Roll returns (monitoring)

Submitting accurate roll returns to the Ministry is a legal requirement, and they may be audited. Here’s how to prepare them, and which students to include for resourcing.

The purpose of roll returns

Roll returns are statistical collections from all schools in New Zealand as at 1 March, 1 June, 1 July and 1 September each year.

  • Roll returns for all students are taken on 1 March and 1 July. 
  • Roll returns for years 9 to 15 students are also taken on 1 June and 1 September.

Roll returns are generated from the school’s Student Management System (SMS).

Preparing an accurate roll return

Roll returns must be accurate. Schools must keep documentation to support the information provided in the roll return for audit purposes. Boards must check the eligibility status of all students before enrolment and declare them correctly on roll returns.

Find full details about roll returns and detailed instructions on how to complete them in the annual School Roll Return Guidelines (external link) .

The basic requirements for students to be included on a roll return

For a student to be included on a roll return, they must be enrolled for tuition, meet the eligibility criterion of being a domestic student, and attend the school for tuition on the date of the roll count.

Students who are absent on the day of the roll count may only be included if they meet the criteria detailed in the Ministry’s circular 2013/07 Auditing of Roll Returns: 1 March and 1 July.


Counting absent students on the roll return

Further information regarding the requirements for including students on roll returns is available in circular 2013/07 Auditing Roll Returns.

Marking your roll for resourcing purposes

Include the following students on the roll return for resourcing purposes

Absent students

  • Students absent on the roll count date, but only if the absence is temporary and the student returns to school after the roll count date. 
  • Students who are temporarily overseas, provided that the school has documentary evidence they intend to return to the school, and they are away for no longer than 15 consecutive weeks in the current school year.
  • Students who are stood down or suspended, but only where the stand-down or suspension will finish during the current school year. The school needs documentary evidence to show that it is actively involved in returning the student to the school.

Students with health needs

  • Students with high health needs who have been admitted to the roll of a regional health school, provided that the school has a letter from the regional health school that confirms the student’s admission to their roll.
  • Students attending a health camp, but only where the school has documentary evidence from the health camp verifying the student’s acceptance of a place at the camp for a specific period.

Students attending more than one school

  • Students who attend more than one school are counted on the roll of the school where the majority of the instruction occurs. They must also be enrolled on ENROL at the school where most of their instruction occurs. However, boards of trustees may exchange resources to compensate for the time a student spends at another school.

International exchange students

  • International exchange students who are in New Zealand at the time of completing the roll return, but if both parties to the exchange are attending the school on the count date, only one student may be counted.

Students attending activity centres

  • Students attending an activity centre, but only where the school has copies of the activity centre’s attendance record provided on a monthly basis, verifying that the student has been attending for tuition.

Students attending STPs

  • Students attending secondary tertiary programmes (STPs), but only where the correct full-time equivalent (FTE) calculation has been made. For further information, see the annual School Roll Return Guidelines.

Do not include the following students on the roll return for resourcing purposes

Students arriving or leaving and meeting these conditions

  • Students who have enrolled at the school but have not had their first day of attendance for tuition on or before the roll count date.
  • Students who have changed schools cannot be included on 2 different school rolls. Attendance for tuition on the roll count date at a school is the essential criterion.
  • Students who have had their last day of attendance for tuition prior to the roll count date, including students that are going through the school’s leaving process and may not have enrolled with another school.

Students travelling

  • Students who are temporarily overseas for more than 15 consecutive weeks.

International students

  • International fee-paying students.

Students out of school

  • Students who are in an alternative education (AE) programme.
  • Students who are being home schooled. 
  • Students who were excluded before the roll count date.

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