The Education and Training Bill: Information for parents, whānau and students

The Education and Training Bill aims to give all learners a more high-quality, culturally responsive, seamless and inclusive education, from early learning, through schooling, and on into tertiary education, vocational training and employment. The Bill is not yet law.


The Bill is the biggest rewrite of education legislation in decades. Much of its content gives effect to the Government’s plans to transform the education system, following the Kōrero Mātauranga | Education Conversation and the Tomorrow’s Schools Taskforce report.

The Bill incorporates and replaces the Education Acts of 1964 and 1989, and also incorporates the Education (Pastoral Care) Amendment Act and the Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Bill which is currently before Parliament.

The Bill has been referred to the Education and Workforce Committee for public submissions. These close on 14 February 2020

Education and Workforce Committee – New Zealand Parliament (external link)

Proposed changes  

The proposed changes are designed to improve wellbeing, safety, inclusion and success for all our learners, and to give students, parents, families and whānau more say in education decisions that affect them. 

Early Childhood changes proposed in the Bill include:

  • New licencing requirements for new early learning service applications, which take into account the community’s need, the applicant’s character and the organisation’s financial position
  • Making it explicit that all adults who live in or are present in a home where home-based ECE is provided must undergo police vetting
  • Increased powers for the Education Review Office (ERO) to obtain information from early learning service providers’ parent entities, and to enter homes where early learning is taking place to review and evaluate curriculum delivery and health and safety performance. 

Compulsory Schooling changes include:

  • The Bill explicitly states the right of all enrolled students, including those with learning support needs and disabilities, to attend school fulltime
  • The Bill enables establishment of new local complaint and dispute panels to hear serious disputes that cannot be resolved with the school, relating to issues such as stand-downs, suspensions, exclusions and expulsions, learning support, racism and discrimination, physical and emotional safety, physical restraint, enrolment and attendance and the rights to education
  • An update to the way physical force is regulated in schools to make clear that physical force can be used, as a last resort, to keep students safe, with seclusion remaining prohibited
  • Revised objectives for school boards of trustees to include educational achievement, ensuring the physical and emotional safety of students and staff, ensuring that all schools are inclusive and cater for students with differing needs, and that boards give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
  • The requirement for school boards to give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi requires boards to work to ensure their plans, policies and local curriculum reflect local tikanga, mātauranga Māori and te reo Māori, take all reasonable steps to make instruction available in tikanga Māori and te reo Māori, and to achieve equitable outcomes for ākonga Māori
  • A requirement for school boards to consult their students (where appropriate), staff and school community when making rules
  • The Ministry of Education will take over the development of, and consultation on, enrolment schemes, taking a regional perspective based on community need. 

Supporting parents, whānau and students

The Government has agreed to establish a new Education Service Agency (ESA) as a part of a redesigned Education Ministry.

The primary purpose of the ESA will be to deliver more responsive, accessible and integrated frontline local support to meet the educational needs of students, parents, families and whānau, as well as educators and school leaders. 

The ESA is part of the Government’s response to feedback, from participants in the Korero Mātauranga | Education Conversation, and the report of the Tomorrow’s Schools Taskforce, on what needs to change in education. 

More information on this response can be found on the Kōrero Mātauranga | Education Conversation website.

Tomorrow's Schools Review – Kōrero Mātauranga | Education Conversation (external link)



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