Student Engagement

This page describes the Student Engagement data collection.


The Ministry of Education developed a Student Engagement database in July 1999, following the introduction of the Education (Suspension) Rules 1999.   The Student Engagement database is also known as the Stand-down and Suspension database or SDS database.

The purpose of student engagement legislation and rules is to:

(a)   ensure that individual cases are dealt with in accordance with the principals of natural justice

(b)   provide a range of responses  for cases of varying degrees of seriousness

(c)   minimise the disruption to a student's attendance at school

(d)   facilitate the return of the student to school when that is appropriate.

The student engagement database deals with stand-downs, suspensions, exclusions and expulsions.

Stand-down is the formal removal of a student from school for a specified period. Stand-downs of a student can total no more than 5 school days in any term, or 10 days in a school year. Following stand-downs, students return automatically to school.

Suspension is the formal removal of a student from school until the board of trustees decides the outcome at a suspension meeting. Following a suspension the board may decide to lift the suspension with or without conditions, to extend the suspension, or in the most serious cases, to either exclude or expel the student.

Exclusion means the formal removal of a student aged under 16 from the school, and the requirement that the student enrol elsewhere.

Expulsion means the formal removal of a student aged 16 or over from school. He or she may enrol in another school.

Key Findings

The latest information on student engagement, as well as summaries of previous years, can be found in the Student Engagement home page.  Data on Student Engagement can be accessed via the following links:


Student engagement data are used as the basis for a significant amount of analysis and many publications about schooling in New Zealand. Boards of trustees data can be found in:

Data Collection

The Student Engagement database is administered by the National Office of the Ministry of Education.  Data is inputted at the Regional Offices of the Ministry, and analysed/reported at all levels: National, Regional, and Local Offices. 

The Guidelines for Principals and Boards of Trustees on Stand-downs, Suspension, Exclusions and Expulsions outline the processes involved with being stood-down, suspended, excluded or expelled. Included on this page are the reporting forms which obtain the data that ultimately goes into the Student Engagement Data Collection