Children at the heart of the new education act

The Education (Update) Amendment Act 2017 updates the Education Act 1989, so that every child’s progress and achievement is at the centre of our education system.

 The Act's changes will gradually happen between 19 May 2017 and January 2020. Some of these changes that may be of particular interest to you as a parent or whānau member are listed on this page.

Have your say

Statement of National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP)

The NELP [PDF, 90 KB] is a new stand-alone document that sets out the Government of the day’s priorities for early childhood services and schools so they know what is expected of them and can focus on the right things. The Government must consult before issuing a NELP, giving you the opportunity as a parent or whānau member to have your say on what you think is important for the education system.

A new strategic planning and reporting framework for schools

The strategic planning and reporting framework for schools [PDF, 154 KB] is being streamlined so it is less complex and makes key information easier to access for parents and whānau. We’ll be consulting on how the new framework is going to work over the course of 2018.

Know your rights

Clearer roles and responsibilities for school boards of trustees

Boards of trustees [PDF, 85 KB] are the governing bodies of schools, and changes have been made to make their roles and responsibilities clearer to everyone. If you are concerned about whether your board is meeting its roles and responsibilities, you can raise this with your Ministry of Education Regional Office

Seclusion and physical restraint

The use of seclusion [PDF, 135 KB] is now banned in early childhood services and schools. If you have concerns that seclusion is being used in a school, you should raise these with your Ministry of Education Regional Office.

Changes have also been made to regulate the use of physical restraint in schools. If you have any concerns about the use of physical restraint [PDF, 135 KB] on your child or in your school, you can raise these with the board in the first instance then with your Ministry of Education Regional Office.

Attending a board meeting about the suspension of your child

If your child has been suspended by the school’s principal, the school’s board must meet to consider their suspension. You, your child and your representative(s) are entitled to attend this meeting in person. You and your child can now request for this meeting to be held via a teleconference or video link (e.g. Skype).

Cohort entry for schools

Schools will be able to choose to introduce cohort entry [PDF, 219 KB], which means that new entrants start school as a group at the beginning of the term closest to their fifth birthday rather than on their fifth birthday. If your local school is interested in introducing cohort entry, it must consult with future and current parents and whānau, as well as their staff and local early childhood services.

If your local school introduces cohort entry, the earliest your child could start under a cohort entry policy will be Term 1, 2018. This allows time for your school to carry out the required consultation. 

You can still choose to delay your child’s start until the beginning of a later term or until age six if you are concerned about their readiness for school.

Compulsory attendance at school

Changes have been made so that once your child is enrolled at school, they must attend regularly [PDF, 85 KB]. This will provide a sound foundation for future learning and achievement.

If your child is finding it difficult to transition, you should discuss this with the school. One option could include developing a transition plan, which you must agree to with the principal and the Ministry.

Directed enrolments at a school

Sometime parents want to apply for an exemption [PDF, 80 KB] for their child to attend a school they are not zoned for. Changes have been made so that it is clear that an exemption will only be made in exceptional circumstances. If you want further information on applying for a directed enrolment, please contact your Ministry of Education Regional Office.

New Competence Authority within the Education Council

Parents and whānau who have concerns about a teacher’s competence [PDF, 84 KB] can make a complaint to the Education Council. The complaint will be dealt with by the new Competence Authority, which is made up of practising teachers and a lay person.

New education options

Communities of Online Learning (COOL)

COOL [PDF, 155 KB] will give you and your child more flexibility and choice in how and what they learn, if online learning is right for them. We’ll be consulting on how COOL are going to work.

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Find out more - ask the Ed Act team

You can ask our Ed Act Update experts anything you want to know about the Act by emailing your questions to: EdAct.Update@education.govt.nz.

We will be tweeting Ed Act Updates regularly. Go to @EducationGovtNZ

Find out more about these and other changes.

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