School Opening Hours Regulations

Regulations for when state schools must be open

On 1 January 2023, the new Education (When State Schools Must Be Open) Regulations 2022 will come into force. These regulations will replace Schedule 21 of the Education and Training Act 2020. The Regulations are intended to be in place for 2023 while a law change is sought.

Education (When State Schools Must Be Open) Regulations 2022(external link)

Schedule 21 sets out when state school must be open.  It gives powers to the Minister of Education to set the length of the school year (minimum half-days) and terms, and to allow some exceptions. The full schedule was to be transferred into new regulations, as it will be repealed automatically on 1 January 2023.

During drafting of the regulations, a technical legal issue was identified which prevents the regulations from giving the Minister powers to set opening hours or make exceptions.

The Government intends to seek an amendment to the Education and Training Act in 2023 to address this technical issue. While this law change is sought, the Regulations are needed to set out minimum requirements for school opening hours after Schedule 21 is repealed. 

The Regulations will include the terms and minimum half-days that are already published for 2023 and 2024, which all State schools must follow.

While schools that are already allowed to open on a weekend or alternative terms can continue to do so in 2023, the Regulations do not include powers for the Minister to approve any additional schools to operate on the weekends or alternative terms. This is because historically schools and kura have been approved on a case-by-case basis to open on a weekend for a distinct purpose or at the time of State Integration. The three kura that operate alternative terms aligned to their Maramataka have been pilots and it is not operationally feasible in the short-term for the Ministry of Education to manage new schools and kura wanting to shift to alternative terms in 2023.

These Regulations will be amended after the Education and Training Act is changed to fix the technical legal issue.




21 November

Education (When State Schools Must Be Open) Regulations 2022

CAB-22-MIN-0486 [PDF, 1.1 MB]


15 November

Talking points for LEG: Education (When State Schools Must Be Open) Regulations 2022

1299618 [PDF, 123 KB]


21 September 2022

Education Report: Update on Opening Hours

1294565 [PDF, 593 KB]


Earlier decisions

1 July 20222

Regulations for When State Schools Must Be Open

CAB-22-MIN-0251 [PDF, 1 MB]

27 June 2022

Briefing Note: Cabinet paper on regulations for when State schools must open – Talking points for SWC

1290024 [PDF, 250 KB]

12 May 2022

Education Report: Regulations for when State schools must be open – draft Cabinet paper

1287250 [PDF, 199 KB]

4 May 2022

Education Report: Opening Hours Regulations for State Schools

1285968 [PDF, 389 KB]


Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback