Refreshing The New Zealand Curriculum

The New Zealand Curriculum is being refreshed to make sure it is bicultural, inclusive, clear and easy to use – so that every ākonga can learn, develop and make progress in the things that really matter to them now and for their future.

The refresh will be phased over five years, to help to make it more manageable for schools to implement the refreshed curriculum. Schools, ākonga and whānau will be supported through the change. 

Refreshing The New Zealand Curriculum: Curriculum Voices Group – NZC hui at Pipitea Marae, April 2021

Watch the English video with NZ Sign Language translator(external link)

What's happening and when?

During 2021–2025, The New Zealand Curriculum will be refreshed in a phased approach. We’ll make sure our teachers and leaders have the supports they need to successfully implement the updated curriculum.

The curriculum framework will be updated so it is bicultural and inclusive, including a refreshed Vision for Young People.

Learning areas will be refreshed, starting with including the new Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories content within the refreshed Social Sciences learning area, ready for schools to use in 2022. English, Mathematics and Science will follow and be ready for use in 2023, then Health and PE, Learning Languages, Technology and The Arts in 2024.

Each refreshed learning area will include a purpose statement linked to the updated vision, outline the learning that can’t be left to chance (Understand, Know, Do) and what progress in that learning looks like.

Mātauranga Māori, key competencies and literacy and mathematics, as foundational learning, will be explicitly woven throughout.

The draft curriculum content for Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories shows what changes to The New Zealand Curriculum might look like, including the Understand, Know, Do model and a new progression framework. These models aren’t set in stone – we are asking you what you think of them and the curriculum content.

Read the Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories: NZ Curriculum draft for consultation(external link)

The curriculum will be digitised and accessible through the new Online Curriculum Hub that will replace Te Kete Ipurangi.

It will support schools to design high-quality local curriculum that strikes a balance between the learning that is important nationally and learning that reflects the rohe.

The refreshed curriculum will support the right of all ākonga, including those with disabilities and learning support needs, to experience rich and responsive learning.

In 2021 we will:

  • refresh the overall framework so it is bicultural, inclusive, clear and easy to use, with a refreshed Vision for Young People
  • update and refresh the Social Sciences learning area, which will include the new Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories curriculum content
  • continue to progress the development a record of learning as a tool for ākonga, parents, whānau and teachers to understand progress. This will include ensuring we understand the needs of ākonga, whānau and teachers
  • continue to develop a curriculum progress map that will sit within the record of learning.

From 2021, school boards are required to have plans, policies and local curriculum that reflect local tikanga, mātauranga Māori and te ao Māori.

The work we are doing to refresh The New Zealand Curriculum and support its implementation will help schools to meet this requirement and the requirements of the National Education and Learning Priorities.

The Statement of National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP)

Who's involved?

Since 2019, when Minister Hipkins first signalled the need for change, the Ministry has been working with people from the education sector and wider communities to understand how to make improvements to the national curriculum that will ensure our students succeed. We will draw on this knowledge as well as other expertise to co-design curriculum content at all stages of the refresh and our wider curriculum work programme.

Over the next five years we will be setting up a number of collaborative groups to work with us on this curriculum change.

The Curriculum Voices Group ─ NZC: This group of around 60 people provides diverse perspectives and feedback on design, development, and implementation of the refreshed curriculum, as well as on wider initiatives to support teaching and learning. It gives guidance and recommendations on the support teachers, leaders, learners and whānau will need.

Writing Groups: These small groups design and produce curriculum content, along with supports for implementation. We started with Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories and in 2021 we have set up a writing group for the Social Sciences learning area. Schools will also be called on to join the Social Sciences Writing Group as ‘fast-testers’.

Working groups: These small groups work with us to design and produce specific content or resources. The first of these, the Bicultural and Inclusive Framework Working Group, ensures that the refreshed NZC is bicultural, inclusive and values the identities, languages and cultures of all learners. It works together with content writers to ensure coherence across the entire curriculum.

Review and testing: There will be opportunities for schools, ākonga, whānau and communities to be involved in reviewing or testing draft content. We’ll update our website and social media to let you know when you can get involved.

Read about who we're working with

If you have questions or comments about refreshing The New Zealand Curriculum, want to get involved or be updated on opportunities to have a say, email us at nationalcurriculum.refresh@education.govt.nz

Other changes that strengthen The New Zealand Curriculum

Refreshing the national curriculum is part of a range of initiatives to support teaching and learning. They include:

  • new curriculum lead roles at the Ministry’s frontline to support leaders and teachers in the use of the national curriculum and to design their marau ā-kura and local curriculum
  • the changes to support Tau Mai Te Reo, the Māori Language in Education strategy, by providing more clarity for teachers in the teaching of te reo Māori
  • key strategic shifts to strengthen the teaching of literacy and mathematics for ākonga.

Literacy and Maths strategy development in 2021(external link)

Supports for teachers

It’s essential that we make sure teachers have the right tools and know how to put the curriculum in place.

The phased approach over five years will help to make it more manageable for teachers and leaders to implement the refreshed curriculum.

New resources will be developed to support teaching and learning, including leadership guidance and sets of teaching and learning materials for teachers.

Curriculum leads will support leaders and teachers to use the refreshed national curriculum and to design their marau ā-kura and local curriculum.

In 2020, new priorities for regionally-allocated professional learning and development were implemented to support teachers to provide responsive and rich learning experiences for all ākonga.

Read the priorities for regionally-allocated PLD(external link)

Strengthened Networks of Expertise will also provide vital support for teachers and leaders. Collaborative inquiry is one of the most powerful ways to influence change and practices that best support teaching and learning. Positive change can come about for individual learners, their communities and at a system level.

Read about Networks of Expertise(external link)

Information for whānau

Information on the curriculum refresh for whānau in English

Information on the curriculum refresh for whānau in Te Reo Māori

Information on the curriculum refresh for whānau in Chinese

Information on the curriculum refresh for whānau in Cook Islands Māori

Information on the curriculum refresh for whānau in Hindi

Information on the curriculum refresh for whānau in Korean

Information on the curriculum refresh for whānau in Niuean

Information on the curriculum refresh for whānau in Samoan

Information on the curriculum refresh for whānau in Tokelau

Information on the curriculum refresh for whānau in Tongan

More information and how to get involved

If you have any questions or suggestions, or want to be involved, email:

nationalcurriculum.refresh@education.govt.nz

For more on literacy and maths check out the Literacy and Maths strategy development in 2021 page: 

Literacy and Maths strategy development in 2021(external link)

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