Ngā Kura o Aotearoa: New Zealand Schools (2018)

Publication Details

This report of the Minister of Education on the compulsory schools sector in New Zealand (also known as the Schools Sector Report) relates to progress and performance during 2018.

Author(s): Ministry of Education

Date Published: September 2019


This Government is the first in a long time to take an integrated approach as it sets the direction for the education system, from early learning, through the compulsory schooling sector, to tertiary education, training, research and lifelong learning.

The starting point for this is an enduring 30 year approach to education in New Zealand. This vision is grounded in New Zealanders’ aspirations for education – to enable every New Zealander to learn and excel, to help their whānau and communities thrive, and to build a productive and sustainable economy and an open and caring society.

I intend for this vision to be the anchor for the Education Work programme, the objectives we are setting, and for the priorities that places of learning focus on across the education system.

It has taken the shape of five key pillars: Learners at the Centre; Barrier-Free Access; Quality Teaching; Quality Inclusive Public Education; and 21st Century Learning. Importantly, it is built on developing a stronger and more explicit focus on wellbeing, equity and inclusion; a commitment to give practical effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and the need for greater trust and reciprocity with the teaching profession.

This vision is already driving change in our education system. We’ve:

  • funded new learning support coordinator roles in schools as part of the Learning Support Action Plan, to ensure learners are supported and their learning needs are met;
  • provided significant investment in initiatives to strengthen te reo Māori, and invested in Te Hurihanganui, to build cultural capability in the education profession, and to support whanau as they support their children’s education;
  • made the first decisions to create a unified system for all vocational education, to create a strong and sustainable system that delivers the skills that learners, employers and communities need to thrive;
  • made changes to the fees that are charged in education, which have been placing pressure on family budgets, including the removal of NCEA fees so all learners can receive formal recognition of their achievement, and implementing the $150 per student school donation policy for decile one to seven state and state-integrated schools;
  • agreed the next steps for improvements in curriculum, progress and achievement to ensure students make and can recognise progress in the learning they need through a curriculum that is relevant and meets their aspirations;
  • made changes to create fewer, larger achievement standards in the secondary qualification, NCEA, that are accessible for all students.  We’re also introducing new literacy and numeracy requirements, along with ensuring equal support for ākonga Māori in all settings and equal status for mātauranga Māori.
  • released a National Education Growth Plan to meet the growth of 100,000 additional students by 2030.

There is still more change to come.

The Statement of National Education and Learning Priorities and the Tertiary Education Strategy will set the Government’s expectations for places of learning, to address some of the big issues we see across the education system and to make the vision a reality.

They’re tools that place of learning will use to make meaningful change in their day-to-day activities to improve wellbeing and success for all learners/ākonga and their family and whānau.

Over the coming months, our focus will also shift from the foundation stage of the Education Portfolio Work Programme to working with the education profession and the wider community on detailed design and implementation.

We will emphasise staged and sustainable improvements over the short, medium and longer term in areas that include: the early learning strategic plan; the Government’s response to the independent taskforce’s report on the review of Tomorrow’s Schools; and the education workforce strategy.

Finally, I’d like to acknowledge some of the highlights of the NZCER’s recently completed Teaching, School, and Principal Leadership Practices Survey 2018. Overall, teacher and principal perceptions of practices are positive; 61% of teachers reported that morale is good and 44% agreed or strongly agreed that their workload is fair. Most principals (84%) agreed or strongly agreed that their school was supported by the local community.

These responses are encouraging and we will work hard to keep improving them as we reassert our unwavering commitment to rebuild our public education system so it meets the needs of all learners, and supports them to succeed.

We appreciate all the efforts of the teachers, principals, parents, whanau, students and many other representatives within the sector, who are helping to make this happen.

I am pleased to present to Parliament Ngā Kura o Aotearoa New Zealand Schools Report - 2018.

Hon Chis Hipkins
Minister of Education.

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