What boards do

Learn about a board’s responsibilities and access links to the legislation that governs a board’s activities.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


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

The board's core role is to govern its school (or schools, if it governs more than one). Schools help students achieve and succeed to the best of their ability and boards have specific responsibilities under the Education and Training Act 2020, as well as other Acts and legislation, to help them do this. 

Board roles and responsibilities 

Every state and state-integrated school or kura in New Zealand has a board. Boards govern and manage their school or kura and every member is equally accountable for every board action and decision.

Governance of a school/kura includes things such as:

  • setting the strategic direction and targets for the school/kura
  • planning towards and reporting on achieving those targets
  • curriculum management
  • financial and property management
  • policies and procedures
  • health and safety
  • employment of staff at the school or kura.

Boards also have to prepare and maintain a school charter that sets out their accountabilities to the government and their community and includes their annual targets and goals for the next three to five years.

The board employs the school’s principal to oversee the day-to-day management of the school, and the principal follows the direction of the board to ensure the school’s goals are met.

Board members should be objective in their governance of their school, protect the interests of all students, and work together for the benefit of all students.

The decisions of a board are made according to the Education and Training Act 2020 and within a framework of policies and procedures that the board is responsible for developing and implementing.


Boards have specific responsibilities under the Education and Training Act 2020, as well as other Acts and legislation.

The Education and Training Act 2020 replaced the Education Act 1989.

Education and Training Act 2020 – NZ Legislation(external link)

In particular:

Other legislation

Education (Board Elections) Regulations 2000 – NZ Legislation(external link)

Education (School Boards) Regulations 2020 – NZ Legislation(external link)

Children’s Act 2014 – NZ Legislation(external link)

Health & Safety at Work Act 2015 – NZ Legislation(external link)

Employment Relations Act 2000 – NZ Legislation(external link)

Building Act 2004 – NZ Legislation(external link)

Resource Management Act 1991 – NZ Legislation(external link)

Public Works Act 1981 – NZ Legislation(external link)

Ministry guidance to support legislation

Food Act 2014: Food safety for schools and kura

Children’s Act 2014: Requirements for schools and kura

Consulting on school rules

School boards are able to make bylaws (school rules) for your school.

Under the Education and Training Act 2020, your school board is required to consult with its staff, its students (to the extent that the board considers appropriate) and the school community when making new school rules or amending current ones.

Resources for boards

We have resources for boards to help with their day-to-day running of school network processes and procedures. These resources include templates, guidance and forms.

Tools for schools

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