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Schooling glossary of terms


Activity centre

Centre for secondary students experiencing problems with schooling and needing alternative options. Activity centres are attached to a local secondary school.

Admission ad eundem statum (at entrance level)

The means whereby students may qualify for admission at entrance level, on the basis having been awarded an overseas school qualification which is deemed to be equivalent to university entrance or having completed previous tertiary study.

Adult student

A domestic student who has continued at a school and is aged 19 years or over on 1 January of the roll count year. (See Returning adult student and Student types (school).)

Māori education glossary of terms


In te ao Māori, the concept of ako means both to teach and to learn. It recognises the knowledge that both teachers and learners bring to learning interactions, and it acknowledges the way that new knowledge and understandings can grow out of shared learning experiences.


The place of learning and teaching. A classroom.


A student or learner.

Alternative education student

A young person aged between thirteen and a half and sixteen years of age who has become alienated from the education system. As they are either unwilling to attend a regular school or schools are unwilling to enrol them in a mainstream setting they attend an Alternative Education Programme (See .)

Area school

See Composite school.

Area type

Main Urban:
Very large urban areas centred on a city or major urban centre.  Main urban areas have a minimum population of 30,000.
Secondary Urban:
Centered on the larger regional centres. Secondary urban areas have a population between 10,000 and 29,999.
Minor Urban:
Urbanised settlements centred around smaller towns.  Minor urban areas have a population of between 1,000 and 9,999.
Rural Centres:
Rural centres have a population of between 300 and 999.
Rural Area:
Rural areas have a maximum population of 299.


Describes the ownership of each educational institution.

Institutions and ownership
  • Owned by an incorporated society
  • Owned by a charitable trust
  • Owned by a statutory trust
  • Owned by a government department
  • Owned by a health board
  • Owned by a local authority
  • Owned by a trading enterprise
  • Owned by a public education institution
  • Owned by the crown
  • Privately owned by a sole teacher
  • Privately owned by a company
  • Privately owned by a partnership
  • Owned by a private trust
  • Owned by a state owned enterprise
Institution: State school
  • State: Not integrated
  • State: Integrated
Institution: Private school
  • Private: Fully registered
  • Provisionally registered
Institution: Tertiary
  • Public tertiary institution
  • Privately owned
  • Established by Act
  • Owned by a trust
  • Owned by an incorporated society
  • Corporate institutions (including GTEs)


Beginning teacher

A provisionally registered teacher. Registration requires at least two years of teaching; hence beginning teachers are generally in their first two years of teaching. The Ministry provides support to state schools that employ beginning teachers in the form of the Beginning teacher time allowance. Historically this allowance has only been available for first year beginning teachers, but is now available for both first and second year teachers.

Bilingual classes

Classes in which some students in a school are involved in Māori-medium education for three to twenty hours per week or for 12 to 80 percent of the time. (See immersion classes.)

Bilingual school

A school where all students are involved in Māori-medium education for three to twenty hours per week or for 12 to 80 percent of the time. (See immersion school.)

Board of trustees

Governing body for schools; elected by parents and caregivers. Boards establish a charter, which sets out the aims and objectives of the school.

Early childhood education glossary of terms


Casual childcare

These services provide sessional, all-day, or flexible hour programmes for children from birth to school age. Children who attend these services are not enrolled on a regular basis, that is, they can attend that day if there is a place available for the child. (See ECE service types.)


A document that signifies a qualification has been awarded.

Childcare centres

Education and care services.

City district

See Territorial authority.

Cohort entry

In schools which have adopted a policy of cohort entry, new entrants start school in groups (cohorts) through the year after they have turned five. Cohort entry is about helping children to settle better in school. There is evidence that starting school alongside other children helps them build relationships and supports a smoother entry to school life.

There are two entry points per term, one on the first day of term, and one at a mid-point during a term. Cohort entry does not replace the legal requirement that a child start school at age six. Parents, caregivers and whānau can still choose to not enrol their student before then. Visit the Ministry of Education website for more information on cohort entry for schools.

The alternative is that a school operates a continuous entry of new entrants into Year 1 throughout the school year, rather than cohort entry.

Tertiary education glossary of terms

College of education

A public tertiary education institution (TEI) that provides mainly specialist teacher education training. They also offer other non-teaching courses such as business, performing arts, sport coaching and science, as well as professional development for teachers. All of these institutions in New Zealand have now amalgamated with universities.

College of Education Amalgamated with
Auckland College of Education University of Auckland
Hamilton College of Education University of Waikato
Massey University College of Education Massey University
Wellington College of Education Victoria University
Christchurch College of Education University of Canterbury
Dunedin College of Education University of Otago
Note: See Tertiary education providers.

Communities of learning

Communities of Learning are groups of schools/kura that come together, along with their communities, to raise achievement for all young people by sharing expertise in teaching and learning (ako), and supporting each other. They focus on the compulsory educational pathway, but can also engage with early childhood and post secondary education to fully include the learning journey children and young people will take.

A Community of Learning will work with the students, parents, families, whānau, iwi and other communities within its catchment, as the support and involvement of these groups is essential for the Community of Learning to progress towards its goals.

Community-based ECE service

A service that is an incorporated society, a charitable, statutory, or community trust, or owned by a community organisation (e.g. a city council, church or university). Community based services are prohibited from making financial gains that are distributed to their members. (See ECE services.)

Community and general education

Mainly second chance education for adults, and hobby classes. These are provided through a variety of educational institutions, organisations and community groups.

Composite school

Schools offering education to students at both the primary and secondary levels (Years 1-15). (See School types and MOE year level.)

Contributing school

Schools offering education to children from Year 1 up to Year 6; the students then continue their education at an intermediate, middle or secondary school. (See School types and MOE year level.)

Correspondence school

National school providing distance learning for full-time students, dual enrolled students, adult students and those with special education needs unable to attend regular school. Provides early childhood, primary and secondary education. (See School types and Correspondence school - ECE services.)

Correspondence school - ECE services

A distant education service offering learning programmes for children aged three to five years. An option for children who are unable to attend or have limited access to an early childhood services because of isolation, illness, a physical disability or itinerancy. These children can also attend an early childhood service for up to two sessions per week. (See Correspondence school, ECE service types and ECE services.)


A basic unit of education and/or training. The unit may be known variously as a unit, paper, subject, course or module of a qualification. A course may occur many times at one or more locations. A course or collection of courses forms a programme of study, which if completed successfully, results in the award of a qualification.

Current year level

This is the year level of the student's class cohort and the level at which the student spends most of their time at school. For student count made out of ENROL, the Current Year Level is used instead of the Funding year level.


Provides further information on the type of each institution.

  • ECE examples; Pacific centre or Tongan ECE service.
  • School examples; Kura teina, health camp school or Kura kaupapa māori.
  • Tertiary examples; aviation, equine, or theological.


A qualification awarded after satisfactory completion of and achievement in a programme of advanced study taught mainly by people engaged in research and which emphasises general principles and basic knowledge as the basis for self-directed work.

Designated character schools

Designated character schools are state schools that teach the New Zealand Curriculum but have developed their own sets of aims, purposes and objectives to reflect their own particular values for example religious beliefs or culture.

Discretionary entrance

A means of entrance to university for New Zealand citizens or permanent residents between the age of 16 and 20 on the first day of the semester of enrolment. The student must not meet the university entrance standard, have received secondary education to at least New Zealand Year 12, and earned at least 14 credits in an approved subject at level 2 towards NCEA. The student must also meet the literacy and numeracy standards required for university entrance and has not completed Year 13 or attempted to qualify for university entrance. (See Provisional entrance.)

Domestic student

Persons who are:-

  • New Zealand citizens (including those born in the Cook Islands, Tokelau and Niue)
  • New Zealand permanent residents
  • Citizens of Australia residing in New Zealand
  • Dependent children of:-
    • Diplomatic staff
    • Refugees
    • Persons with New Zealand work permits
    • Persons with Commonwealth scholarships
    • And foreign students who are enrolled in any Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programme at a New Zealand university

See International student and Student types (school).

Dual enrolled student

A student who is enrolled at their local school whilst studying subjects through the Correspondence school that their local school is unable to provide.


ECE services

Early Childhood Education. Education and care for infants and young children before they begin school. The majority of children in early childhood services are under five; however, children may attend early childhood services up to their sixth birthday, when schooling becomes compulsory. ECE services can be provided and organised in a range of ways (See ECE service types.)

Education and care services

These services provide sessional, all-day, or flexible hour programmes for children from birth to school age. They may be privately owned, community-based, or operated as an adjunct to a business or organisation. Individual Education and Care Services may be known by many names, including crèches, private kindergartens, aoga, punanga reo, and childcare centres. These services are teacher-led and required to meet the teacher registration targets. (See ECE services, ECE service types.)


The electorate each institution is located in. Can be General or Māori electorates.

Equivalent full-time students (EFTS)

A unit for counting tertiary student numbers. The basis of the EFTS system is that a student taking a normal year's full-time study counts as 1.0 EFTS units or the equivalent of 120 credits on the National Qualifications Framework.


Education Review Office. A government department whose purpose is to evaluate and report publicly on the education and care of students in schools and early childhood education services.


English for Speakers of Other Languages. A student who comes from a home where English is not the predominant language.


The ethnic group or groups to which an individual belongs. The concept of ethnicity adopted by the Ministry of Education is a social construct of group affiliation and identity. The Ministry of Education uses the definition of ethnicity used by Statistics New Zealand, namely: "A social group whose members have one or more of the following characteristics:

  • they share a sense of common origins,
  • they claim a common and distinctive history and destiny,
  • they possess one or more dimensions of collective cultural individuality,
  • they feel a sense of unique collective solidarity."

Exchange student

See Foreign exchange student.

External student

A student who attends a school for some courses but is enrolled at another school where the majority of instruction occurs. (See Student types (school).)

Extramural (tertiary)

Covers students who are unable to attend on-campus courses. Students may be a resident in New Zealand or overseas.


Fees Free

The Fees Free Tertiary Education and Training policy was introduced in January 2018. It makes the equivalent of one year of tertiary study or work-based training fees-free for new students and trainees. The latest information on eligibility is available from the Fees Free website.

Field of study

The subject matter of a tertiary qualification. The 12 broad Fields of Study are from the New Zealand Standard Classification of Education (NZSCED).

First year student (tertiary)

A student enrolled in their first year of their first formal programme at a tertiary institution either in New Zealand or overseas. Enrolments in STAR, community or other non-formal courses are not included under this definition.

Foreign exchange student

An international student who is studying in New Zealand under an exchange programme approved by the New Zealand Government and is exempt from paying tuition fees. However a foreign exchange student is treated as a regular student (or adult student, depending on their age) for the purposes of Ministry of Education statistical returns. (See Student types (school).)

Foreign fee-paying student

See International fee-paying student.

Foreign research-based postgraduate student

Any non-domestic postgraduate student enrolled in a course or courses whose supervised work results in the production of a substantial research output by the individual student, amounting to 100 percent of the learning and assessment for that course.

Formal student (tertiary)

For the purposes of statistical reporting, a tertiary student is considered to be a formal student when enrolled in a formal programme of study of more than one week's full-time duration (i.e. an EFTS value greater than 0.03). The programme must lead to a qualification approved by an authorised or certifying body or issued by an institution.

Full primary school

Schools offering education to children from Year 1 up to Year 8 (See School types and MOE year level.)

Full-time (tertiary)

Any programme of study of 32 weeks or more and at least 0.8 EFTS is designated full-time/full-year. Any programme of study of at least 12 weeks and at least 0.3 EFTS or the equivalent on a pro rata basis (e.g. 24 weeks and 0.6 EFTS) is designated full-time/part-year. A programme of study of 12 weeks that is less than 0.3 EFTS (or the equivalent on a pro rata basis) is called part-time. (See Part-time (tertiary).)

Full-time equivalent student (FTE)

At secondary schools an FTE is calculated by adding together class contact hours of each part-time student, dividing by 20, and rounding to one decimal place.

Full-time teacher equivalent (FTTE)

One full-time teacher equivalent is a teacher employed for a full working week. At schools an FTTE is calculated by adding together class contact hours, dividing by 25, and rounding to two decimal places.

Funding year level

Prior to 2008 this was known as Year of Schooling or MOE Year Level. The Funding Year Level measures the number of years of schooling a student has received and provides the Ministry of Education with a method of counting students for funding and staffing purposes. The Funding Year Level for most students is based on the date they first started school. It is independent of the way schools are organised and independent of the particular programme of study that a student may undertake. (See also Current year level.)



Gender of the students that an education setting caters for.

Government training establishment

State-owned organisation other than an educational institution that provides education, training or assessment services (e.g. Navy, Department of Conservation); this is a term used mainly by NZQA when registering and accrediting training sections of government organisations. Often referred to as GTE. (See Tertiary education institutions (TEIs).)


Home-based childcare services

Early childhood services where early childhood education is provided to small groups of children in a caregiver/educator's or child's own home. Home-based care services are grouped together in networks, which are supervised by co-coordinators who are registered teachers. (See ECE service types.)


A generic term for children schooled at home during the compulsory schooling ages (6 to 16). To home school a child the parents/caregivers must satisfy the Ministry that the child will be taught at least as regularly and as well as in a registered school. If satisfied the Ministry issues an exemption certificate and the student is deemed to be "homeschooled". The parents/caregivers do not have to teach the child, they can arrange for someone else to teach the child or may purchase a programme from someone else. Homeschooling parents/caregivers are given an annual grant to help with the cost of learning materials or programme purchase. (See School types and MOE year level.)

Hospital based services

Hospital Based Services are those services where the provision of education or care is to three or more children under the age of six, who are also receiving health services within premises under the control of the Ministry of Health or a district health board. These services are established by or under section 19 of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000. (See ECE services, ECE service types.)


Immersion classes

Classes in which some students in a school are involved in Māori-medium education for more than 20 hours per week or more than 80 percent of the time. (See bilingual classes.)

Immersion school

A school where all students are involved in Māori-medium education for more than 20 hours per week or more than 80 percent of the time. (See bilingual school.)

Institutes of technology and polytechnics

A public tertiary education institution (TEI) that is characterised by a wide diversity of vocational and professional programmes.Normally known as polytchnics (See tertiary education provider types) All of these institutions have become subsidiaries of Te Pūkenga as part of the reform of vocational education (see Te Pūkenga - New Zealand Institute of Skills and Training).

Institution number

A code assigned by the Ministry of Education to uniquely identify each institution.

Instructional year level

Level at which a particular subject is being studied.

Always relates to a subject studied at a secondary school.

Integrated data infrastructure (IDI)

The IDI is a linked longitudinal dataset that combines unit-record administrative information from a range of agencies and organisations. The IDI is maintained by Statistics New Zealand under strict privacy and confidentiality protocols. All records within the IDI are anonymised and any statistical outputs that use IDI data go through a confidentialisation process to ensure that the privacy of individuals is protected. Further detail about the IDI can be found on the Statistics New Zealand website.

Integrated school

A school which has previously been a private school and is now integrated into the state-funded system. (See Authority.)

Intermediate school

Schools offering education to Year 7 and 8 students. (See School types and MOE year level.)

International fee-paying student

An international student who meets the full tuition costs on their own or from funds provided to them by sponsors other than the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Students can be studying at a secondary or tertiary level. (See Student types (school).)

International student

An overseas student who has come to New Zealand for the purpose of education, and/or is currently studying on a student permit or domestic passport. This excludes students from overseas with New Zealand citizenship or permanent residence or with Australian citizenship. (See Domestic student and Student types (school).)

Intramural (tertiary)

Covers courses where students must be physically present in scheduled teaching sessions either in New Zealand or at a provider's campus located overseas.


International Standard of Classification of Education. A system designed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) so that statistics on education can be compiled and presented on an internationally comparable basis.

ISCED-1997 levels of education are: -

Level Name Description
Level 0 Pre-primary Early childhood pre-primary education
Level 1 Primary Education Primary schooling up to Year 6.
Level 2 Lower Secondary Year 7-10.
Level 3 Upper Secondary Levels equivalent to Year 11 - 13 (or NQF levels 1 - 3) for secondary schooling, and all post-secondary programmes at NQF levels 1 - 3. While year 11 (or NCEA level 1) students are enrolled at ISCED level 3, attainment of ISCED 3 requires completion of a programme of at least 2 years duration, eg NCEA level 2 or equivalent. Students whose highest level of attainment is NCEA level 1, or equivalent, are not considered to have attained ISCED 3, or upper secondary level.
Level 4 Post-secondary Non-tertiary Education beyond school level leading to an award not equivalent to a diploma. Typically these are one year certificates at NQF level 4. Also includes apprenticeship qualifications.
Level 5 Tertiary
(excluding Advanced
Research Programmes)
Includes diplomas, degrees and postgraduate programmes, excluding doctorates. Note that 'tertiary education' as used in New Zealand refers to all post-secondary education. In ISCED, and as used in international comparisons, 'tertiary education' refers just to programmes at diploma level and above (ISCED levels 5 - 6).
Level 6 Advanced Research Programmes Doctorates.


Industry Training Organisation. A body recognised under the Industry Training Act 1992 as having responsibility for setting standards and arranging the delivery of industry training for the sector it represents; commonly known as an ITO. Replaced by Transitional Industry Training Organisation (TITO) under the Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Act (2020) as part of the reform of vocational education.


A tribe that has particular geographical boundaries outlining the region in which they have tangata whenua status.


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Kāhui ako

See Communities of Learning.


A Teacher or instructor.


Guardianship and protection.

A kaitiaki is a guardian; and the process and practices of protecting and looking after the environment are referred to as kaitiakitanga.

Kakenga ōrau

Percentage point. The arithmetic difference between two percentages. For example, moving from 30% to 33% is a 3 percentage point increase (compared to a 10 percent increase in what was measured). (See ōrau.)

Kaupapa Māori

In the context of schooling a kaupapa Māori philosophy such as Te aho matua or kaupapa ā-iwi. These kaupapa incorporate the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values of Māori society.

Many of these kura will teach to the Te marautanga o Aotearoa curriculum which emphasizes Māori values and philosophies. These kura exist in most parts of Aotearoa and cater to students between 5 and 19 years old. (See kura.)

These kura generally affiliate with one of two governing bodies:


Local protocols.


A teacher-led early childhood service represented by the New Zealand Kindergartens Inc. (NZKI) or the New Zealand Federation of Free Kindergartens, that provides sessional programmes for mainly three and four year old children. (See ECE service types.)

Kōhanga reo

Kōhanga reo are an early childhood education (ECE) service administered by the Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust. At these services all education and instruction are delivered in te reo Māori. At kōhanga reo, tamariki are totally immersed in Māori language and tikanga (culture) from birth through to school age to promote learning within a context/situation that is relevant to the children and which draws on Maori styles of learning and teaching.

Kōhanga reo are a whānau dependent programme, parents and whānau are closely involved with children’s’ development and learning. They are also responsible for the management, operation and everyday decision making for kōhanga reo. Whānau are also encouraged to take part in the daily programmes provided by kōhanga reo.

The translation of the words kōhanga reo is ‘language nest’. This translation relates directly to one of the key objectives of the kōhanga reo movement – the retention of the Māori language. (See ECE service types.)


To speak, speaking.


A school. There are a variety of kura in New Zealand, see:

  • kaupapa Māori – the principle language of instruction is te reo Māori and the kura follows a kaupapa Māori philosophy:
  • School levels
    • kura tuatahi – primary school
    • kura arongatahi – composite school
    • kura tuarua – secondary school
  • wharekura – immersion secondary school
  • kura tuakana – a mentoring school for a kura teina (no longer used)
  • kura teina – a school working to become a kura kaupapa Māori (no longer used)
  • kura auraki – an English Medium School

Kura arongatahi

Composite schools. Kura arongatahi teach from year level 1 to year level 13. The age of tamariki range from 5 years old to 19 years old. Students enrolled from Year 11 to Year 13 undertake NCEA (National Certificate of Educational Achievement). (See kura.)

Kura auraki

An English-medium school. Sometimes referred too as a mainstream school.

Kura kaupapa Māori

This is a kura where the principle language of instruction is Te reo māori and which follow the Te aho matua Māori philosophy. The kura is affiliated to Te Rūnanga Nui o Ngā Kura Kaupapa..

Kura teina

Historically this was an applicant school accepted into the preparation and assessment process for establishment as a Kura kaupapa Māori. It was an off-site satellite unit of an existing kura kaupapa Māori called a Kura tuakana. Each kura teina was provided with governance, management, mentoring and professional support by a kura tuakana.

This ‘buddy’ process is no longer followed when establishing new kura kaupapa Māori. (See kura.)

Kura teina student

A domestic student who attends a Kura teina. (See Student types (school).)

Kura tuakana

Historically this was an established kura kaupapa Māori that provided mentoring support and acts as a role model for an off-site satellite unit called a Kura teina. The kura tuakana provided the governance for the kura teina and acted as the conduit for the funding/resourcing from the ministry to the kura teina. A kura tuakana was a kura kaupapa Māori school of high quality (based on ERO reports) that could provide support.

This ‘buddy’ process is no longer followed when establishing new kura kaupapa Māori. (See kura.)

Kura tuarua

Secondary schools. Students are enrolled from year level 9 to year level 13. This equates to an age range from 13 years old to 19 years old. Students enrolled from year level 11 to year level 13 undertake NCEA (National Certificate of Educational Achievement). (See wharekura and kura.)

Kura tuatahi

Primary schools. Primary education covers year level 1 to year level 8. Most primary schools are full primary schools (years 1 – 8) or contributing primary schools (years 1-6). Children can start school once they turn 5, but, must be enrolled by their 6th birthday. The age of tamariki in these kura ranges from 5 years old to 13 years old. Many of the tamariki who enrol in kura tuatahi enrol after turning 5 and graduating from a kōhanga reo. (See kura.)


Language immersion

The main language of instruction used at an Early learning service where it is spoken for more than 80% of teaching time.

Licensed ECE services

Any premises used regularly for the education or care of three or more children under the age of six must be licensed, except where specifically exempted by the Minister of Education. (See Licence-exempt ECE groups and ECE service types.)

Licence-exempt ECE groups

A service that has been issued an exemption from licensing requirements, in recognition of the fact that more than half of the children attending attend with a parent. (See ECE services.)

Local office district

The Ministry of Education local office district each institution is located in.



Work, employment, job; or to work, do, perform, accomplish.

Mana whenua

Mana whenua are the iwi and/or who hold the mauri (life force) of that rohe and who are the recognised authority of it. (See tangata whenua.)

Māori medium education

Students are taught curriculum subjects both in Māori and English (bilingual) or in Māori only (immersion) as well as learning Te reo Māori. (See bilingual school and immersion school.)

Māori medium satellite

Māori immersion school a student is attending while actually enrolled at another school. Students attending Māori medium satellites are funded the same way as the other students enrolled at the same school.


Curriculum. There are two statements of national curriculum: The New Zealand Curriculum, and Te marautanga o Aotearoa. Te marautanga o Aotearoa sets the direction for teaching and learning in Māori medium.



Middle school

School combining Years 7 to 10 or late primary and early secondary education. Also referred to as Restricted composite school. (See School types and MOE year level.)

MOE year level

See Funding year level.


National certificate

New Zealand qualifications are replacing National Certificates and National Diplomas at Levels 1–6 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.

National diploma

New Zealand qualifications are replacing National Certificates and National Diplomas at Levels 1–6 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.

Nature of attendance (tertiary)

A measure of the extent of attendance in a programme that indicates whether a student is currently studying full-time or part-time.


National Certificate of Education Achievement. A qualification on the National Qualification Framework based on credits from all unit and achievement standards . NCEAs are registered between levels 1 and 3, and are open to anyone assessed through an accredited provider.


National Education Monitoring Project. NEMP is an ongoing project that assesses and reports on the achievement of New Zealand Year 4 and Year 8 primary school children in all areas of the school curriculum. A sample of children are assessed each year. Different curriculum areas are assessed each year and repeated over a four year cycle.

For more information about NEMP, visit the NEMP publications section here on Education Counts.

Ngā kura a iwi

Ngā kura ā iwi are kura considered by their iwi as representing iwi interests in the education of their tamariki mokopuna. (See Ngā kura a iwi o Aotearoa.)

Ngā kura a iwi o Aotearoa

A society that acts as a collective body for ngā kura a iwi. The objectives of the society include to hold steadfast and faithful to the knowledge and customs of each tribe and tribal area, to create an authentic curriculum framework that originates from their tribes, and to keep faithful their respective tribal dialects.

Ngā puna kōhungahunga

Licence-exempt groups in community based locations that are culturally appropriate for Māori. (See ECE services.)


See Institution number.

NZAID funded student

New Zealand Agency for International Development funded student. A student on a scholarship from the New Zealand Agency for International Development. Prior to 2004 this was known as a MFAT scholarship.


New Zealand Qualifications Authority. An independent body that quality-assures secondary and tertiary qualifications and education providers; evaluates overseas qualifications and administers the New Zealand Register of Quality Assured Qualifications and the National Qualifications Framework, including the NCEA.


New Zealand Standard Classification of Education. A subject-based classification system for courses in tertiary education. The classification system consists of three levels – broad, narrow and detailed fields. It is used to improve the quality and consistency of statistics collected by the Ministry of Education and other education agencies in relation to tertiary study.



Percent or percentage. A number expressed as a fraction of 100. (See kakenga ōrau.)


Ongoing and Reviewable Resourcing Schemes. The schemes, which were introduced in 1997, assist individuals with very high or high special education needs by providing funding for extra teaching, specialist programming, therapy and education support.

Other tertiary education providers (OTEPs)

Organisations that deliver programmes of tertiary education or in support of tertiary education of some national significance, the New Zealand School of Dance and Drama. (See Tertiary education provider types.)

Other: Vote Education

State special schools that are funded by the Ministry of Education but not owned by the Ministry. (See Authority.)

Pacific education glossary of terms


Pacific island early childhood groups

Available to pre-school children with the purpose of developing and maintaining Pacific Islands languages and cultures. There is a high level of parent participation. (See ECE services.)

Pacific medium education

Students are taught curriculum subjects in both Pacific languages and English (bilingual) or in Pacific languages only (immersion).


To read, reading.

Parent/whānau led ECE services

A category of early childhood services that do not have to meet teacher registration targets, and have high levels of parent and/or whānau involvement in providing education and care for children. These services include licensed Playcentres and licensed Te kōhanga reo.

Partnership schools/kura hourua

Partnership schools/kura hourua were partnerships between education, business and community groups to provide new opportunities for students to achieve education success. Partnership schools no longer exist. These schools were converted into special character schools during 2019.

Part-time (tertiary)

A tertiary expression which can apply to either the qualification or the student. A qualification offered part-time has the same EFTS value, but is studied over a longer period of time than its full-time equivalent. A student may elect to study a full-time qualification on a part-time basis, by enrolling in fewer courses than the normal student full-time workload. Some qualifications are specifically designed for part-time study, e.g. the Massey University MBA. (See Full-time (tertiary).)


The Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) is intended to ensure that excellent research in the tertiary education sector is encouraged and rewarded. This entails assessing the research performance of tertiary education organisations (TEOs) and then funding them on the basis of that performance. Only degree-granting TEOs are eligible to participate in the PBRF. All universities and some polytechnics, wānanga, and private training establishments participate in the PBRF. For fuller information, see the Tertiary Education Commission website.


Early childhood services that belong to an association affiliated with the New Zealand Playcentre Federation Inc. A primary characteristic of playcentres is that families manage and implement the education programme (See ECE services.)


Community-based groups of parents and pre-school children whose playgroups meet for one to three sessions per week. (See ECE service type.)


Now referred to as Institutes of technology and polytechnics.

Prior activity

The main activity of a first-year tertiary student at 1 October the previous year. Categories include: attendance at a secondary school or other form of education, paid employment, house-person, retired or other beneficiary, and overseas.

Private ECE service

A service owned by a private company, publicly listed company, private trust, partnership, or an individual. Private services are able to make financial gains and distribute these to their members.

Private school

Schools owned by private proprietors, governed by an independent board, state registered as meeting specific standards, and receiving some state funding but charging tuition fees. (See Authority.)

Private tertiary education (PTE) providers

These consist of private institutions registered with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and other tertiary education providers in receipt of a Ministry of Education Grant (OTEP). Many private tertiary education providers receive Ministry of Education tuition subsidies and/or funding for Skill NZ programmes. (See Tertiary education providers and Tertiary education institutions.)

Private training establishments

See Private tertiary education (PTE) providers. A private organisation, registered by NZQA, providing education and/or training (refer to section 10 of the Education and Training Act 2020).


A collection of courses classes or work in which a student enrolls and which contributes to meeting the requirements for the awarding of one or more qualifications.

Provisional entrance

A means of entrance to university for New Zealand citizens and permanent residents between the age of 16 and 20 who have gained Sixth Form Certificate in at least one subject. From 2005, with the phasing in of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement this has been replaced discretionary entrance.



An official award given in recognition of the successful completion of a programme of study, which has been quality assured by a recognised quality assurance agency. (See Course.)

Qualification completion

A student has completed a qualification when all the academic requirements for the completion of a formal qualification during the previous academic year have been met.


Regional health schools

Regional health schools are for students with ongoing or serious health issues who can't attend their local school because they are in hospital, recovering at home, or gradually returning to school. Teachers work with students both in hospital and at home. Three regional health schools based in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch together service the whole country including remote country areas.

Regular student

A domestic student, who is aged less than 19 years at 1 January of the roll count year. Includes; students in general classrooms and those in special needs units. Excludes; foreign fee-paying students, NZAID-funded students, alternative education students and adult students. This classification is used by the Ministry for funding purposes. (See Student types (school).)


Language, voice.

Restricted composite school

Schools offering education to students from Year 7 up to Year 10. (See School types and MOE year level.)

Returning adult student

A student who has returned to school following a break of one year or more and is aged 19 years or over on 1 January of the roll count year. (See Adult student and Student types.)

Returning students

A student who has returned to school following a break of one year or more and is aged between 16 and 19 years-old on 1 January of the roll count year. These students will take up the same MOE Year Level that they had when they left school. (See Returning adult student and Student types (school).)


The territory or boundaries of iwi.

Roll return

An annual return of students at 1 March and at 1 July for the purpose of informing the Ministry of Education of the number of students attending that school on those dates.


Satellite class student

A domestic student who attends a Satellite Class. (See Student types (school).)


An institution for the instruction of children or people. In New Zealand school is compulsory for students aged between six and sixteen years. (See School types.)

School leaver

Students leaving secondary school permanently to enter the workforce, further education or training.

School profile number

See Institution number.

School types

Special school:

Secondary school

Schools offering education for students from Year 9 up to Year 15, and sometimes Year 7 and 8 as well. (See School types and MOE year level.)

Skill NZ

A Government agency responsible for providing training in skill development within New Zealand. Programmes include Skill Enhancement, Training Opportunities and Youth Training.

Socio-economic decile band

Students from low socio-economic communities face more barriers to learning than students from high socio-economic communities. Schools that draw their roll from these low socio-economic communities are given greater funding to combat these barriers. The mechanism used to calculate and allocate this additional funding is most often known as school deciles.

Schools are assigned a socio-economic score based on five census derived socio-economic factors. Schools are then ranked in order of this score and divided into 10 even groups called deciles. The 10 percent of schools with the lowest scores are considered decile 1 schools, the next 10 percent of schools are considered decile 2 schools, etc. Decile 1 schools have the highest proportion of low SES students, decile 10 schools have the least (NB: this does not mean students from decile 10 schools are 'rich'). See the Ministry of Education web page How the decile is calculated for a more detailed explanation.

A list of schools with their deciles as well as their contact details is available as a downloadable spreadsheet on Directory of educational institutions.

Deciles are also used in many of the indicators used by the Ministry of Education as a proxy for socio-economic status. These indicators are found on Education Counts > Indicators.

Special school

A school providing specialist education or support for students with specific physical, behaviour, sensory or intellectual support needs. (See School types.)


The formal removal of a student from a state school for a specified period. A stand-down of a student can total no more than five days in any term, or ten days in a school year. Following a stand-down, the student returns automatically to school.


Secondary, Tertiary Alignment Resource. STAR's main purpose is to assist senior secondary school students in finding suitable pathways into work or further secondary or tertiary study.

State school

Fully state funded school which is co-educational at the primary level, and offers single sex or co-educational options at the secondary level. (See Authority.)


The formal removal of a student from a state school until the Board of trustees decides the outcome at a suspension meeting.


Tangata whenua

Tangata whenua, in relation to a particular area, means the iwi, or hapu, that hold mana whenua over that area.


Treasure or precious possession.



Te aho matua

Te aho matua sets out the founding principles and philosophy for kura kaupapa Māori.

Te aho matua is known as a pedagogy for how kura Kaupapa students are taught.

Te Aho Matua is published in the New Zealand Gazette and provides the means by which kura identify themselves, as well as a philosophical base for teaching and learning.

Te rūnanga nui o ngā kura kaupapa Māori is the kaitiaki of Te Aho Matua.

Te marautanga o Aotearoa

Te marautanga o Aotearoa (TMoA) is the foundation curriculum document for Māori medium education. It outlines the core learning and competencies of Māori medium students, including the skills and knowledge required to enter university and follow chosen careers. (See kaupapa Māori and Te aho matua.)

Te pūkenga – NZIST

Te pūkenga - The New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (NZIST) was established in 2020 as part of reforms of vocational education. It is a new kind of organisation providing work-based, on campus, and online vocational learning and training right across the country. NZIST brings together the existing 16 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) into one organisation, and over time, will develop the capability to support work-based, campus-based and online learning as a unified system. More information can be found on the Te Pūkenga website. For the latest information on progress with the reforms of vocational education see the TEC website.

Te reo Māori

The Māori language.

Te rūnanga nui o ngā kura kaupapa Māori

Commonly called Te rūnanga nui, this is the national collective body of Kura kaupapa Māori te aho matua communities. The purpose of the organisation is to support Kura kaupapa Māori whānau in realising their aspirations for their schools. They engage in discussions and negotiations with the government, Ministry of Education, the Education Review Office and other organisations who have a vested interest in Kura kaupapa Māori.

Te runanga nui was established in 1993 at Kawhaiki marae on the Whanganui river. At the hui Dr Pita Sharples became the inaugural president of Te runanga nui.

Teacher-led ECE services

Early childhood services that are required to have a person responsible (or home-based care coordinator) who is a registered ECE qualified teacher, and they must meet the teacher registration targets for registered teacher staff. For funding purposes, teacher-led services include; Kindergartens, Education and care services and Homebased care services.

Teen parent unit

A unit, attached to a host secondary school, providing educational programmes for teenagers who are pregnant or who have prime responsibility for their children's care; and who have enrolled within the age range to receive free education (i.e. up to age 19 years).

Teen parent unit student

A domestic student who attends a Teen parent unit. (See Student types (school).)

Territorial authority

The territorial authority (TA) each institution is located in. TAs are defined by Statistics New Zealand and in 2021 comprise of 53 districts, 13 cities (including Auckland), and the Chatham Islands Territory.

Territorial local authority - TLA

See Territorial authority.

Tertiary education institutions (TEIs)

Publicly owned tertiary education providers. These consist of university, Te Pūkenga - New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (and its subsidiaries), or Wānanga. The term excludes other post-secondary institutions, such as private training establishments. (See Tertiary education providers and Private training education (PTE) providers.)

Tertiary education provider types

Post compulsory educational institutions that provide formal programmes of study. These can be divided into private tertiary education (PTE) providers and public Tertiary Education Institutions (TEIs).


The New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology – NZIST

See Te Pūkenga.

Transitional Industry Training Organisation (TITO)

Transitional Industry Training Organisation. A body recognised under the Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Act (2020) as having responsibility for setting standards and arranging the delivery of industry training for the sector it represents. Transitional ITOs are not education providers but can assess against unit standards within specified domains on the Directory of Assessment Standards. For a full list of registered transitional ITOs, see the Tertiary Education Commission website

Tohu mātauranga

University degree, academic qualification.


To write, writing.

Tuition weeks

The total number of weeks in the academic year that each Foreign fee-paying student or NZAID student is enrolled at school for academic tuition.


A principal of a kura.



A public tertiary education institution (TEI) that is primarily concerned with advanced learning and knowledge, research, and teaching to a postgraduate level. (See Tertiary education providers.)

University entrance

A prerequisite for entrance to university for people who have not attained the age of 20 years. University Entrance requires a minimum of 42 credits at NCEA level three or higher. Within these credits there must be at least 14 credits at level three or higher in two separate subjects from a list of 'approved subjects'. There are also literacy and numeracy requirements. A student must gain at least 14 numeracy credits at level one or higher and eight literacy credits at level two or higher, four in reading and four in writing. (See Admission ad eundem statum (at entrance level) and Discretionary entrance.)


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A wānanga is a tertiary education institution that provides education in a Māori cultural context. A wananga is characterised by teaching and research that maintains, advances, and disseminates knowledge and develops intellectual independence, and assists the application of knowledge regarding ahuatanga Māori (Māori tradition) according to tikanga Māori (Māori custom).


To listen, listening.


Family; to be born.

Whare wānanga

A university or place of higher learning.


A wharekura is an immersion secondary school where the philosophy and practice reflect Māori cultural values with the aim of revitalising Māori language, knowledge and culture. Wharekura teach taiohi (adolescents) from year level 9 to year level 13. This equates to an age range from 13 years old to 19 years old. (See kura tuarua and kura.)



Workforce Development Councils

Workforce Development Councils are responsible for translating industry skill needs for the vocational education system. For more information see the TEC website.


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Year of schooling

See Funding year level.


Zoning status

Indicates whether a domestic full-time regular student resides inside or outside of the School Zone at their date of first attendance at a school.