Refreshing our national curriculum

We are going to refresh the national curriculum for schooling so it remains fit for purpose and is clearer about what our tamariki need to learn at school and kura.

What is happening

The national curriculum will be refreshed over the next five years, so it is bicultural, inclusive, and easier to use. It will also be clearer and more consistent for teachers and kaiako.  

In 2021, we’re going to work with you on the new framing of both Te Marautanga o Aotearoa and the New Zealand Curriculum to ensure they are clear what our tamariki need to learn to be successful now and in the future. 

An example is the recently announced draft curriculum content for Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories and Te Takanga o Te Wā.

Further information on histories

We are committed to a collaborative process of co-design and will be seeking input from a diverse range of communities. We want you, the people of Aotearoa New Zealand, to have the chance to be involved in shaping our curriculum so that all our tamariki can see themselves in their learning and get the learning they need.

Associate Minister of Education, Jan Tinetti, outlines the benefits of the refresh in this video.


Associate Minister of Education, Jan Tinetti video transcript

Tēnā koutou katoa

We signalled back in September 2019 that we were working on improving the national curriculum for schooling, Te Marautanga o Aotearoa and The New Zealand Curriculum. I’m excited to announce today the process and timing for updating the curriculum over the next five years, beginning with Aotearoa New Zealand’s Histories.

I know parents want more certainty about what their tamariki will learn in schools and kura, and that the curriculum should also focus on wellbeing, identity, language and culture.

Learners want to learn from a curriculum that is meaningful to them and their whānau.

Teachers want to be clear about what their students need to learn, how they are making progress, their strengths and where support is needed. A record of learning that travels with students will capture this information consistently.

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 really understand how to make the improvements we need to ensure our students succeed. 

We’ve been looking carefully at the current curriculum in order to be clearer about the knowledge, skills and capabilities learners need to progress through their schooling.

While COVID impacted progress in 2020, we have been able to build momentum with implementing professional learning development priorities to better support schools to develop their local curriculum. We have also established curriculum leads to strengthen curriculum support at the Ministry’s frontline. These roles will start to work in schools in term 2 this year. 

In 2021, we’re going to work with the sector on the new framing of both Te Marautanga o Aotearoa and The New Zealand Curriculum to ensure that it’s clear what our learners need to know, understand and do in order to be successful now and in the future. 

An example of the proposed changes to the national curriculum can be seen in the draft curriculum content for Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories and Te Takanga o te Wa. This year draft content is being trialled so it is ready to be taught in schools in 2022.

Alongside the curriculum changes, the Ministry has been working with educators, whānau and young people about a more holistic approach to a record of learning that will travel with learners throughout their learning. A digital record of learning will be collaborated generated so that parents, whānau and teachers have a comprehensive tool to understand progress. This will start with a focus on literacy, numeracy, social wellbeing, te reo matatini, pāngarau and He Tamaiti Hei Raukura. Trialling will begin later in 2021.

During 2021-25, we will be strengthening Te Marautanga o Aotearoa in partnership with whānau, hapū and iwi will continue to ensure marau ā-kura reflects the vision and aspirations that whānau have for their tamariki to form the basis of their marau ā-kura. This means Te Marautanga o Aotearoa will recognise a broader definition of success and equip all learners with the essential knowledge, skills and values to operate confidently in te ao Māori and the wider world.

The important shift for Te Marautanga o Aotearoa is to address equity, trust and coherence through integration of He Tamaiti Hei Raukura as the underpinningframework that recognises tamariki and rangatahi as uri whakahere (as a descendant), tangata (as a person), puna kōrero (as a communicator), and as an ākonga (as a learner). Te Marautanga o Aotearoa will continue to embody te ao Māori and will be strengthened to reflect a more authentic and indigenous curriculum. 

Learners and whānau will, therefore, be able to see themselves reflected in their learning and future pathways.

For The New Zealand Curriculum, during 2021-25 we will refresh each learning area and develop supports to ensure effective implementation. We’ll be working to reduce the large number of achievement objectives we have in the current curriculum and develop a smaller number of progress statements to make sure our learners are reaching the milestones they need to. This year we will start with the social sciences learning area in order to support the implementation of the Aotearoa NZ histories in 2022.

We will design a truly connected curriculum by bringing together the key competencies with the learning areas. Up until now, teachers have been left to navigate the key competencies, bringing them to life within learning areas. Our refreshed New Zealand curriculum will bring these together, making it easier for teachers and engaging for learners.

We need our curriculum to be clear and support the design of high quality marau ā-kura and local curriculum – striking a balance between the learning that is important nationally and learning that reflects the rohe.

I know we need to support teachers to successfully put these changes in place. That’s why we’re committed to a collaborative process of co-design.

Some of you will be very keen for more detail on all the changes we are making and how you can be involved. You can get more information for each curriculum on the Ministry website. There’s plenty more detail of what will be reviewed and when, so keep checking back as we progress. You’ll also be able to have your say there.

During my time in education, my work in dual medium schools gave me an understanding of the changes needed in the curriculum. I agree with the need for change and am eager to support a refreshed Aotearoa New Zealand curriculum that is bicultural, easier to use and ensures clarity and consistency for our teachers.

 So, exciting times ahead and a lot of work to do! I know student success is at the heart of why teachers come to work every day. We can’t do this without you!

What is the national curriculum for schooling?

The national curriculum is a taonga that guides and shapes the learning of every school and kura.

Kaiako and teachers weave together the national curriculum with local contexts and the diverse aspirations of tamariki and their whānau to develop their learning programmes.

The national curriculum for schooling includes: 

Why is the national curriculum being refreshed?

Over the past two years we’ve invited feedback on the national curriculum from educators, tamariki, parents and whānau. Here’s what you’ve told us:

  • Parents and whānau want more certainty about what their tamariki will learn in schools and kura, and that the curriculum should also focus on wellbeing, identities, language and culture
  • Tamariki want to learn from a curriculum that is meaningful to them and their whānau
  • Teachers and parents want to be clear about what their tamariki need to learn, how they are making progress, their strengths and where support is needed
  • We need our curriculum to strike a balance between learning that is important nationally and learning that is relevant locally.  

More information on what is happening, why we are doing this and the kete of supports for teaching and learning is available at:

Timeline for the refresh

The refresh of the national curriculum will be phased over five years and will be completed by 2025.

Support for schools and kura

It’s essential that teachers and kaiako have the right tools and know how to implement the refreshed curriculum.

An extensive package of supports, including professional development, will be designed in collaboration with educators so that teachers can successfully put the changes in place.

The refreshed curriculum alongside high-quality and relevant resources for teaching and learning will be located on the Online Curriculum Hub replacing Te Kete Ipurangi (TKI), and an enhanced Kauwhata Reo. These will make it easier to use and share resources to teach the curriculum.

Tamariki and whānau

Tamariki are at the heart of why we are refreshing the national curriculum. Their voice and diverse needs and aspirations will inform the refreshed curriculum, providing every opportunity for their success, now and in the future. Whānau and iwi are also valued as important contributors to what schools and kura need to achieve for their children.

More information and how to get involved

Curriculum Refresh for Clearer, More Relevant Learning | Beehive.govt.nz(external link)

National Curriculum Refresh information release

More information about refreshing the New Zealand Curriculum

More information about refreshing Te Marautanga o Aotearoa(external link)

If you have any questions or suggestions, or want to be involved, email us at nationalcurriculum.refresh@education.govt.nz

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