Legislative changes: schools and early learning services

There are new legislative requirements which have recently, or are about to, come into effect. These new Acts, regulations and standards will affect your school, kura or early learning service. This information will help you to meet the new requirements.

Vulnerable Children Act 2014

There are 2 key requirements for schools, kura and early learning services under the Vulnerable Children Act 2014:

  1. To have a child protection policy in place.
  2. To safety check all who work regularly with children and whose work is paid (or unpaid if part of an educational or vocational training course).
Key datesRequirements
1 July 2016
  • Schools must have their child protection policies in place.
  • The Workforce Restriction applies for all existing core workers, unless an exemption has been granted.
  • All new non-core workers must be safety checked before being employed or engaged as a children’s worker from this date.
1 July 2018
  • All existing core children's workers must be safety checked by this date.
1 July 2019
  • All existing non-core children's workers must be safety checked by this date.

Further information:

Health and Safety at Work Act 2015

Key datesRequirements
4 April 2016
  • The Act comes into effect.

Further information:

Food Act 2014

Key datesRequirements
1 March 2016
  • All new schools and kura opened on or after this date must meet the Act's requirements and the associated regulations.
  • New ECE services on National Programme 2 opening on or after this date must be registered and meeting the requirement
31 March 2017
  • Existing ECE centres and kōhanga reo on National Programme 2 must have applied for registration.
30 June 2017
  • Existing ECE centres and kōhanga reo on National Programme 2 must be registered and meeting the requirements.
30 June 2018
  • All existing schools and kura must be meeting the requirements

The Food Act 2014 makes sure the food that businesses sell is safe and suitable to eat. It also provides tools for businesses to manage their food safety. Under the Act, all schools, kura, early childhood (ECE) services and kōhanga reo must make sure the food they serve children is safe and suitable to eat.

However, depending on the type of food service provided, some will have obligations under the new food safety law – the Food Act 2014 (the Food Act) and the Food Regulations 2015 (the Food Regulations).

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