New Zealand Schools: Ngā Kura o Aotearoa (2015)

Publication Details

This report of the Minister of Education on the compulsory schools sector in New Zealand (also known as the Schools Sector Report) pertains to 2015.

Author(s): Ministry of Education

Date Published: September 2016

Please consider the environment before printing the contents of this report.

This report is available as a download (please refer to the 'Downloads' inset box).  For links to related publications/ information that may be of interest please refer to the 'Where to Find Out More' inset box.


The information in this report shows that in New Zealand we have an education system that is continuing to strengthen and improve. Achievement levels are rising for our secondary school pupils. The proportion of Year 1–8 students at or above the National Standard for reading, writing and mathematics is increasing. We are doing a better job of delivering culturally relevant education to Māori and Pasifika students, student suspensions are falling, and fewer students are seeking to leave school early.

However, this report also shows that while we are serving the vast majority of students pretty well, a large number of students are still leaving school without the minimum qualification considered necessary for full participation in adult life. A disproportionate number of them are Māori, Pasifika, come from poorer families or have special needs.

This is not good enough. We need an education system that is pushing all our students to excel, whether it be getting that child who is failing to pass or getting that child who is doing well to do better. Doing so will better prepare our kids for the evolving demands of the 21st century and will serve as an investment in the future of New Zealand.

That is why we have embarked on a programme of educational reform to raise achievement levels for all students. Key components of that programme are:

  • National Standards, which help teachers to identify and target student needs at an early age.
  • the challenging Better Public Service targets we have set in order to focus ourselves and the education sector on raising achievement levels for all students.
  • trades academies, which are re-engaging the interest of students at risk of disengaging from the education system.
  • Communities of Learning/ Kahui Ako, which are building working relationships between schools and sharing best teaching practices.

We know what makes a difference in classrooms and we know what makes a difference outside classrooms. The changes we have made are lifting student achievement by targeting the things that make the greatest difference.

Communities of Learning/ Kahui Ako, were established to focus on the whole learning pathway of the young person, to facilitate the sharing of expertise between services, schools and teachers, and to provide extra professional development opportunities for teachers and principals. Already 148 Communities have been formed comprising 1,264 schools and more than 410,000 students. As they develop and build solid relationships with early learning services and tertiary providers they will create seamless learning pathways centred on the needs of our children, spanning all the way from early childhood to tertiary options

Steps have been taken to strengthen the teaching profession and raise its status. They include establishing the Education Council as an independent entity, aligning professional learning and development with key education priorities (including maths, science, reading and writing), introducing new teacher education programmes, teacher-led innovation, and the Prime Ministers Education Excellence Awards.

Partnership schools/ kura hourua give parents increased choice about the type of school their child attends, and bring a wider range of educational options into the schooling network. We expect there will be future opportunities to adopt successful and innovative practices from partnership schools for use in state schools. Since the first partnership schools opened in 2014, four additional schools have been opened.

These changes are equipping teachers, principals, parents, whānau and the wider community with the information and tools they need to raise student achievement.

This report shows we are making progress, but there is more to be done. The students of today will be the adults of tomorrow upon whom we and our grandchildren will depend.

I am pleased to present to Parliament New Zealand Schools Ngā Kura o Aotearoa – 2015.

Hon. Hekia Parata
Minister of Education

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