School decapitation

When a school is established, it has a particular range of classes for which it may provide. Primary schools are usually established as contributing schools Year 1-6 or as full primary schools Year 1-8.

The board of trustees of a full primary school may request the Minister of Education to change the school to a contributing school. This is known as decapitation. Such a change would take place under section 150 of the Education Act 1989 (the Act), following an application submitted by the board (or the proprietor for an integrated school) to the Ministry of Education. Consultation about such a change is required by section 157 of the Act.

What to think about

  • Why would we want to make this change?
  • What are the educational benefits for students that we'd hope to achieve?
  • Do the parents of our students support the change?
  • Will all students have easy access to alternative Year 7 and 8 education?

What you should do

  • Contact your local Ministry of Education office for an application form and information about the process.
  • Consult the school community about the possible change and its implications for students.
  • Consult the staff of the school about the proposal and what it would mean for employees of the board of trustees.
  • Inform schools where the roll might be affected by the change and invite comment.
  • Keep documentation of all your consultation actions and responses.

Local Ministry office

Other relevant information

If the decapitation is approved, the board may need to develop a rationalisation plan for any surplus school property and this would have to be discussed with your local Ministry of Education office.

Local Ministry office

The process of change

You'll need to send an application to the Ministry by 1 April of the year before you wish to implement the change to ensure that all the necessary processes can be completed in time for the start of the new school year. In the application you should state your board’s preferred date for the change to come into effect.

If your application is approved, the board (and proprietor for state integrated schools) will receive a letter informing them of the Minister’s decision. This letter will state the start date for the recapitation.

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