The Statement of National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP) and the Tertiary Education Strategy (TES)

About the NELP and TES

The Statement of National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP) and the Tertiary Education Strategy (TES) set out the Government’s priorities for education that will ensure the success and wellbeing of all learners. They are statutory documents issued under the Education and Training Act 2020 that direct government and education sector activities towards the actions that will make the biggest difference, and ensuring that we are able to strengthen the education system to deliver successful outcomes for all learners/ākonga.

The NELP and TES priorities will help create education environments that are learner centred, and where more of our learners, and especially more of our Māori and Pacific learners, are successful. Therefore, they encourage all places of learning to focus on;

  • ensuring that they are safe and inclusive and free from racism, discrimination, and bullying  
  • strengthening the quality of teaching our learners receive to giving our learners the skills they need to succeed in education, work and life 
  • collaborating more with whānau, employers, industry and communities
  • taking account of learners’ needs, identities, languages and cultures in their practice, and
  • incorporating te reo Māori and tikanga Māori into everyday activities.

Download the Statement of National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP) 2020 [PDF, 217 KB] 

Download the Tertiary Education Strategy (TES) 2020 [PDF, 150 KB] 

Download the summary of NELP and TES 2020 [PDF, 75 KB]

Download the NELP and TES 2020 resource pack [PDF, 1.3 MB]

Download the NELP and TES 2020 resource pack in te reo Māori [PDF, 1.3 MB]

Accessible versions

Watch the NZSL videos of the NELP and TES

Download the E-text version of the NELP and TES [DOCX, 51 KB]

Translations of the NELP and TES material will be available in the following languages and formats shortly:

  • Gagana Samoa
  • Gagana Tokelau
  • i Kiribati
  • Lea faka-Tonga
  • Te Reo Māori Kuki ‘Āirani
  • Vagahau Niue
  • Vosa Vakaviti
  • Solomon Islands Pijin
  • Fӓeag Rotuma
  • Te ‘gana Tūvalu

Objectives for Education

In early 2018 the Government set out its objectives for the education work programme – these have been updated to encompass what New Zealanders told us was important to them.

The objectives for education set the context for the NELP and the TES, and outline the things Government will focus on to improve outcomes and wellbeing across the education system.

Objective 1: Learners at the centre – Learners with their whānau are at the centre of education

Objective 2: Barrier-free access – Great education opportunities and outcomes are within reach for every learner

Objective 3: Quality teaching and leadership – Quality teaching and leadership make the difference for learners and their whānau

Objective 4: Future of learning and work – Learning that is relevant to the lives of New Zealanders today and throughout their lives

Objective 5: World-class inclusive public education – New Zealand education is trusted and sustainable

What are the NELP and TES priorities?

Download the summary of the Statement of National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP) and Tertiary Education Strategy (TES) 2020 [PDF, 75 KB]
[PDF, 77 KB]

OBJECTIVE 1: LEARNERS AT THE CENTRE

Priority 1:

Ensure places of learning are safe, inclusive and free from racism, discrimination and bullying

Priority 2:

Have high aspirations for every learner/ākonga, and support these by partnering with their whānau and communities to design and deliver education that responds to their needs, and sustains their identities, languages and cultures

OBJECTIVE 2: BARRIER-FREE ACCESS

Priority 3:

Reduce barriers to education for all, including for Māori and Pacific learners/ākonga, disabled learners/ākonga and those with learning support needs

Priority 4:

Ensure every learner/ ākonga gains sound foundation skills, including language, literacy and numeracy

OBJECTIVE 3: QUALITY TEACHING AND LEADERSHIP

Priority 5:

Meaningfully incorporate te reo Māori and tikanga Māori into the everyday life of the place of learning

Priority 6:

Develop staff to strengthen teaching, leadership and learner support capability across the education workforce

OBJECTIVE 4: FUTURE OF LEARNING AND WORK

Priority 7:

Collaborate with industries and employers to ensure learners/ ākonga have the skills, knowledge and pathways to succeed in work

OBJECTIVE 5: WORLD-CLASS INCLUSIVE PUBLIC EDUCATION

Priority 8:

Enhance the contribution of research and mātauranga Māori in addressing local and global challenges (TES only)

The NELP and TES share priorities which recognises that learners change and grow as they move through the education system and the education system needs to listen to them, adapt to their needs, and empower them to achieve their aspirations, whatever their age or stage of learning. 

The priorities have been aligned to the Minister of Education’s objectives for education, which have been used to guide the Education Work Programme(external link). There are eight priorities in total, one of which is specific to the TES.

Much of the power for educational change sits with places of learning, developing educationally powerful connections and partnerships with learners/ākonga, whānau, Māori and Pacific and diverse ethnic communities.

From 2021, we will be supporting places of learning to incorporate the NELP priorities into their plans and practice over time. More information on implementing the NELP priorities will be available in the New Year.

Tertiary education organisations (TEOs) will need to show how they will have regard to the TES priorities in their investment plans.

The TEC’s investment plan guidance will be published very soon and will support TEOs to do this.

The priorities and actions for early learning, schooling and tertiary education can be found in the sector-specific downloads below:   

Priorities and actions for early learning services [PDF, 148 KB]

Priorities and actions for schools and kura [PDF, 159 KB]

Priorities and actions for tertiary education organisations [PDF, 150 KB]

How were the priorities developed?

The priorities set out in the NELP and TES have come out of the collective work across the Education Work Programme, New Zealanders’ generosity in participating in Kōrero Mātauranga, targeted engagements and dedicated consultation on the draft strategies. What we heard during these engagements was used to inform the NELP and TES priorities. We heard that wellbeing, equity and inclusion are really important for learners/ākonga and their family and whānau, but that the education system we have now is not delivering on this for everyone. 

What we learned during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and what we heard from learners/ākonga about their experiences during this time, has also contributed to these priorities, and has reinforced the importance of the issues addressed by the NELP and TES priorities.

Now, more than ever, it is important that the education system sharpens its focus on equity. Māori and Pacific learners/ākonga, those from diverse ethnic communities, disabled people, and people from disadvantaged backgrounds already experience or risk poorer education and employment outcomes and are likely to be disproportionately affected by the labour market impacts of COVID-19. It is critical that the education system supports their success, and New Zealand’s economic recovery. 

Read why these priorities are important [PDF, 85 KB] 

To find out more about the engagements and consultations that have contributed to the NELP and TES, visit:

Kōrero Mātauranga NELP page(external link)

Kōrero Mātauranga TES page(external link)

2019 Consultation on the proposed priorities: Shaping a Stronger Education System with New Zealanders - Kōrero Mātauranga(external link)

Implementing the NELP in early learning and schooling

The NELP is a set of seven priorities designed to guide those who govern schools and kura (state, state-integrated, and private), and can be used alongside their own local priorities, and in conjunction with delivering a rich local curriculum, to help every learner/ākonga to progress and achieve their aspirations.

There is no expectation that places of learning are required to implement the NELP priorities immediately. Right now, it’s all about getting familiar with the NELP, planning how these priorities are best achieved within their context, and assessing how they might shift focus so that the priorities become part of everyday practice.

From 2021, we will be supporting places of learning to incorporate the NELP priorities into their plans and practice over time. More information on implementing the NELP priorities will be available in the New Year.

Priorities and actions for early learning services [PDF, 148 KB]

Priorities and actions for schools and kura [PDF, 159 KB]

Private schools

Private schools must have regard to the NELP in the operation of their school and ensure that the school’s principal and staff have regard to the NELP when developing and delivering the curriculum.

The NELP and your planning and reporting

From 2021, we will be supporting places of learning to incorporate the NELP priorities into their plans and practice over time. More information on implementing the NELP priorities will be available in the New Year. 

Boards should have regard to the NELP when developing their planning and reporting documents, alongside the existing requirements of the National Education Goals (NEGs) and the National Administration Guidelines (NAGs).

Most schools and kura will have already written their 2021 charters or will have already consulted their communities on their 2021 priorities. While there may well be some cross over with some of the priorities in the NELP there was never going to be any expectation that Boards needed to have regard to the NELP in their 2021 charters.

If Boards do want to align the NELP priorities with the NEGs and NAGs in their 2021 charters, or in any of their 2021 planning and reporting documents, separate actions are not needed for each in their charters, or in any of their 2021 planning and reporting documents

From 1 January 2023, the new strategic planning and reporting framework will be introduced, and the NEGs and the NAGs will be removed. The new planning and reporting framework will require schools and kura to show how they’ve reflected the NELP in their 3-year strategic plans.

Read more about the new planning and reporting framework

Implementing the TES in tertiary education

The TES sets out the Government’s current and medium-term priorities, and long-term strategic direction for tertiary education. It is intended to address economic, social and environmental goals, and the development aspirations of Māori and other population groups. Tertiary education organisations (TEOs) are required to show how they have regard for the TES. The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) must give effect to the TES, and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) must have regard for the TES.

The TES sets out eight priorities for the tertiary sector. It shows what actions Government will take to support the implementation of the TES and sets out actions that tertiary education organisations can take to respond to the priorities.

The TEC have published investment plan guidance on their website, with further updates available in December 2020:

Investment plan guidance – Tertiary Education Commission(external link) 

Priorities and actions for tertiary education organisations [PDF, 150 KB]

What is Government doing to support the NELP and the TES?

The NELP and the TES are two of the key strategic components that will help to ensure the education system meets the needs of all learners/ākonga in Aotearoa New Zealand, no matter who they are or where they come from.

The NELP and TES align with the main initiatives the Government is undertaking through the education work programme, including for example the reforms of the Tomorrow’s Schools system and of Vocational Education.

This matrix shows where key initiatives of the Education Work Programme have actions or commitments announced that will support places of learning in implementing the NELP or the TES in early learning, schooling, or tertiary education.

Priorities 

Priority 1: Ensure places of learning are safe, inclusive and free from racism, discrimination and bullying

Priority 2: Have high aspirations for every learner/ākonga, and support these by partnering with their whānau and communities to design and deliver education that responds to their needs, and sustains their identities, languages, and cultures

Priority 3: Reduce barriers to education for all, including for Māori and Pacific learners/ākonga, disabled learners/ākonga and those with learning support needs

Priority 4: Ensure every learner/ākonga gains sound foundation skills, including language, literacy and numeracy

Priority 5: Meaningfully incorporate te reo Māori and tikanga Māori into the everyday life of the place of learning

Priority 6: Develop staff to strengthen teaching, leadership and learner support capability across the education workforce

Priority 7: Collaborate with industries and employers to ensure learners/ākonga have the skills, knowledge and pathways to succeed in work

Priority 8: Enhance the contribution of research and mātauranga Māori in addressing local and global challenges (TES ONLY)

 Priority 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Raising achievement for Māori learners    
Raising achievement for Pacific learners        
Early Learning Action Plan          
Reform of the Tomorrow’s Schools system    
Education Workforce strategy            
Reform of the funding system for early learning and schooling              
Comprehensive reform of school property              
Curriculum, assessment and qualifications (includes CPA and NCEA review)  
Learning Support Action Plan          
Reform of Vocational Education          
Strengthening tertiary education      
Supporting research in tertiary education              
Investing in wellbeing/Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy          

Find out more about the work Government is doing in early learning, schools and kura, and tertiary education to help places of learning implement the NELP and TES priorities:

Government actions in early learning (NELP)

Government actions in schooling (NELP)

Government actions in tertiary education (TES)

For what this looks like across the education system download the NELP and TES 2020 resource pack [PDF, 1.3 MB].

Proactive release of NELP and TES advice

Advice to the Minister of Education regarding the development of the NELP and TES has been proactively released. You can find this here:

Advice seen by the Minister – NELP and TES

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