Board objectives and code of conduct

Information on the objectives for school boards in governing a school and the code of conduct for board members.

Level of complianceMain audienceOther


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

School boards play a central role in the educational achievement of children and young people. Under the Education and Training Act 2020, the objectives for boards have been amended. Please note, the objectives relating to giving effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi do not come into effect until 1 January 2021.

Board objectives 

Under section 127(1) of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link), which was enacted on 1 August 2020, the primary objectives of a school board have been amended. There are now four primary objectives, to help boards focus on what matters most for learners and their whānau.

A board’s primary objectives in governing a school are to ensure that:

(a) every student at the school is able to attain their highest possible standard in educational achievement; and
(b) the school–

(i) is a physically and emotionally safe place for all students and staff; and
(ii) gives effect to relevant student rights set out in this Act, the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, and the Human Rights Act 1993; and
(iii) takes all reasonable steps to eliminate racism, stigma, bullying, and any other forms of discrimination within the school; and

(c) the school is inclusive of, and caters for, students with differing needs; and
(d) the school gives effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, including by–

(i) working to ensure that its plans, policies, and local curriculum reflect local tikanga Māori, mātauranga Māori, and te ao Māori; and
(ii) taking all reasonable steps to make instruction available in tikanga Māori and te reo Māori; and
(iii) achieving equitable outcomes for Māori students.

To meet the primary objectives, the board must:

(a) have particular regard to the statement of national education and learning priorities issued under section 5; and
(b) give effect to its obligations in relation to–

(i) any foundation curriculum statements, national curriculum statements, and national performance measures; and
(ii) teaching and learning programmes; and
(iii) monitoring and reporting students’ progress; and

(c) perform its functions and exercise its powers in a way that is financially responsible; and
(d) if the school is a member of a community of learning that has a community of learning agreement under clause 2 of Schedule 5, comply with its obligations under the agreement; and
(e) comply with all of its other obligations under this or any other Act.

Code of conduct for board members

The Education and Training Act 2020 enables the Minister of Education to issue a code of conduct for all members of state and state-integrated school boards.

The Ministry of Education will be engaging with key stakeholders on developing a proposed draft code of conduct and expects to report back to the Minister on this in late 2020. A draft code of conduct is expected to be released for public consultation in early 2021 and the code issued by the end of 2021 to take effect for incoming boards of trustees in mid-2022.

Guidance will be developed for the sector on ways the code of conduct can support board operations and the process for addressing breaches to the code.

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