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Three proposals for future legislative change have been consulted on. Consultations closed on 14 June 2019.

These proposals are intended to:

  1. Strengthen the provisions that give children and young people rights to education;

  2. prohibit, except in limited circumstances, the offshore awarding of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA); and

  3. update the name of "special schools" to “specialist schools” and transfer the provisions regarding their establishment and disestablishment to a new Act in a way that does not affect existing obligations but does remove outdated and unnecessary terms. This last proposal is a technical change that does not affect the number of specialist schools or their operation. 

The proposals are designed to better protect our learners and the credibility of our qualifications. 

Cabinet considered and approved these proposals for consultation. The paper considered by Cabinet can be found here:

Cabinet Paper: Education and Training Bill [PDF 1.17MB]

Right to education

There have been situations where the lack of an explicit right to attendance in education legislation has seen some students’ access to education restricted. All students should have the same right to an education, regardless of their circumstances.

Right to Education Consultation Document - English

Right to Education Consultation Document - Te Reo Māori

Right to Education Consultation Document – e-text

Right to Education Consultation Document – NZSL

Prohibit offshore awarding of NCEA

The second proposal suggests prohibiting, except in limited circumstances, the offshore awarding of NCEA. NCEA has been developed for a New Zealand context and is not readily transferable internationally. Awarding NCEA for study done overseas would present difficulties in moderation and quality assurance, which could lead to an erosion of the quality of the NCEA and of the international credibility of NCEA qualifications.

The limited circumstances where NCEA could be awarded offshore include allowing the continued awarding of NCEA through Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (the correspondence school) to domestic students based offshore and where government relationships exist to support it (such as in the Cook Islands and Niue). Where tertiary education providers are awarding standards that lead to other qualifications as well as NCEA, they will continue to be able to award standards leading to those other qualifications.  

Prohibit awarding offshore NCEA Consultation Document - English

Prohibit awarding offshore NCEA Consultation Document - Te Reo Māori

Update the name of “special schools” to “specialist schools”

The proposal to rename special schools “specialist schools” is intended to reflect their role in providing specialist education, rather than labelling them as ‘special’. The proposal does not affect the number of specialist schools, or their operation.

It is proposed to transfer the current provisions for when special schools can be opened and closed into a new Act in a way that does not affect existing obligations but does remove outdated and unnecessary terms. The only amendment will be to remove references to special classes and clinics established by the Minister, as there are no longer any such classes or clinics being established.

Rename Special Schools Consultation Document - English

Rename Special Schools Consultation Document - Te Reo Māori

Rename Special Schools Consultation Document – e-text

Rename Special Schools Consultation Document – NZSL

Submitting your feedback

Everyone will get two chances to have their say on these proposals. The first opportunity was during the consultation period that ended on 14 June. There will be another chance to express a view on any of the proposals proceeded with when a draft bill is introduced later in the year.

Any questions on the consultations can be emailed to legislation.consultation@education.govt.nz.

Or sent by post to: 

Education Consultation
Ministry of Education
PO Box 1666
Wellington 6140
New Zealand