Developing STAR policy and procedures

This guidance supports schools to make appropriate use of their STAR funding.

Level of complianceMain audienceOther


  • Boards
  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • Teachers and Kaiako
  • Parents, Caregivers and Whānau
  • External STAR Providers

As a condition of accessing STAR funding, schools must develop appropriate policies and procedures for the use of the funds.

STAR objectives

The key 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.

Developing a STAR operational policy

The Curriculum Leader or STAR Coordinator ensures that the school has STAR operational policies and procedures, and formally reviews them at least every two years in consultation with the Principal.

Policies and procedures should align with other secondary-tertiary initiatives including Gateway and Secondary-Tertiary programmes (STPs), for example Trades Academies.

STAR operational policies and procedures must include statements:

  • delegating responsibility for day-to-day financial administration to the STAR Coordinator (if responsibility has been delegated): this may be included in a school board's broader finance policy document
  • outlining accounting processes: this may be included in a board's broader finance policy document
  • stipulating what STAR funding can be spent on.

They may also include statements about:

  • how the STAR funded courses contribute to achieving the school's strategic plan
  • what the school will target, how the money will be used, and how expenditure aligns with the STAR objectives
  • how students' needs will be identified and used to inform decisions about STAR-funded courses
  • the school's expectations of external providers and students participating in STAR-funded courses
  • consent, attendance, and health and safety requirements for off-site learning
  • requirements for reporting to the school board, including financial reporting and outcomes for students.

Schools cannot always predict student needs, what the external providers will do, or how the needs of local businesses may change. Therefore, it is recommended that a school’s STAR procedures provide information about:

  • where to find data about students’ needs
  • what to do if a student withdraws from a course and is not entitled to a refund
  • what to do if a course does not meet quality expectations
  • how to ensure courses are responsive to student, community and local-industry needs
  • how to review performance.
  • how to ensure a STAR course is part of a student’s coherent learning programme linked to the Vocational Pathways

When developing a STAR operational policy, schools should consult the entire staff, students, parents or caregivers, and providers.

The national objectives for STAR should be central to developing a school’s STAR policy. Seek input from the wider school community to identify:

  • students who may benefit by a STAR course or activity
  • how to respond to new needs and opportunities as they arise.

Course criteria

STAR courses should:

  • include work-based learning if possible 
  • lead towards, but not explicitly include, the achievement of NCEA and other qualifications on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework 
  • support students transition to further education, training or employment 
  • be quality-assured and meet the needs of the student 
  • be a component within a student’s coherent learning programme within a vocational pathway.

Course delivery

STAR funding can be used for a range of educational opportunities, including industry training, academic courses, introductory courses, and general courses on topics such as first aid or driver’s licence.

Schools can offer STAR-funded courses on-site, off-site, or a combination of both.

Schools can purchase course materials and assessors from an external provider while supervising students themselves, or they may pay an external provider to come into their school to provide tuition.

Schools can engage organisations such as local employers to provide work-based learning. A memorandum of understanding outlining the expectations, roles, and outcomes must be signed by the school and the organisation.

Partnerships with external providers using the STAR funding

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