Administering STAR funding

STAR funding is provided as a top-up to a school's entitlement staffing and per-pupil funding to best meet the Vocational Pathways programme needs of students. It is not intended to cover the full costs of STAR courses. Learn about administering the funding, on this page.

Level of complianceMain audienceOther


  • Administrators
  • Teachers and Kaiako
  • Parents, Caregivers and Whānau
  • Students
  • Boards
  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • STAR Service Providers

There are several statutory requirements that must be met when administering STAR funding. 

Statutory responsibilities


The informed consent of teachers and parents or caregivers is required before students can participate in a STAR funded course.

The consent process ensures all parties understand:

  • the reasons for placing the student in a STAR-funded course
  • how a course will benefit a student and meet their needs
  • how a course contributes to the Vocational Pathway of the student.

Consent for each event is not required, provided that:

  • the school has the consent of parents or caregivers for a student's participation in a STAR-funded course (one or more events)
  • parents, caregivers and whānau are provided with the required information about each event.

Staff responsible for STAR administration

A school may choose to appoint a STAR Coordinator to administer the use of STAR funding in the school. It would be appropriate for this person to report to the Senior Leader responsible for Curriculum in the school.

Attendance records

Students undertaking work experience are to be treated as if they're attending school and the school must take all reasonable steps to monitor and record attendance as required by appropriate regulations.

Section 53 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link)

Students can be released from school for STAR courses and are considered to be attending school while undertaking a STAR activity (sections 52(external link) and 53(external link) of the Education and Training Act 2020). Therefore schools retain responsibility for the enrolment and attendance of students attending STAR courses with outside providers.

External providers must keep attendance records and send them to the school, and the school and the provider must communicate about absences.

This arrangement must be clearly set out in the memorandum of understanding between the provider and the school.

Partnerships with external providers using the STAR funding

Education outside the classroom (EOTC) and health and safety

The primary purpose of the EOTC: Bringing the Curriculum Alive guidelines is to support teaching and learning of the New Zealand Curriculum or Te Marautanga o Aotearoa. However, the guidelines should be applied as a good-practice guide for STAR courses.

EOTC Guidelines: Bringing the Curriculum Alive – TKI website(external link)

A school's EOTC policy and procedures should also contain health and safety procedures applicable to STAR activities.

Under the Education and Training Act 2020, the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, and the Health and Safety in Employment Regulations 1995, boards are legally responsible for the students who take part in EOTC. The same statutory responsibilities apply to students undertaking STAR activities with external providers or in a workplace.

"While school boards have overall legal responsibility to provide a safe physical and emotional environments for students … they do not always have direct control over school-related activities. Where school management and staff take on active responsibility, they must exercise this responsibility with due care and within board policy. When an outside provider is contracted by the board, it is expected that the board will retain overall responsibility and accountability and plan accordingly."

EOTC Guidelines: Bringing the curriculum alive(external link)

As well as putting in place procedures to mitigate against risk of injury or damage, schools, providers and workplaces must have procedures to deal with any incidents that occur.

If an accident occurs during a STAR-funded event, a board may be held accountable whether the accident is caused by the actions or omissions of a teacher, outside helper, student, or commercial operator contracted by the board. Legal liability for an accident will depend on whether the board complied with its legal obligations when planning and carrying out a STAR funded course

The Curriculum Leader or STAR Coordinator must ensure:

  • external providers are aware of their responsibilities for students on their premises
  • external providers have adequate health and safety procedures in place
  • health and safety procedures are detailed in the memorandum of understanding.

While students are on work experience in a workplace, the primary responsibility for health and safety rests with the management of the workplace. Employment NZ provides guidance for employers who have people undertaking work experience in their workplace.

Employment NZ website(external link)

Work experience legislation

To comply with section 53 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link) the Curriculum Leader or STAR Coordinator must ensure that:

  • documentation of the work-experience practices is approved by the board (this can be part of the school’s EOTC policy)
  • schools gain consent from parents or caregivers for students to take part in STAR-funded courses 
  • the only cost, if any, charged to students or their families is for travel to and from a workplace
  • student attendance is monitored and recorded as if they are attending school 
  • students are not paid
  • students are not required to join or belong to a union
  • students will not undertake any work that is arduous or dangerous given their age or stage of development.

Developing STAR policy and procedures

The Curriculum Leader or STAR Coordinator must ensure there is an agreement between each participating student, the school, and the employer that covers:

  • the knowledge and skills that will be attained
  • the assessment method
  • the supervision that will be provided for the student
  • the student’s attendance hours in the workplace
  • which school rules and workplace rules will apply
  • procedures (if any) for early withdrawal from the work-based learning or work experience.

Partnerships with external providers using the STAR funding

Financial management

Day-to-day financial administration for STAR funding can be delegated in total to the Curriculum Leader or STAR Coordinator by the Principal. To ensure STAR funds are used appropriately:

  • the executive officer will have in place systems to easily identify how the funds are used
  • the STAR Coordinator is responsible for maintaining records for accountability purposes. Schools need to manage and monitor STAR-funded activities for audit purposes
  • a report on the use of the funds will be presented to the board as part of the STAR annual report.

The Curriculum Leader or STAR Coordinator is responsible for deciding the best use of the funding to meet each student’s Vocational Pathways programme needs. When STAR funding cannot meet all prioritised needs, the Coordinator will work with the Principal to find a suitable solution.

The Ministry of Education Funding, Staffing and Allowances Handbook, Appendix 2 to Chapter 1, sets out the funding formula. The funding rate is set out in Appendix 1, Operational Funding Rates, and is reviewed annually.

Operational funding rates

STAR Coordinators can request operational funding entitlement information from the principal, the executive officer, or accounts manager. STAR funding isn't intended to cover the full costs of STAR courses.

STAR funding is provided as a top-up to a school's entitlement staffing and per-pupil funding to best meet the Vocational Pathways programme needs of students.

Administration costs

Schools may not charge fees for any equipment (except any take-home component) or activity associated with STAR-funded courses.

If STAR funding is insufficient to cover the administrative cost of a course, schools are expected to contribute the balance from their remaining operational funding and staffing entitlement.


Each school must have a policy covering transport costs associated with STAR courses. The options for paying for transport costs include:

  • STAR funding
  • other operational grant funding.

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