Enrolment schemes roles and responsibilities

Enrolment schemes help by making use of all space available, balancing all students across all schools, and managing overcrowding.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Boards
  • Parents, caregivers and whānau 
  • Principals and tumuaki

Boards have statutory responsibilities associated with operating enrolment schemes. They are governed under sections 71-75 and schedule 20 of the Education and Training Act 2020.  

Sections 71-75 – New Zealand Legislation(external link)

Schedule 20 – New Zealand Legislation(external link)

Parents and caregivers

Through your enrolment decisions, you play a crucial role in influencing whether schools are able to provide access to the education opportunities everyone expects for our children and young people.

Enrolment decisions should be based on fact, not perception. Acting on perceptions can result in uneven distribution of students across schools, resulting in the need for a change to a school, or group of schools to restore the balance.


Boards have obligations under sections 71-75 and Schedule 20 of the Act. Guidelines and instructions issued by the Secretary for Education also explain their responsibilities. They should:

  • monitor their school rolls and capacity to manage the risk of overcrowding
  • implement an enrolment scheme developed by the Ministry to manage overcrowding, when directed by the Ministry to do so
  • ensure the implementation and operation of their enrolment scheme complies with the requirements of the Act, and that pre-enrolment procedures such as balloting are fair, transparent and consistent
  • work with the Ministry to ensure the community is aware of any enrolment scheme or change proposal so that everyone understands what the implications will mean for them, the school and the wider community.

The Ministry

We monitor

We monitor enrolments and capacity available across all schools to identify areas where any enrolment scheme might help reduce pressure.

  • We collect a range of demographic data from high and low growth areas.
  • We map it in relation to the whole network.
  • We want to get the balance right between resources and investment in areas of growth, and understand possible causes of enrolments slowing down in other areas.

We analyse

We analyse enrolment figures, population projections, data for new housing, transport and road information, and the capacity available in schools, to understand where an enrolment scheme might be needed.

We provide the analysis to boards to help them understand and form opinions on the options as we are developing their scheme, including how their home zone might be defined.

We support

We support boards in conversations with their communities about what has been happening at their school. We also provide direct support to boards who might be experiencing other types of issues such as declining rolls and spare capacity.

We make decisions

We are responsible for enrolment scheme decisions such as whether one is required, developing and consulting on it, reviewing it and amending it if necessary. When we make our decisions we always take a community-focused, network-wide approach. What is best for students and all schools underpins the decisions we make.

We help implement

When an enrolment scheme is finalised, we are available to help boards with any aspect of its implementation, including advising on any of its processes such as ballots, reviews and amendments.

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