act has not had a clear way for the Government to set out its medium term priorities. The Government of the day’s medium term priorities have sometimes been put into National Education Guidelines, and have often been put into a range of nonstatutory documents, such as Ka Hikitia and the Pasifika Education Plan.

The updated Act now sets out a clearer and more streamlined process for the Government to clearly set out its medium term priorities for early learning and schooling, following consultation. The Minister of Education can now issue a new stand-alone document called a statement of National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP).

The NELP will set out the Government of the day’s priorities for the early learning and compulsory schooling sectors.

This will give greater visibility around the Government of the day’s priorities for the education system, and will ensure that Communities of Learning: Kāhui Ako, schools, kura and early learning services know what is expected of them, and can focus on the right things.

What will the National Education and Learning Priorities be?

This will depend on the priorities of the Minister and the Government, and the outcome of consultation. The priorities will be guided by the new objectives for the education system. It will be up to the Government to decide whether or not to issue a new NELP. Each NELP will be issued for a 5-year period.

Will the Minister need to consult on a NELP before issuing it?

The Minister must, at a minimum, consult with stakeholders in the early childhood and compulsory education sectors.

How often will the Minister issue a NELP?

The Minister will issue a NELP for a 5 year period. It can be withdrawn or replaced earlier.

How will schools and kura use the NELP?

Boards of state schools and kura must pay special attention to ensuring that the priorities of the NELP are reflected in their strategic plans. Sponsors of Partnership Schools | Kura Hourua must consider the NELP when developing and delivering the curriculum for their schools. Registered private schools must consider the NELP when operating the school. They must also ensure that their staff consider the NELP when developing and delivering the curriculum.

How will early childhood services and ngā kōhanga reo use the NELP?

Early childhood services and ngā kōhanga reo will be required to demonstrate how they are contributing to, and implementing, the NELP through their annual plans. The annual plans are a Ministry requirement and guide services’ operations.

How will Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako enact the NELP?

Kāhui Ako that have a statutory agreement with the Secretary for Education will be required to have particular regard to the NELP in developing a plan. See the factsheet on Enabling Communities of Learning: Kāhui Ako to work together more collaboratively.

Enabling Communities of Learning: Kāhui Ako to work together more collaboratively

What does the NELP replace?

The NELP replaces the National Education Guidelines.

Where are the NELP provisions located in the Act?

The NELP provisions are located in section 1A.

When do the changes take effect?

The provisions took effect from 19 May 2017. The Minister of Education will decide when to issue a NELP, following consultation.

Link to key provision

Section 1A, Education Act 1989 — NZ Legislation website (external link)

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