Dental clinics at schools

Find out about the types of dental clinic arrangements and which agreements cover them.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Boards
  • Proprietors
  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • Dental Clinic(s)
  • Property Managers
  • Local Council

If you have, or may have, a dental clinic or oral health service at your school this guidance will support your board to enter into an appropriate occupancy arrangement. 


Te Whatu Ora provides oral health services at many schools. You might have a permanent clinic at your school, one that is built by Te Whatu Ora, or one that is run by a private contractor.

Any arrangement is covered by a Standard Lease Agreement between you, the board, and Te Whatu Ora.

There are two standard agreements:

1. The standard lease for a fixed dental clinic and the mobile unit with a permanent site at your school.
2. A Casual Use agreement.

Types of dental clinic arrangements

There are different arrangements for dental clinics (or oral health services).

Examples of these are:

  • fixed dental clinic, either owned by us or Te Whatu Ora
  • mobile unit with a permanent site at your school
  • mobile dental unit with no permanent pad, known as a level one dental unit
  • mobile dental unit run by a private contractor.

Clinics covered by the Ministry’s standard lease agreement

  • An existing clinic that is owned by the Ministry of Education.
  • A clinic or oral health centre that is built and owned by Te Whatu Ora.
  • A mobile unit that is operating on a pad that is specifically for the mobile unit.

If you require a new lease for a dental clinic, refer to Lease agreements and application process, to make a third party occupancy application by submitting the relevant forms. This lease will be prepared by the Ownership & Occupancy Team in National Office and is coordinated by your School Property Advisor.

Knowing the standard lease

These are some of the key terms of the standard lease.

Te Whatu Ora is responsible for all costs of the clinic, including:

  • maintenance and upgrades
  • rates and charges for water, gas, electricity and telephone
  • insurance costs
  • cleaning
  • maintaining the grounds and car parks.

Other information:

  • Te Whatu Ora must get your and our consent before doing any building work
  • the lease can be ended by Te Whatu Ora giving 6 months’ notice, or if the school closes but you cannot evict Te Whatu Ora
  • if Te Whatu Ora owns the dental clinic and wants to end the lease,Te Whatu Ora must remove the building or give up its ownership
  • if your school shares facilities with Te Whatu Ora, then you share the operating costs.

Changing the standard lease is not allowed

You cannot change the lease. You can use Schedule C of the lease to cover practical things, such as:

  • access to toilets for clinic staff
  • access to the clinic
  • parking
  • security.

Download Schedule C [DOCX, 15 KB]

You must agree to these things with Te Whatu Ora before you submit your Application for Approval in Principle.

Building work

Te Whatu Ora may want to do building work on the clinic.

This could be:

  • refurbishing a clinic
  • building a new clinic
  • building a pad for a mobile unit.

Before any building work is started, a consented lease must be in place between the school and Te Whatu Ora.

Te Whatu Ora must comply with our Property design standards and legal requirements for any building work on school sites.

Insurance for building work 

Te Whatu Ora is responsible for getting insurance for the time of the building work. This includes public risk liability insurance and contract works and professional indemnity insurance.

Mobile unit with no permanent pad

A mobile unit with no permanent place at your school is called a Level One Dental Unit. A Level One Unit is used for X-Rays and some treatments, but not for drilling and filling. They are parked at the school for a few days a year.

This arrangement is covered by a Dental clinics casual use licence [DOCX, 35 KB]. This license can be negotiated with the school board

It includes arrangements for:

  • access to the school for staff working at the unit.

It can include arrangements for:

  • electricity and water supply.

Once it is signed, ensure that copies are sent to and one is kept at your school.

Mobile unit run by a private contractor

Te Whatu Ora contracts private providers for dental services. These private contractors supply all their own equipment and work from mobile units. This arrangement is covered by a Dental clinics casual use licence [DOCX, 35 KB].

This license cannot be changed. It allows you to charge a fee of $10.00, but you cannot charge any other rent or payments.

Once it is signed, ensure that copies are sent to and one is kept at your school.

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