Stand-downs, suspensions, exclusions and expulsions guidelines – Part 1

About the guidelines

These guidelines:

  • are designed to assist school boards, principals, and teachers with their legal options and duties and meet their obligations under relevant statutory requirements, and
  • are for use in all state and state-integrated schools.

Independent schools may also wish to adopt this guide.

Please note:  The Education and Training Act 2020 has replaced the Education Act 1989.  Any references to the Education Act 1989 in the Stand-downs, Suspensions, Exclusions and Expulsions (SEEE) Guidelines should be replaced with the relevant sections in the new Education and Training Act 2020. In Part 1, this includes replacing the sections of the Act in Appendix 1: The Education Act 1989 and Appendix 2: Education (Stand-down, Suspension, Exclusion and Expulsion) Rules 1999. In Part 2, this includes replacing the sections of the Act in the letters in the Appendix in the Good Practice Guidelines.

The Guidelines comprise:

Part 1 – Legal options and duties [PDF, 2.4 MB]

Part 2 – Good practice [PDF, 2.4 MB]

These guidelines replace those published by the Ministry of Education in June 2004 and the 2007 Supplement. The paragraphs have been numbered for ease of use and reference. Cross references to Part 2 – Good practice are given where relevant.

Appendix 1: The Education and Training Act 2020

Sections 78–88 of the  Education and Training Act 2020 provide the framework for stand-downs, suspensions, exclusions and expulsions. [Refer Appendix 2, which contains these sections] However, they need to be considered in the context of the broader philosophy of education, as expressed in other sections of the Act. The main references are:

(a) Right to education

Section 33 of the Act states that all New Zealanders are entitled to free enrolment and free education at any state school from the age of five until the end of the year in which they turn 19. This is subject to provisions arising from approved enrolment schemes and integration agreements.

(b) National education guidelines

Section 60A of the Education Act 1989 empowers the Minister of Education to publish statements of desirable achievements by the school system (National Education Goals) and desirable principles of conduct or administration (National Administration Guidelines). Boards of state schools are required to help all students realise their full potential by providing appropriate learning programmes and addressing barriers to learning and individual needs while respecting cultural differences.

(c) Right to counselling

Section 103 requires all principals of state schools to take all reasonable steps to ensure that all students get good guidance and counselling.

(d) Obligation to parents

Section 103 requires all principals of state schools to take all reasonable steps to ensure that parents are told of matters which, in the principal’s opinion, are preventing or slowing the student’s progress through school or are harming the student’s relationships with teachers or other students.