Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource (STAR)

Learn more about the funding, which assists schools to provide students with relevant, coherent learning experiences aligned with the Vocational Pathways.

Level of complianceMain audienceOther


  • Boards
  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • Parents, Caregivers and Whānau
  • Teachers and Kaiako

STAR is an operational funding grant to be managed by school boards. A principal is then responsible for delivering the program and the STAR coordinator or curriculum leader monitors day-to-day programme operations. 

Objectives of STAR

The objectives of STAR are to:

  • provide flexible funding for courses which will better respond to students’ needs, motivate them to achieve, and facilitate their smooth transition to further education, training or employment
  • support students to explore career pathways and help them make informed decisions about their schooling and future work or study.

STAR learning programmes

STAR should be seen in the context of the Youth Guarantee, which contains initiatives that aim to build the skills and core capabilities of young people.

Vocational Pathways – Youth Guarantee website(external link)

STAR is designed to support a coherent Vocational Pathways programme by enabling:

  • schools to form partnerships with tertiary education providers and employers to provide vocational education and work experience
  • student exploration of pathways to work or further education
  • engagement with learning by highlighting the relevance of learning to future employment or study
  • achievement of NCEA and tertiary qualifications on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.

Well-structured programmes reflect the goals in the following strategies:

The Māori education strategy: Ka Hikitia – Accelerating Success 2013–2017 [PDF, 2.2 MB]

The Pasifika Education Plan: 2013–2017 [PDF, 4.6 MB]

The Tertiary Education Strategy: 2014–2019 [PDF, 1.7 MB]

STAR funding

As with the other components of operational grant funding, schools have discretion in how STAR funding is used. However, it's expected that schools will seek to provide students with the range of learning experiences needed to support their engagement and achievement and successful transition to further study and employment.

STAR is an operational grant component, to be used on operational expenditure. Refer to your school’s accounting policies to determine the rules regarding operating and capital expenditure.

Operational funding rates

2015 STAR review

The information provided is primarily a resource for school curriculum leaders but includes information for:

  • external providers
  • school boards
  • principals
  • teachers
  • parents and caregivers.

We reviewed STAR and Gateway to make sure these longstanding programmes aligned with more recent initiatives such as Youth Guarantee, Trades Academies, and the Vocational Pathways.

The review found that the sector strongly supported both the STAR and Gateway programmes and flexibility being maintained within both programmes to meet student needs. 

As a result of the review the following actions were undertaken.

From the start of the 2015/16 the following were implemented:

  • improved STAR reporting by identifying students in Student Management Systems (SMS)
  • increased the average expected credit achievement student for Gateway from 10 to 20 credits but average credit expectations per student for STAR at 10 credits
  • promoted the alignment of STAR and Gateway to the Vocational Pathways
  • equalised the weightings for STAR funding between Year 11–13 with a higher weighting provided for students in Teen Parent Units.

For more information about the 2015 Review email:

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