Education and Training Act 2020: Development and consultation of school enrolment schemes

Schedule 20 of the Act makes the Ministry of Education responsible for developing and consulting on enrolment schemes

Under the previous legislative framework, Boards were responsible for the development and consultation on the creation or modification of enrolment schemes. This was a significant and time-consuming obligation on Board members, many of whom are effectively volunteers.

It was also possible for schools to develop a zone based on areas from which they most wish to take students. For example, they could design zones that include high socio-economic neighbourhoods and exclude closer, more disadvantaged, neighbourhoods. This could detrimentally affect students that are already at a disadvantage.

How the Ministry will develop and consult on enrolment schemes

The Secretary for Education must develop an enrolment scheme if overcrowding occurs or is likely to occur at a State school. When developing a proposed enrolment scheme, the Ministry must consult the school’s board and take reasonable steps to understand the views of the school’s community.

Once a proposed enrolment scheme is developed, and before it is finalised, the Ministry must consult a range of persons and organisations. In particular, the Ministry must take all reasonable steps to discover and consider the views of the school’s board, parents, students and prospective students, people living in the area, and the boards of other schools that could be affected. Others with particular interests must also be consulted, in the case of a Kura Kaupapa Māori, designated character school, and State integrated school.

Boards must implement the finalised scheme. Enrolment schemes can be amended, and remain in place until the Secretary decides that it is no longer necessary to have an enrolment scheme in place to manage overcrowding in that school. The Board remains responsible for the day to day administration of an enrolment scheme (for example, determining the number of places available for out-of-zone students).

More information

Revised Guidelines and Instructions for Enrolment Schemes will be produced before December 2020. Until 1 January 2021, enrolment schemes are to be developed and operated under the existing guidance and legislation. 

About enrolment schemes

Regional Ministry staff will continue to work with boards to develop and amend enrolment schemes, and will engage with them about any consultation processes planned for after 1 January 2021.

Secretary can authorise the inclusion of a grandparenting scheme

The Act allows for the Secretary for Education to have discretion to authorise a grandparenting clause to be included in an enrolment scheme when a scheme is implemented or amended, when they are satisfied it is in the school and local community’s best interest to do so and can be managed within the existing school network.

A grandparenting clause enables siblings of current students to retain the right to enrol at the same school when the new enrolment scheme is introduced or amended, as long as other criteria are met. For example, in the case of an amended scheme, at the time of enrolment the student must live inside the home zone as it was before it was amended.

Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback