Strengthening schooling in areas of population change

As communities change, so too do the schooling needs of their children and young people.

Population growth

There are times when a community grows. Population growth could lead to changes such as the reorganisation of current schooling provision and/or the provision of extra schooling through the establishment of new schools/kura, or the integration of private schools into the state network.

Population decline

There are times when a community gets smaller. This could necessitate changes such as the reorganisation of current schooling provision and/or the closure or merger of schools.

Demographic change

Sometimes a community undergoes changes to its demographic make-up. This could lead to changes to the types of schooling provision that are available in the community (such as Māori medium immersion/bilingual provision), or changes to the structure of its schooling provision (such as changes to the year levels that its schools cater for).


When a need for change is identified, consultation is undertaken with the boards of trustees of the schools affected by the proposed change, and with the wider community, before any final decision is made.

A good overview of this process is available in the booklet Building Effective Schooling Networks [PDF, 1.1 MB]. This booklet was developed in collaboration with teacher unions and the New Zealand School Trustees Association, and published in 2013. Since this booklet was published we have been continuing to refine and improve our processes, with a particular focus on providing better information to schools and their communities.

As agreed with sector groups, following the passing of the Education (Update) Amendment Bill the Ministry is convening a Sector Working Group to review our guidance for processes for school closures and mergers. This Group will take into consideration the changes to legislation and the growing role of Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako. We will keep the page updated as we go through that process.

Information about changes to schooling provision in areas of population change is available in the regional sections below.


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