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All schools should be great places to learn. We’re resetting the system that governs, manages, administers and supports schools so that all learners get the same chance to succeed.

All schools should be great places to learn. We’re resetting the system that governs, manages, administers and supports schools so that all learners have the same chance to succeed.

Thirty years ago, the Tomorrow’s Schools reforms changed New Zealand’s schooling system, creating a system intended to better engage parents, whānau and communities with their local schools.

While the current system has strengths, it is inadequately serving some of our learners, in particular Māori, Pacific, people with disabilities and/or learning needs and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Now, New Zealand has the opportunity to reset the education system with a greater level of resource and expertise at the front line where it is needed.

This reset is significant. Changes will require ongoing investment of time and resource, and will need to be managed in a coherent and connected way over the next ten years.

Key changes for schools and school administration

The reforms will reset the governance, management and administration of the schooling system – shifting from the highly devolved model we have today to a much more deliberately networked and supported system that is more responsive to the needs of learners/ākonga and their whānau.

Education Service Agency

The key changes for schools and school administration are centred on better support and capability building. A new Education Service Agency (ESA) will be established within a redesigned Ministry of Education, to provide better support to schools (and early learning services) and the learners/ākonga they serve.

The primary purpose of the ESA is to deliver more responsive, accessible, and integrated local support to schools, by delivering functions relevant to the needs of teachers, leaders, students, whānau and their wider communities, to support equity and excellence of learning outcomes.

Stronger school governance

Boards of Trustees (Boards) will retain their legal status and remain the employer of principals, however we’re making changes to better support and guide them in their governance role.

Going forward, we want to give schools and Boards relief from certain responsibilities (such as infrastructure management and maintenance, and developing enrolment schemes) to enable them more time to focus on their core role of teaching and learning.

To promote good governance that serves the interests of all learners/ākonga, we will also take steps to strengthen the capability of Boards and set clear expectations for their conduct by:

  • Setting out new primary objectives for Boards in their governance of schools, including giving effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi
  • Establishing disputes panels to address serious complaints that students and whānau have not been able to resolve with the school
  • Developing a mandatory code of conduct that sets out commonly held expectations for Board members
  • Assess the current training available to Boards and investigate whether training should be compulsory
  • Assess how to support greater Māori engagement in school governance. 

A more detailed overview of the changes to strengthen school governance is provided in the Boards of Trustees fact sheet.

Information for Boards of Trustees PDF 591KB

Developing School Leadership

The Government regards the principal role as demanding, complex, and critical to the success of a school. We want to ensure our school leaders are better supported and developed, and that the status of the role is elevated.

To achieve this we will:

  • Invite the Teaching Council to establish a Leadership Centre and provide the Ministry additional functions to build the status and capability of leaders and principals
  • Establish Leadership Advisor roles to provide greater localised support for principals
  • Establish minimum eligibility criteria for the appointment to school principal roles
  • Broaden incentives so we can attract highly capable principals to schools with more challenging needs.

A more detailed overview of the changes to strengthen school leadership is provided in the Principals and Leaders factsheet.

Information for Principals and Leaders PDF 540KB

What’s next?

The Government acknowledges that this is a significant change to further strengthen the education system. Changes related to governance and management of schools need to work in a complex system that also includes early learning and tertiary education.

They will require ongoing investment of time and resource, and will need to be managed in a coherent and connected way over the next ten years.

A detailed timeline can be found in Appendix 1 of the Government’s position document, Supporting all schools to succeed: Reform of the Tomorrow’s Schools system.

Full report: Supporting all schools to succeed: Reform of Tomorrow’s Schools system [PDF 2MB]

Download this page as a PDF

Information for schools and school administration PDF 612KB