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

Communities of Learning: Kāhui Ako are groups of schools, kura, early learning and tertiary providers that work together to help students achieve their full potential by sharing expertise in teaching and learning. As Communities of Learning grow, they may take on wider responsibilities that require more formal arrangements between the members.

Changes to the Act have created two new statutory mechanisms that will support this growing collaboration.

What are the changes?

A Community of Learning can now be formally approved by the Minister of Education for the purposes of entering into a statutory agreement with the Secretary for Education. For its approval, the Community of Learning must:

  • consist of two or more State or stateintegrated schools, and may include early childhood services, certified playgroups and tertiary education organisations
  • satisfy the Minister that the group has come together for the purpose of raising achievement for children and young people.

Once a Community of Learning has been approved, the Secretary and the members of a Community of Learning can then enter into an agreement for a variety of purposes, including new activities that the Community of Learning will undertake.

The Community of Learning must prepare a plan, to be provided to the Secretary, and report annually on its performance and use of resources relating to that plan. An associated change is that boards of trustees that are members of a Community of Learning can do work for other educational services or social services that benefit the Community of Learning’s members or students.

For example, a school could do administrative tasks on behalf of an early childhood service, or employ a homeliaison person to work with the families of children and young people across the Community of Learning.

Do Communities of Learning have to enter into statutory agreements to cover their activities?

No, all of the new statutory mechanisms relating to Communities of Learning are voluntary. It is a decision for individual Communities of Learning to make when they decide on their activities.

Where are the provisions relating to Communities of Learning located in the Act?

The provisions relating to Communities of Learning are found in sections 71C to 75. The provisions relating to work for members of the Community of Learning are in clause 15 of Schedule 6.

When do the changes take effect?

These provisions took effect on 19 May 2017.

Links to key provisions

The following links redirect to the New Zealand Legislation website.

Section 71C, Education Act 1989 (Ministerial approval) (external link)

Section 72, Education Act 1989 (Statutory agreement) (external link)

Clause 15(3), Schedule 6, Education Act 1989 (work for other educational or social services) (external link)

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