Education and Training Amendment Act 2023

Issue: Volume 102, Number 13

Posted: 5 October 2023
Reference #: 1HAceB

The Education and Training Amendment Act makes important legislative changes for early learning services, schools, kura, the tertiary sector and wānanga.

Education and Training Act

The Education and Training Amendment Act became legislation on 22 August 2023.

For early childhood education, the Act allows the Ministry of Education to disclose service-level early childhood education data held by Stats NZ to support development of a new equity index for early childhood education.

The new equity index will enable equity funding to be better allocated to support children from low socio-economic backgrounds.

For early childhood education, the Act also clarifies police vetting of non-teaching employees and contractors by requiring employers to consider a police vet and assess any risk to children’s safety before an employee begins work or, in the case of a contractor, before they have unsupervised access to children.

When carrying out risk assessments based on police vets, ECE services will need to consider the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Education – these are available online.

For wānanga, the Act establishes an enabling governing framework for wānanga that better recognises the unique role that wānanga play in our tertiary education system and the Crown and wānanga Te Tiriti o Waitangi relationship.

Wānanga representatives were present at the passing of the legislation on 16 August 2023 to witness this significant action.

The Act clarifies police vetting for children's safety in early childhood education.

The Act clarifies police vetting for children's safety in early childhood education.

School boards and kura

Key Act changes for school boards and kura include strengthening school board eligibility requirements to ensure that a person convicted of an offence in Schedule 2 of the Children’s Act 2014 is ineligible to serve on a school board unless exempted by the Secretary for Education. 

Changes also include:

  • enable the Secretary for Education to conduct occasional audits on school board members to ensure eligibility requirements are being met
  • shift the next mid-term school board election back to November 2023, reverting to the usual timing of the mid-term elections
  • change the language in the board co-option criteria, including reflecting the genders, sexualities, and sexes of the school’s students and of the school community, and students with disabilities at the school and the school’s disabled community
  • allow schools to fill the student representative position on its board if a student is not elected in the September elections
  • ensure schools consider police vets for non-teaching and unregistered employees and contractors to assess risk to the safety of children, including the guidelines provided by the Ministry, before they begin work or, in the case of contractors, have unsupervised access to children
  • make a technical change to broaden regulation-making powers so the Minister can specify when schools may be open and closed by notice
  • separate the establishment provisions for Kura Kaupapa Māori and designated character schools, as they were previously.

For Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura), the Act restricts the appointment of the chief executive (CE) of Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura) to a term of up to five years, with the ability to reappoint for further terms.

This change is consistent with the terms for CEs of statutory Crown entities, tertiary institutions, and core government departments. 

These legislative changes came into force on 22 August 2023, except for the school board eligibility changes which come into force six months later, on 22 February 2024.  

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 11:40 am, 5 October 2023

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