Enrolment schemes roles and responsibilities

Enrolment schemes help by making use of all space available, balancing all students across all schools, and managing overcrowding.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Boards
  • Parents, Caregivers and Whānau 
  • Principals and Tumuaki

Boards have statutory responsibilities associated with developing and operating enrolment schemes. They are currently governed under ss11A-11Q of the Education Act 1989.  

Note: The Education and Training Act 2020 is making some changes to the way enrolment schemes are developed and operated. These changes will be in effect from 1 January 2021, and the advice on this page will be updated. Until the end of 2020, the enrolment scheme provisions in the Education Act 1989 (ss11A-11Q) still apply. For more information about the changes, see development and consultation of school enrolment schemes.

Parents and caregivers

Through your enrolment decisions, you play a crucial role in influencing whether schools are able to provide access to the education opportunities everyone expects for our children and young people.

Enrolment decisions should be based on fact, not perception. Acting on perceptions can result in uneven distribution of students across schools – resulting in the need for a change to a school, or group of schools in order to restore the balance.


Boards have obligations under section 11 of the Education Act 1989. Guidelines and instructions issued by the Secretary for Education also explain their responsibilities[1]. They should:

  • monitor their school rolls and capacity to manage the risk of overcrowding
  • develop an enrolment scheme to manage overcrowding, when directed by us to do so
  • ensure the development and operation of their enrolment scheme complies with the requirements of the Education Act 1989, and that formal consultation processes and pre-enrolment procedures such as balloting are fair, transparent and consistent
  • consider the type, roll size, capacity and location of other schools in the local network when developing an enrolment scheme proposal, and work with the boards of neighbouring schools to ensure a whole-of-network approach
  • ensure the community is aware of any enrolment scheme or change proposal so that everyone understands what the implications will mean for them, the school and the wider community.

The Ministry


We monitor enrolments and the space available across all schools to identify areas where any enrolment scheme might help reduce pressure.

  • We collect a range of demographic data from high and low growth areas.
  • We map it in relation to the whole network.
  • We want to get the balance right between resources and investment in areas of growth, and understand possible causes of enrolments slowing down in other areas.


We analyse enrolment figures, population projections, data for new housing, transport and road information, and the space available in schools, to understand where an enrolment scheme might be needed.

We provide the analysis to boards to help them explore options as they are developing their scheme, including where their home zone might be located.


We support boards in conversations with their communities about what has been happening at their school, help them prepare enrolment scheme proposals including home zone written descriptions and maps, and can assist when they hold their formal consultations. We also provide direct support to boards who might be experiencing other types of issues such as declining rolls and spare capacity.


We are responsible for enrolment scheme decisions such as whether one is required, can start to be developed, is approved, or needs to be reviewed or amended. When we make our decisions we always take a community-focused, network-wide approach. What is best for students and all schools underpins the decisions we make.


When an enrolment scheme is approved, we are available to help boards with any aspect of its implementation, including advising on any of its processes such as ballots, reviews and amendments.

[1] Education Act 1989, Part 2 Enrolment schemes, and suspension, expulsion, and exclusion of students, ss11A-11Q Enrolment schemes

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